Somewhere, there is a good trivia question in what has transpired with Phillies Rule 5 pick Chris Booker, who was placed on waivers by the Phillies and was claimed by Kansas City.
The 29-year-old right-hander spent most of 2005 with Louisville, the Reds' Triple-A affiliate, where he was 8-4 with 91 strikeouts and a 2.49 ERA in 65 innings. Good numbers, right? Booker even earned a September call-up with the Reds.
The Reds intended to keep him, but in October, he declined to be sent outright to Louisville and elected to test free agency. This is where it gets strange. He signed a minor league contract with Washington in November, but was taken by the Tigers in the Rule 5 draft the following month, only to be flipped to the Phillies for cash considerations. Apparently, the Rule 5 rules still applied to Philadelphia, meaning he needed to be kept on the 25-man roster or be offered back to the original team, Washington.
This is where it gets even weirder. Booker began the year hurt and has been on a rehab assignment since the beginning of the season. Though I have seen no report of it, the Phillies must have offered him back to Washington at some point this week, and the Nats must have declined. Since the Phillies had no room for him anyway, especially since they need to trim the roster to make room for Cole Hamels, Booker was waived and the Royals grabbed him. My only hope is Booker got on a plane to the right city.
Including the Reds, Booker has been property – temporary or otherwise – with five teams since the end of 2005. Between his time with Cincy and his pending time with KC, he didn't pitch a big-league game with three of them. With two of them, Washington and Detriot, Booker probably didn't get so much as a phone call.
And somehow, in the course of all this shuffling, Booker has come away with his first, true big-league gig. The horrendous Royals, who have the day off today, are expected to make a roster move Friday to clear space for Booker.