PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies protected four eligible prospects from next month’s Rule 5 Draft. It would not be a surprise to see any of them making an appearance out of the Phillies’ bullpen in 2020.
They announced Wednesday night that left-handers JoJo Romero, Garrett Cleavinger and Cristopher Sanchez and right-hander Mauricio Llovera have been added to the 40-man roster. Romero is the organization’s No. 10 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Llovera is ranked No. 15, while Cleavinger and Sanchez are unranked. International or high school players signed in 2015 or college players selected in the '16 Draft are eligible for the Rule 5. Top Phillies prospects like Alec Bohm, Spencer Howard and Bryson Stott are not eligible and do not need to be protected.
The Phillies acquired Sanchez from the Rays on Wednesday for Rookie-level infielder Curtis Mead.
Following Wednesday's transactions, the Phillies have 39 players on the 40-man roster.
Romero, 23, went 7-9 with a 5.82 ERA in 24 starts with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He had a 2.96 ERA in his final 11 starts. Llovera, 23, went 3-4 with a 4.55 ERA in 12 starts with Reading. The Phillies acquired Cleavinger, 25, from the Orioles in July 2017 for right-hander Jeremy Hellickson. He had a 3.66 ERA and averaged 14.5 strikeouts and 5.9 walks per nine innings in 34 relief appearances in Reading.
Sanchez went a combined 4-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 24 appearances (10 starts) with Class A Bowling Green and Charlotte and Triple-A Durham.
The Phillies did not protect five eligible prospects ranked among their Top 30 from the Rule 5: outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz (No. 12), catcher Rafael Marchan (No. 13), catcher Rodolfo Duran (No. 17), infielder Daniel Brito (No. 23) and outfielder Cornelius Randolph (No. 28). Randolph was the 10th overall pick in the '15 Draft, and he posted a .723 OPS in Reading last season. Ortiz signed a franchise-record $4 million signing bonus in July 2015.
Teams pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the entire season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.