I could explain what the Rule 5 draft is all about, but over at Beyond the Box Score, Andrew Ball has already written a very nice primer, explaining who is eligible, how the draft works, what the cost is to teams that pick players, and even pointing out a few names which may be selected this morning. Since it goes in reverse order of record (the Astros pick first for the third year in a row!), the Diamondbacks will be picking 15th, though there's absolutely no guarantee that they, or any of the teams ahead of them, will take advantage. The whole "you have to keep them on your 25-man roster all year" thing is a significant deterrent, shall we say.
Not that there aren't occasional jewels to be found. We got left-hander Joe Paterson from the Giants, and he was a very effective left-hander for the Diamondbacks in 2011, posting a sub-three ERA over 62 appearances. No clue what happened to him thereafter. Of course, the most notorious Rule 5 pick in Diamondbacks history went the other way, with the Florida Marlins swooping in to pick up Dan Uggla from us in December 2005. Seven months later, he was playing in the All-Star Game, and averaged better than three bWAR per season, in his five years with them.
Last year, we both gained and lost a player. We picked right-hander Starling Peralta from the Cubs, but lost Ender Inciarte to the Phillies. However, neither was able to stick on the 25-man roster, and both were returned to their former clubs. Odds would seem to be in favor of the Diamondbacks selecting someone, as we've done so every year since 2008, when we selected catcher James Skelton. The subsequent years saw us choose LHP Zach Kroenke (2010), Paterson (2011), RHP Brett Lorin (2011) and Peralta: which, taken as a whole, serves as pretty good testimony, as to why the Rule 5 draft is a pretty low-key affair.
Elsewhere, the winter meetings will wrap up, and will probably be all but over by around lunchtime. It does seem less likely that Arizona will be able to complete their shopping list, and add a starting pitcher to the roster this week. But I'm sure Kevin Towers will have had a lot of discussions, and will have some solid idea of where the team stands in terms of trading for one and/or signing a free-agent.