The Nationals will take Yankees reliever Zach Kroenke first overall in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday and offer him back to New York as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Brian Bruney to Washington, according to a source familiar with discussions.
Washington still has to open up a spot on its 40-man roster by midnight to make the pick, so expect another player to be released by then.
Kroenke’s value to the Yankees increased this week after they traded left-hander Phil Coke in the three-team deal that brought Curtis Granderson to New York. He could find work on the team as a lefty specialist next season, and there has been enough interest in the 25-year-old that the Yankees are afraid of losing him. So they’ll have the Nationals draft their own player and offer him back, allowing them to put him on the 40-man roster.