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Giants protect Heliot Ramos, Sean Hjelle, and Randy Rodriguez

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Jay Jackson was designated for assignment, while Dedniel Nuñez was returned to the Mets.

2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants made a flurry of moves on Friday at the Nov. 19 deadline to set the 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft. The Giants opted to protect three players: outfielder Heliot Ramos, right-handed starting pitcher Sean Hjelle, and right-handed reliever Randy Rodriguez.

To make room on the 40-man roster for the three prospects, the team designated for assignment right-handed reliever Jay Jackson, and returned 2020 Rule 5 draftee Dedniel Nuñez, a right-handed reliever, to the New York Mets.

Choosing Rule 5 protections is always a difficult task. The Giants needed to not just identify the prospects that they value, but determine which prospects would be selected by another team. Ramos was surely an easy selection, as he’s one of the team’s top prospects and likely already MLB ready. Hjelle could definitely last a full season on another team’s active roster, and Rodriguez is the type of dominant relief prospect that made the Giants go after Nuñez this time last year.

The Giants left other strong prospects unprotected, assuming they’ll make it through the draft (or not make it through the season if selected). Left-handed starting pitcher Seth Corry is perhaps the most notable omission, but the Giants must have figured that his rough 2021 (he issued 63 walks in 67.2 innings) will keep a team from stashing him on their active roster.

Players like Diego Rincones, Kai-Wei Teng, Prelander Berroa, Luis Toribio, Ismael Munguia, Tristan Beck, and Ricardo Genovés are surely valued by the Giants, but the organization must see them as being a minimal threat in the draft.

To make room for the protections the Giants are losing a decent reliever in Jackson, though they have no shortage of those, and have shown the ability to find tons of them in free agency. Losing Nuñez is interesting, since the Giants opted to keep him after he suffered a season-ending injury in Spring Training, choosing to pay an extra 40-man roster salary for him rather than return him to the Mets.

The Rule 5 Draft is scheduled to take place on Dec. 8. However, it seems as though the league is headed for a lockout, and the draft would not take place until after that is resolved.