3:01pm: The O’s announced that both players have cleared waivers and been returned to their prior teams.
1:37pm: The Orioles have decided against carrying both of their Rule 5 selections from the December draft, GM Mike Elias told media members including Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). The departures of righties Brandon Bailey and Michael Rucker will open two 40-man roster spots.
It isn’t yet entirely clear whether these two hurlers have cleared waivers. Every other team in baseball will have (or has had) a chance to step into the O’s Rule 5 rights. If nobody places a claim, then they’ll be offered back to their prior teams — where they will not lock up a big-league roster spot unless and until they’re added.
The 25-year-old Bailey came over from the Astros organization after a strong 2019 season in which he pitched to a 3.30 ERA over 92 2/3 innings at the Double-A level with 10.0 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9. He had been selected with the second overall pick in the Rule 5 draft. The Orioles could’ve utilized him as a swingman in the majors this year but evidently didn’t see enough upside to merit the effort.
As for Rucker, who’s also 25, he’d be heading back to the Cubs. Last year, he transitioned into a full-time reliever, throwing 79 2/3 upper-minors innings over 36 appearances. Rucker carried a 4.18 ERA with a healthy combination of 10.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 on the season. He also threw five scoreless innings over three appearances in camp, with three strikeouts and a pair of free passes.