The Twins have issued a press release to announce the signing of No. 4 overall pick Kohl Stewart. The 18-year-old prep right-hander is advised by Darek Braunecker of Frontline Athlete Management. His signing bonus is not yet known at this time.
Baseball America reported in April that the assigned pick value for the No. 4 overall selection is $4,544,400. Stewart was a consensus Top 10 talent in this year's draft, ranking fourth overall according to ESPN's Keith Law, fifth according to Baseball America and seventh according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. Stewart had a football commitment to Texas A&M, where he would have served as a back-up to Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at quarterback.
Stewart is the second consecutive high school player drafted by the Twins. Minnesota selected outfielder Byron Buxton with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2012 draft.
WEDNESDAY: Zagurski has elected free agency, MLBTR has learned. His dominant numbers at Triple-A Indianapolis this season should lead to some interest from other clubs. In 21 innings, Zagurski pitched to a 2.14 ERA with 37 strikeouts (15.9 K/9) and nine walks (3.9 BB/9). He allowed only 15 hits in those 21 frames as well.
TUESDAY: After being designated for assignment by the Pirates on Saturday, Mike Zagurski cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A today, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. The left-hander will decide whether to elect free agency tomorrow.
The 30-year-old made six appearances for Pittsburgh this year, allowing ten runs with eight walks and five strikeouts. Zagurski was signed to a minor-league deal by the Pirates in the offseason after posting a 5.54 ERA in 37 and 1/3 innings for the Diamondbacks in 2012.
Back in late May, the Yankees called the Bucs to inquire on Zagurski's availability but were turned down.
WEDNESDAY: The Padres have requested release waivers on Darnell, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock, who confirms that Darnell is done for the season due to his injured shoulder. Brock expects the team to attempt to re-sign Darnell to a minor league contract if he goes unclaimed (Twitter links).
Darnell, 26, has appeared in 25 games for the Padres and compiled a .226/.300/.371 batting line in 71 plate appearances. In parts of three seasons at the Triple-A level, Darnell is a .260/.341/.441 hitter.
The 2008 second-rounder ranked as the game's No. 90 prospect prior to the 2010 season, according to Baseball America. However, as Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in late May, Darnell dislocated his left shoulder, which could result in the third left shoulder surgery of his young career. Center called the injury "career threatening."
WEDNESDAY, 12:19pm: The Astros will officially sign Appel this afternoon, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The club has put out a press release confirming the deal.
SATURDAY, 4:25pm: It appears that the Astros have accomplished what the Pirates could not last year. Houston has agreed to terms with first overall pick Mark Appel on a deal worth $6.35MM. That number falls below the suggested slot value for the No. 1 pick, which is $7.79MM, according to Baseball America.
Appel, who is advised by Scott Boras, was drafted last year by the Pirates at No. 8 but ultimately did not sign. The right-hander arguably would have gone higher in the 2012 draft if it weren't for signability concerns. It was reported that the Bucs offered the right-hander $3.8MM and from a money standpoint, Boras and Appel have come out on top.
Appel was ranked as the top prospect in the draft by ESPN's Keith Law and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. Baseball America had him pegged as the second-best prospect in his class, behind Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray, who went No. 3 to the Rockies.
The Stanford product shows everything scouts look for in a frontline pitcher, according to BA. Appel's fastball sits in the mid-90s and gets as high as 98 mph, and he holds his velocity deep into games. The right-hander has improved in each year at Stanford and figures to move quickly through the minor leagues.
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman first reported that an agreement was reached while Jim Callis of Baseball America tweeted the value of the deal. Additional details were provided by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Zach Links contributed to this post.
12:02pm: The Red Sox and Ball have agreed to terms, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). His bonus is still unknown at this time.
8:51am: The Red Sox are in the final stages of negotiations with No. 7 overall pick Trey Ball, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com, and the deal is expected to be completed today. Ball has passed his physical, and his signing bonus is expected to be slightly below the assigned pick value of $3.246MM. Ball is advised by Frontline Athlete Management.
A high school left-handed pitcher/outfielder out of Indiana, Ball was a consensus Top 10 talent among ESPN's Keith Law (No. 8), MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo (No. 8) and Baseball America (No. 9). Law wrote that Ball could be a first-round talent whether drafted as a pitcher or an outfielder but was currently better suited for pitching: "On the mound, his talent is easier to spot -- a 6-foot-6 left-hander with a loose arm, a fastball up to 94, and feel for a breaking ball already." Mayo adds that Ball's changeup is his best secondary offering, but he struggles to repeat his delivery at times.
The Red Sox view Ball as a pitcher, with director of player personnel Dave Finley telling Speier, “Trey’s velocity was pretty remarkable throughout the year. Being in a cold-weather state and having that velocity was pretty promising." Finley likens Ball to 2011 supplemental-rounder Henry Owens as well as a young Jon Lester. All three lefties were selected out of high school by the Red Sox.
