LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Rule 5 draft, usually a blip on the off-season radar screen, has been fruitful for the Phillies. Of course, it yielded Shane Victorino in 2004. Last season, the Phillies took righthander David Herndon, who managed to stick in the bullpen for the entire season.
Once again, the Phillies were active, selecting infielder Michael Martinez from the Washington Nationals' organization on Thursday.
They also selected two players in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 draft, outfielder Chris Frey and righthanded pitcher Justin Friend. They each cost $12,000, meaning the Phillies spent a total of $74,000 in the draft.
No Phillies player was selected by another team.
Martinez, 28, had a .720 OPS between double A and triple A in 2010. He hit 11 home runs and drove in 56 runs.
What the Phillies like most about Martinez is his versatility and speed. He played five positions in 2010, including center field, and the Phillies will evaluate him as a possible bench option this spring.
Mike Ondo, the Phils' pro scouting director, said his scouts liked Martinez's quickness.
Ondo said, "He's somebody we thought, with the way we're set up right now, he could come in and maybe compete to fill a need."
The Phillies do lack a true backup centerfielder with Jayson Werth's departure. Ben Francisco can play center, but has done it very little in the past two years.
To draft Martinez, the Phillies paid Washington $50,000. If the Phils remove him from the 25-man roster at any point during the 2011 season, he must be offered back to the Nationals at half of that price.
Frey, 27, hit .288 with a .747 OPS at Colorado's triple-A affiliate. Friend, 24, was 3-3 with a 3.70 ERA on Oakland's double-A team. Both players will add organizational depth and do not have to be offered back to their former clubs.