Rule 5 pick Green excited for new opportunity

D-backs right-hander tosses 2 scoreless innings in spring debut

February 23rd, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nick Green was at the gym on Dec. 13 when a friend called him.

“He said, 'Congrats on the move,'” Green recalled. “And I said, ‘What move?’”

It turns out that Green, who was a member of the Yankees organization, had just been selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the D-backs.

“Like 20 minutes later, the Diamondbacks phoned me,” Green said. “Just an amazing experience in general.”

Green was selected by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 2014 Draft and got traded to the Yankees in a deal that sent Carlos Beltran to Texas in 2016.

The D-backs had good reports on Green, who spent most of last season with Class A Advanced Tampa, and they tried, unsuccessfully, to trade for him last year.

“What we liked about him is the cut on his fastball,” D-backs assistant general manager Jared Porter said. “He has a lot of natural cut on his four-seam fastball that generates weak-contact ground balls. His curveball is a swing-and-miss curveball. I think he had one of the highest spin rates in all of Minor League Baseball with the curveball.”

As a Rule 5 pick, Green has to stay on the D-backs' 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the Yankees for half of the $100,000 they paid New York to select him.

This is Green’s first experience in a big league camp, and it will be a challenge for him to make the Opening Day roster, given the D-backs already seemingly have their starting rotation set and have only two spots open in the bullpen.

In addition, the 24-year-old Green has appeared in only three games above Class A Advanced.

Still, the D-backs plan on taking a long look at Green this spring. He started Saturday’s Cactus League opener against the Rockies, allowing one hit and walking one while striking out one over two innings.

“Honestly, I try not to even think about it,” Green said. “I’m here with the team, and I’m having a great time. These guys are amazing. They’ve got the best freaking defense ever. So it’s awesome. I love being on this team. Everybody here is amazing, so I’m just enjoying where I’m at right now.”

If Green makes the team, it would likely be in the bullpen. However, the D-backs plan to stretch him out early this spring because that’s what he’s been accustomed to in the past.

It’s possible that if Green does not make the team, the D-backs could try to work out a trade with the Yankees for Green, so they could send him to the Minors. But given the trouble they had trying to acquire him that way last year, that might not be feasible.