It is believed, according to Speier, that the savings on second-rounder Teddy Stankiewicz's signing bonus and Ball's signing bonus will be enough to offset the over-slot deal given to third-round catcher Jon Denney.
Here are today's notable draft notes and non-first-round signings (all slot info courtesy of Baseball America)...
- Yankees second-rounder Gosuke Katoh has signed for the full slot value of $845,700, according to Baseball America's Jim Callis (on Twitter).
- Callis also reports that the Padres signed supplemental second-rounder Jordan Paroubeck for a $750K bonus (Twitter links). The prep outfielder from California has solid tools across the board, according to Callis. He signed for $58K under slot.
- The Padres have also agreed to terms with eighth-rounder Adrian De Horta on a well over-slot deal, MLBTR has learned. De Horta, who is advised by Terry Jones of Reynolds Sports Management, agreed to a $425K signing bonus, which is about $269K over slot value for the No. 238 overall selection. The deal is pending a physical. MLB.com doesn't have a full scouting report on De Horta, though they do offer a scouting video for Padres fans to check out.
Major League Baseball has begun interviewing players connected to the Biogenesis PED scandal, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that people who have spoken with MLB investigators feel it's likely that some suspensions will be issued.
MLB has yet to interview either Alex Rodriguez or Ryan Braun, according to Heyman, because the league considers them its primary targets and wants to ensure that enough evidence has been built against the pair before conducting those interviews.
Heyman reports that the MLB will claim the Joint Drug Agreement legally allows them to issue suspensions prior to the appeals process, because the names involved have already been leaked. This would obviously be a large point of contention for the MLB Players Association, who will argue that suspensions cannot be issued or announced until a player has had the opportunity to appeal.
MLB is also interviewing Porter Fischer, the former Biogenesis employee who is responsible for leaking Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch's notebooks and records to the Miami New Times. MLB has reportedly interviewed Fischer three times now in an attempt to stockpile evidence. Heyman reminds that there are varying degrees of mentions in Fischer's documents; for example, Rodriguez's name allegedly appears alongside mentions of specific PEDs, while Braun's name only appears next to dollar amounts.
Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Jesus Montero and Bartolo Colon were among the other players linked to Biogenesis in the initial report. Earlier this month, ESPN's Buster Olney stated that it could be months before suspensions are handed out due to the appeals process, so the ability to circumvent that process would be a significant step for MLB in this case.
Here's tonight's look around baseball as Tuesday turns into Wednesday..
- Bud Norris knows that he's a prime trade candidate, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Norris tells Morosi that he feels it's critical to stay informed: “I don’t think you want to be blindsided by it: One day, you come to the park and, boom, you’re gone. I don’t pay too much attention to it, but I’m definitely in the loop." Norris goes on to say that being traded to the Giants, his favorite team as a child, would be a dream come true, but he would be excited to stay with the Astros and keep helping them as well.
- Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com wonders if an Andre Ethier trade is inevitable for the Dodgers. As it stands now, the only other alternatives are Yasiel Puig getting sent down, someone other than Ethier getting traded, or Ethier becoming the club's fourth outfielder once they're back to full strength. Puig is obviously going to stay in the Majors, and trades involving Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford are unlikely, making Ethier the most likely man to go.
- Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet looks at the Blue Jays' options for making room on the roster when Jose Reyes returns to action. Their roster shuffling could lead them to expose someone to waivers and Emilio Bonifacio is a candidate.
- Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch weighs the pros and cons of the Cardinals going after Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee. Ultimately, Miklasz concludes that Cards GM John Mozeliak won't take on Lee’s full salary commitment or surrender his best pitching prospects, even if there is a surplus.
Young Jr. was designated for assignment last week in order to make room for the activation of right-hander Chris Volstad. The outfielder posted a .316/.377/.448 slash line in 196 plate appearances last year but has hit just .242/.290/.352 with one homer in 180 PAs this year. The 28-year-old has experience at all three outfield positions as well as 49 games at second base.
McHugh has 11 big league games under his belt but has spent the 2013 season with the Mets' Triple-A affiliate. In nine starts for Las Vegas, McHugh has a 2.87 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. Despite his success there, he'll report to the Rockies' Double-A affiliate, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).
Cowgill, 27, has a .173/.189/.327 slash line in 53 plate appearances this year. In parts of three seasons at the Triple-A the outfielder has hit .307/.381/.476.
