NASHVILLE -- The A's escaped the Rule 5 Draft relatively unscathed on Thursday morning at the Winter Meetings. No A's players were taken in the Major League portion of the draft. Not surprisingly, Oakland also didn't pick any players during that phase.
A player taken in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft must remain on the team's active roster the entire season, and the picks cost $50,000. If the player doesn't remain on the active roster they go back to their original team in exchange for $25,000.
In the Minor League portion of the draft Oakland picked up two players, third baseman Tommy Mendonca from the Rangers organization, and catcher Steven Hill from the Cardinals farm system.
Mendonca, who attended college at Fresno State, hit a combined .229 with 12 homers, 51 RBI, and a .278 on-base percentage in Double-A and Triple-A in 2012. The third baseman won the 2008 College World Series Most Outstanding Player award.
Hill, 27, actually saw some time in the Major Leagues with the Cardinals last season. He went 2 for 10 with a double in nine games at first base. He played one game in 2010 for the Cardinals and hit a home run. Hill hit .266 with 17 homers and 52 RBI in Triple-A last season.
The A's lost outfielder Eliezer Mesa to Detroit, and shortstop Michael Gilmartin to Cincinnati during the minor league portion of the draft.
Players that were protected on the A's 40-man roster were not eligible for the draft. One player that could have been swiped from the A's system was pitcher James Simmons, who pitched in the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game this year.
Simmons, 26, was a first round pick in 2007 and he appeared in 30 games for Double-A Midland, and nine games for Triple-A Sacramento in 2012. He had a 2.98 ERA, 50 strikeouts and 22 walks last season with the RockHounds and River Cats.
It is a bit of a surprise no one took him. Especially when considering 23 of the 42 total players taken were pitchers.