Rangers select Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in Rule 5 draft
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was the biggest name taken in baseball's Rule 5 draft on Thursday.
The 2013 Winter Meetings come to an end today, unofficially with this morning's Rule 5 draft. Most executives will leave Orlando by midday.
A total of nine players were selected in the major-league phase (fewest in 15 years), but the most interesting pick came in the Triple-A portion. The Rangers selected current Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson from the Rockies with the 15th pick and now control his baseball rights. Because of the way the minor-league phase works, Texas essentially bought him from Colorado for the $12,000 fee.
The Rockies drafted Wilson in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of North Carolina State. He had previously been selected by the Orioles in the 41st round of the 2007 draft out of high school. Wilson did sign with the Rockies for $200,000 and yes, he did play in their farm system for a portion of the 2010-11 seasons. He hit .229/.354/.356 with five home runs, 19 stolen bases and 118 strikeouts in 93 Class A games as a second baseman.
Wilson's baseball career came to end in 2012, when he was drafted by the Seahawks in the third round and given close to $3 million. He had to repay the Rockies a portion of his $200,000 bonus and has since gone on to become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Wilson has been sitting on the minor league restricted list the entire time.
Taking a football player in the Rule 5 Draft is nothing new for the Rangers. They landed former running back Ricky Williams in the 1998 event, though by then it was obvious he was going to the NFL. Williams, an outfielder, hit .211/.265/.261 with four home runs in 170 Class A games for the Phillies from 1995-98.
Wilson obviously made the right choice and it's all but guaranteed he will never play baseball again. If he does though, it will now be for the Rangers' organization instead of the Rockies.