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Nationals’ 40-Man roster decisions; Who will Nats protect from Rule 5 Draft?

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The Nationals have a number of decisions to make about which prospects to add to the 40-Man roster to protect them from selection in the Rule 5 Draft.

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Scottsdale Scorpions at Glendale Desert Dogs Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Washington’s Nationals and all of the other 29 teams in the majors have until later tonight to make decisions on which of their eligible players to add to their 40-Man roster to protect them from selection in the Rule 5 Draft, which is scheduled for this coming December 8th at the end of the Winter Meetings.

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo broke down the requirements for players who are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft:

Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $25,000.

For this year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2012 -- assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 5 of that year -- has to be protected. A college player taken in the 2013 Draft is in the same position.

Last winter the Nationals added infielder Chris Bostick, catcher Spencer Kieboom and left-hander Nick Lee before the deadline. First baseman Matt Skole and catcher Raudy Read were left off the 40-Man but neither of them were selected by other teams.

The Nationals ended up selecting Double-A third baseman Zack Cox from the Miami Marlins’ organization in the minor league phase of the draft after passing on adding anyone in the major league phase. Cox was released in April and played independent ball last season.

As Mayo notes, the Nats have four players from MLB.com’s list of Washington’s Top 30 prospects who are eligible for selection in this year’s Rule 5 Draft: Austin Voth (RHP); Rafael Bautista (OF); Osvaldo Abreu (SS/2B); Raudy Read (C).

Other players eligible for selection, as noted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman this morning include: pitchers Jake Johansen, Bryan Harper, infielders Skole and Jose Marmolejos; and outfielders Rafael Bautista and Isaac Ballou.

The Nationals currently have 32 players on their 40-Man Roster. Which players will they add? We’ll find out at some point this afternoon...