Baseball America's Jim Callis tweeted updates on previous draft signings Bryan Verbitsky and Carlos Salazar today. Verbitsky, a third-round pick by the Padres will receive $400K, while Salazar, the Braves' third-rounder, will receive $625K (Twitter links). The Padres landed Verbitsky $221K under slot, while the Braves went over-slot by nearly $120K. Here are more signings out of the second and third rounds (all slot info courtesy of Baseball America)...
- The Rockies went $535K over slot to sign sixth-rounder Dom Nunez, according to BA's Jim Callis (on Twitter). The California high school third baseman/shortstop/catcher boasts a compact swing, sneaky pop, and a strong arm.
- The Marlins have agreed to a significantly over-slot deal with seventh-round pick Justin Bohn, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. Bohn, the No. 202 overall selection, signed for $525K, though the assigned pick value for that slot was just $193K. Bohn had been committed to Oregon State.
- The A's have signed third-round pick Ryon Healy for $500K, tweets Callis. The A's saved about $16K on Oregon's first baseman, who shows good power and has a chance to play third base.
- Callis tweets that the Rockies signed third-rounder Sam Moll for $600K, meaning they saved about $113K on the Memphis left-hander. Though he stands just 5'11", Moll throws 93-95 mph as a starter. He's likely a reliever in the pros, though.
- The Royals signed third-round pick Carter Hope for $561K, Callis reports (Twitter link). Hope's bonus is exactly $100K under slot. The prep righty from Texas throws 88-92 mph with an improving curveball. He had been committed to Oklahoma State.
Martinez, 24, has been less-than-stellar in 35 plate appearances for the Astros this season. In his five years for the Astros and Mets, the left-handed hitting outfielder has a .206/.269/.362 slash line. Martinez was once considered to be a promising farmhand in the Mets' system and was ranked as high as No. 22 across the minors by Baseball America prior to the 2007 season.
Basford, 22, has spend the last two seasons with the Yankees' New York-Penn League affiliate. In 19 relief appearances, the right-hander has a 5.13 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
The Yankees announced that they have designated right-hander Chris Bootcheck for assignment. That move, coupled with Mark Teixeria being placed on the DL, allowed the Bombers to recall right-hander Adam Warren and outfielder Zoilo Almonte.
Bootcheck saw just one inning in pinstripes this year, allowing two hits and one run against the Angels on Friday. In 91 big league games, the 34-year-old owns a 6.55 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9.
The Yankees promoted Bootcheck in advance of his late-June opt out and while his stay on the varsity squad was short lived, he pitched well for the club's Triple-A affiliate. Bootcheck made 11 starts for Scranton Wilkes-Barre and had a 3.32 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
The Padres have signed Ben Francisco to a minor league deal, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com (on Twitter). The outfielder was designated for assignment by the Yankees in late May and released in early June. Francisco will report to Triple-A Tuscon and provide San Diego with some additional minor league depth.
The 31-year-old hit just .114/.220/.182 in 50 plate appearances this season with the Bombers but has a .253/.323/.418 career line across seven seasons. Francisco spent the first six seasons of his career with the Indians and Phillies but has had stints with four big league clubs from 2012-13.
Scott Boras, who represents No.1 pick Mark Appel, touched down in Houston today to talk with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow in an effort to wrap up negotiations. Boras told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that no agreement has been reached, but his pow-wow with Luhnow likely indicates that a deal is close.
“Jeff and I are going to talk about things tonight and we’ll see,” Boras said. “We’re certainly close enough for me to come here and talk, that’s for sure.”
It was reported late last week that the Astros had reached an agreement in principle with Appel on a deal that would pay him $6.35MM, well below the suggested slot value of $7.79MM for the top selection. Appel was ranked as the top prospect in the draft by ESPN's Keith Law and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. Baseball America had him pegged as the second-best prospect in his class, behind Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray, who went No. 3 to the Rockies.
Following a vote behind closed doors, the city council of San Jose has elected to file a lawsuit against Major League Baseball in an attempt to move the Athletics from Oakland to San Jose, according to John Shea and Jill Tucker of the San Francisco Chronicle. The lawsuit claims that MLB and commissioner Bud Selig violated state and federal laws regarding unfair business practices and anti-competitive conduct.
Athletics ownership has spent years lobbying for the team to be moved to San Jose, citing a need for a new ballpark. However, the A's are not plaintiffs in the lawsuit and owner Lew Wolff says that he wasn't aware of it being filed until the news broke earlier today. The city of San Jose isn't seeking financial restitution from MLB but alleges, with strong language, that they are being illegally blocked from importing the A's.
"This action arises from the blatant conspiracy by Major League Baseball to prevent the Athletics Baseball Club from moving to San Jose," the suit says. "This action challenges - and seeks to remedy - defendants' violation of state laws and use of the illegal cartel that results from these agreements to eliminate competition in the playing of games in the San Francisco Bay Area."
Written by Zach Links.