As a general rule, teams who expect to contend for a championship don't have the luxury of carrying a Rule 5 pick on their roster.
Carrying an inexperienced player -- the vast majority of whom have never played above Double-A, if that -- is a hindrance when it comes to roster management.
Accordingly, the Red Sox have only had a handful of Rule 5 players on their major league roster. Lenny DiNardo, in 2003, was perhaps the most successful. Josh Rutledge, in 2016, was the most recent.
This year, for a variety of reasons, the Red Sox are trying to see if a Rule 5 pick -- infielder Jonathan Arauz, selected from the Houston Astros -- can stick. A Rule 5 player must remain either on the major league roster or the DL for the entire season, or else be offered back to the team from which he drafted and/or placed on waivers.
The cost -- $100,000 -- is, relatively speaking, a relative pittance. And you never know: the likes of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente and Blue Jays slugger George Bell first made it to the majors as Rule 5 picks.
It makes sense, then, that the Sox might experiment this season.