Rays Lose Smith To Mets In Rule 5 Draft

LAKE BUENA VISTA (620 WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays lost just one player in the Major League portion of Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, as pitcher Burch Smith was taken sixth by the New York Mets.

Smith returned to pitch in 2017 after missing all of the previous two seasons due to undergoing Tommy John surgery.  He went 5-3 with a 2.40 earned run average in 13 appearances with 12 starts between High-A Charlotte and Triple-A Durham.  He was originally acquired by Tampa Bay after the 2014 season in the trade that sent outfielder Wil Myers to San Diego.

The 27 year old has appeared in ten big-league games, including seven starts, with the Padres, all in 2013.

At the conclusion of the draft, Smith was traded by the Mets to the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations.

Both catcher Nick Ciuffo, Tampa Bay's first-round pick in 2013, and left-handed pitcher Travis Ott, who could have been lost in the draft, were not selected.

The Rays did not make a selection in the major league portion of the draft.

In the minor-league portion, Tampa Bay selected right-hander Francisco German from the Detroit Tigers organization.  German spent 2017 between Detroit's Gulf Coast League team and the Connecticut Tigers of the New York-Penn League, going 1-4 with a 6.00 ERA in 16 relief appearance.

The Rays lost three players in the minor-league portion of the draft.  Shortstop Riley Unroe, Tampa Bay's second round pick in 2013, was picked by the Los Angeles Angels, outfielder Angel Moreno heads to the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Pittsburgh Pirates selected catcher Rafelin Lorenzo.

Unroe, 22, split last season between Double-A Montgomery and High-A Charlotte, being demoted August 1 after struggling following a hot April.  In 95 games, he hit .206 / .314 / .301 with three homers and 32 RBI, but had just one RBI after his demotion.

Moreno, 21, spent all of 2017 with the Stone Crabs.  He hit .229 / .290 / .288 with 16 RBI in 71 games.

Lorenzo, who turns 21 in January, appeared in 51 games with the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League.  He hit .250 / .291 / .375 with three homers and 25 RBI.

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