The Seattle Mariners added minor leaguers Vinnie Catricala, Bobby LaFromboise, Brandon Maurer, Anthony Fernandez and Julio Morban to the 40-man roster on Wednesday, likely to keep them protected from the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 6, according to Mike Curto's Tacoma Rainiers blog.
Catricala and LaFromboise were pulled from the Tacoma Rainiers Triple-A team, while the other three prospects come from smaller clubs. Catricala was the Mariners' Minor League Player of the Year in 2011, when he batted .349. He struggled with the Rainiers last year, batting .229 and posting 10 home runs. LaFromboise was a stellar relief pitcher for Tacoma last season, touting a 1.59 ERA in 27 appearances.
The move -- one that saw Chone Figgins and Scott Cousins designated for assignment -- doesn't necessarily mean any of the five will play for Seattle next season. Rather, it means Seattle is insuring that those five players will remain with the ball club.
The Rule 5 Draft allows teams to pay $50,000 to draft prospects owned by other teams that fall under certain eligibility guidelines. The new team must keep the player on their active roster and off the disabled list for at least 90 days, otherwise the prospect would be offered back to the old team for $25,000. If that offer isn't taken, then the player can be waived.