Posted by: taylorjs | October 29, 2009

Rene Tosoni — Help!

Alright, fellow prospect and transaction geeks.  This is a request for assistance in determining the status of the mysterious Rene Tosoni, currently appearing in Arizona Fall League boxscores near you.  Seth Stohs and I disagree over whether Tosoni is Rule 5 eligible this year, so I want to lay out my case for him being eligible and see if anyone can shed some more light on the situation.

First, the basics.  A player’s eligibility for the Rule 5 draft is determined by a couple of factors.  First, you need to know the day the player signed a contract as opposed to when he was drafted (this tripped me up with Anthony Slama and David Bromberg earlier, because they were draft and follow players not signed until after the Rule 5 draft that followed their selection in the June draft — and if that statement confuses you, I don’t blame you!).  Second, you need to know how old the player was when that contract was signed.  And third (by far the easiest), you need to know whether that player is currently on the Major League 40-Man Roster.

So, what about Tosoni?  Originally drafted by the Twins in 2004, he didn’t sign that year and went back into the draft pool.  He was then drafted again by the Twins in 2005, but didn’t ink a deal until sometime in 2006 (under the old draft-and-follow process that is no longer possible under the new collective bargaining agreement — drafted players now must be signed by mid-August after the June draft, except in very limited circumstances).  Tosoni was born on July 2, 1986, which means he turned 18 on July 2, 2004 and 19 on July 2, 2005.  That’s the important split in dates, because players signed at the age of 18 or younger get an extra year before being eligible for the Rule 5 draft.  Since Tosoni didn’t sign a contract until sometime in 2006 (the exact date is irrelevant), he was over 18 when he signed it.

My conclusion?  Under the rules, players who sign their first professional contract at the age of 19 or over become eligible in the fourth draft following the signing of their contract.  Tosoni was not eligible in 2006, 2007, or 2008 — but 2009 is the fourth Rule 5 draft since he signed, and by my reckoning that means he should be eligible this year.  You can also look at this by counting the number of seasons that player was protected — Tosoni was exclusively available to the Twins in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, so they have maxed out his protected years.

Room for Ambiguity

So, why might I be wrong?  First, it’s always possible that I’m misinterpreting the rule someplace.  Seth and I agree on the vast majority of Rule 5 eligibles, though, so it seems as if we’re in general agreement on the basic rules.  Having watched this process play out for a number of years, I also am pretty confident that I’m not misunderstanding something basic.  Feel free to disabuse me of that notion if I’m totally off.

Second, I could have a vital piece of information wrong.  If Tosoni’s birthday was actually a year later than I thought (in other words, if he were actually born in 1987), then he would have been 18 when he signed with the Twins in 2006.  That would give him an extra year of eligibility.

Third, it could be argued that the relevant date is the draft date and not the signing date — but that is completely contrary to what the rule says, and would also mean that Anthony Slama and David Bromberg would be eligible.  As Seth informed me, they are not eligible because they didn’t sign until the spring following their original selection in the June draft.  In other words, this can’t be the source of any error here (unless Seth and I are both bolluxed up).

Fourth, and perhaps most likely, Tosoni did not play in 2006 due to a visa issue.  To my knowledge, whether a player plays in a given year is irrelevant to the determination of Rule 5 eligibility.  The relevant date is when the contract was signed, and everything else is superfluous.  I don’t know if the fact that Tosoni had a visa issue would be considered — perhaps the Twins were able to gain an exemption of some sort on Tosoni for 2006 because of the visa issue, which would have bought him an extra year.  I haven’t heard that, and don’t even know if that is possible, but this seems the most likely scenario to me simply because there could be a lot of arcane rules that are never reported to the general public but that the little elves in baseball front offices are aware of.


So, dear readers, what’s your take?  Anyone have some light to shed on this?  Thoughts?  Feelings?  Sighs of disapproval or yawns of boredom?  Let me know your take.



  1. Perhaps he had a similar clause in his contract to Miguel Angel Sano that didn’t make it official until he received his visa? I have absolutely no idea and I don’t know how you would find out about it? Seth said here: that he had a source that told him Tosoni wasn’t eligible. I sometimes wonder how MLB teams know about these things…

    Good to see you back!

  2. The only way I can see that he is not eligible is if he didn’t sign until after the 2006 Rule 5 draft. Since he didn’t actually start playing until 2007, that is possible.

  3. I am in the same boat as you are. I emailed Seth to ask him and he told me that someone with the Twins told him they “didn’t have to protect him”, and “they would know.”

    I know that international guys sign “future contracts”, but even their clock starts the day of signing… and since Tosoni was a D/F, it wouldn’t apply to him.

    I’m just going to see if he’s added… and if not, he’s eligible next year.

  4. As I said elsewhere, Cuddyer and Restovich agreed to contracts in the summer after they were drafted. But they didn’t actually sign them until after the Rule 5 draft so they had an extra year before being eligible. Its possible they did the same thing with Tosoni.

  5. Thanks for responding guys! I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who is confused about the situation. Seth certainly does have connections, and I believe him that he heard about Tosoni from someone who “should know” about the situation. That leads me to believe that the visa issue is the source of the confusion, and that the 2006 Rule 5 draft didn’t count against Tosoni. I guess the only way we’ll find out for sure is if the Twins add him to the 40-man roster in November or if they don’t and he’s selected in the draft in December!

  6. I don’t understand a lot of this either. But I am his mother and I know he signed in May 2006.


  7. Cindy,

    Thanks for commenting! It’s nice to have a firm date on when Rene signed. If you happen to find anything out on this subject, feel free to drop by anytime to enlighten us!

  8. 19 years old player has four years before being eligible for Rule 5 draft. Tosoni signed in May 2006 so he’s eligible in December 2010 (1st Rule 5 draft after May 2010).

  9. Bill, I believe you’re misunderstanding the rule. Players who sign when over 19 become eligible in the fourth rule 5 draft after they sign rather than being protected for four drafts. For example, other players signed in summer 2006 who were over 19 — such as Brian Dinkleman and Steven Singleton — are eligible this year. Following that logic, Tosoni should be as well. Since Seth does not believe he is, we are assuming this is related to his visa status.

  10. After further research, I believe here’s the correct reasoning: MLB goes by age on June 5th before signing. It’s five seasons (not years in organization) if 18 on June 5th.
    Tosoni was 18 on June 5th 2005. His first season was 2006 since he signed in May 2006. His 5th season will be in 2010. He’s eligible for Rule 5 in 2010.

  11. Wow Article , I thought it was marvelous

    I look forward to more similar postings like this one. Does Your Blog have a newsletter I can subscribe to for updates?

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