Quick Hits: Scully, Hendriks, Nationals

Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully is celebrating his 65th anniversary in the booth tonight. His first game was at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park featuring Robin Roberts against Don Newcombe. Incidentally, Roberts is also in the Hall of Fame while Newcombe is often discussed as a snub. Here’s more from around the league.

  • The Blue Jays did little to address an obvious bullpen problem over the offseason, writes Mike Wilner of Sportsnet.ca. However, the club might have lucked into a valuable solution in the form of Liam Hendriks. The 26-year-old is averaging 93 mph with his fastball – up about two mph from his career norm. Through six innings, he’s allowed two hits and one walk while recording nine strikeouts. Before anybody anoints Hendriks the closer, it’s worth noting that he has a low 5.3% swinging strike rate. At some point, that rate will either increase, or his strikeout rate will decrease.
  • The Nationals must learn to thrive under walk year pressure, writes Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post. When Jayson Werth entered his walk year with the Phillies, then-manager Charlie Manuel advised him to test free agency (in more colorful language). Now the Nationals have four key players on the road to free agency. Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, and Denard Span could all leave after the season, which gives 2015 a make-or-break feel for Washington. Werth and Max Scherzer have advice for their new teammates – acknowledge all the sources of pressure.

Rays DFA Grant Balfour

The Rays have designated reliever Grant Balfour, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The decision comes on the heels of an outing in which he allowed three runs on three walks and a home run over two-thirds of an inning. The club owes him $7MM this season. Tampa has selected the contract of Brandon Gomes in his place.

Balfour, 37, has a career 3.44 ERA with 9.53 K/9, 4.16 BB/9, and 84 saves. This season, his velocity has declined to a career low 89 mph. In his heyday, he regularly pumped 93-94 mph heat. After today, he’s walked four batters in four and one-third innings without a strikeout. It’s possible that he was underprepared for the season. Balfour’s father passed early during spring training, so it’s certainly understandable if he had trouble focusing on baseball.

The Aussie reliever is joined in DFA limbo by Xavier Cedeno, Todd Redmond, and Ryan Dennick.


Quick Hits: Rose, Herrera, Gregorius, Dodgers

Pete Rose will join the FOX Sports1 team, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. As you’re well aware, Rose is banned from baseball for gambling on the sport over 26 years ago. FOX is a broadcast partner with MLB, but the commissioner’s office has no say over who FOX does and does not hire. The media outlet did clear the move with MLB and says Rose was hired to provide a compelling, on-air personality. As I see it, this is a smart play for Rose as he continues to seek reinstatement.

  • In 2013, the Phillies made a mistake by returning Rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte to the Diamondbacks, writes Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly. However, the club is at no risk of repeating the poor decision with Odubel Herrera. The 23-year-old is hitting .308/.372/.513 in 43 plate appearances. He’s temporarily supplanted Ben Revere atop the lineup. Herrera was selected last December from the Rangers – a team that could also use him right around now.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman made a couple trades over the offseason to address shortstop and starting pitcher. Those moves have not shown positive early returns, writes Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. Cashman sent pitcher Shane Greene to Detroit in a three-team swap for Didi Gregorius. Greene has pitched excellently in two outings – 16 innings, zero runs, eight strikeouts, and one walk. Meanwhile, Gregorius has hit just .152/.194/.152 and with a couple iffy plays on defense. In a related move, Cashman dealt Martin Prado for hard-throwing Marlins pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. He’s allowed five runs over 10 and one-third innings.
  • The Dodgers local TV blackout does not hurt the team’s brand, argues Bill Shaiken of the LA Times. Owner Magic Johnson said the same recently. As you might expect, there was some backlash to the comments. As Shaiken pointed out, the fans returned to the Dodgers after the Frank McCourt era. NFL teams are clamoring to return to the Los Angeles market despite losing a generation of fans. While L.A. residents may be forgiving, the club’s TV plans remain in limbo while federal regulators work through a proposed merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast.


Giants’ Peavy Injured, Susac Recalled

Giants pitcher Jake Peavy has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with an injured back, the Giants tweeted. In a related move, the club has recalled catching prospect Andrew Susac. Peavy has struggled with the injury throughout spring and the early season. He allowed eight runs in 7.2 innings through two starts and was scratched prior to an outing last week.

Peavy himself noted that his back needed “a little treatment,” per Chris Haft of MLB.com. Based on that comment alone, it sounds as though he may avoid an extended stay on the disabled list. Short term, the club can call upon Ryan Vogelsong or Yusmeiro Petit for spot starts. Both players are on the active roster. Matt Cain, who is on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon, is still a few days away from playing catch.

Of course, the promotion of Susac is of interest for a Giants squad that has scored just 32 runs through 12 games. Susac is the 88th ranked prospect by Baseball America. The 25-year-old accrued 95 plate appearances last season and hit .273/.326/.466. With the presence of Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez, there isn’t an obvious role for Susac. However, I could see the club giving Brandon Belt some rest (.077/.143/.077) or even using him in the outfield for a few games. It’s possible, perhaps likely, that Susac will be optioned once the club needs a fifth starter. By my count, that will happen on April 25.


Quick Hits: Trout, Wilson, Tigers

Mike Trout is taking a more aggressive approach this season, writes Buster Olney for ESPN Insider. The result is a likely improvement to his 26.1% strikeout rate from last year. The new approach is designed to avoid pitchers’ counts. While we can’t draw any statistical conclusions from his 42 plate appearances, he has a 11.9% walk rate and 16.7% strikeout rate.

Olney also included a number of other interesting topics. Those include home runs allowed by Cole Hamels, Curtis Granderson‘s low swinging strike rate, and Mike Moustakas‘ all-field approach. Here’s more from around the league.

  • The Rangers own the baseball rights to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and they want him to play, Wilson told HBO’s Bryant Gumble (via Mike Florio of NBC Sports). Wilson, 25, was a two sport athlete in college. He spent a couple seasons in the Rockies minor league system, hitting .229/.354/.356 in 379 plate appearances. A tepid Single-A performance mixed with three years away from the sport isn’t encouraging, but Seahawks GM John Schneider notes Wilson’s off the charts confidence and preparation. It strikes me as unlikely that anything will come of Wilson’s interest in playing two sports. If something were to happen, it’s seemingly too late for the 2015 season.
  • The Tigers have done an excellent job remaining consistent while overhauling their roster, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. The team won the AL Central in each of the last four seasons and currently sports the top record in baseball (9-2). Aside from Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Alex Avila, and Justin Verlander, most of the roster has turned over since Detroit won the AL pennant in 2012. Much of the credit goes to President and GM Dave Dombrowski who has overseen major trades involving Ian Kinsler, David Price, and Joakim Soria in recent seasons (among others).

Rosenthal’s Latest: Tillman, Gomez, Beltre

Here’s the latest from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, via a video on FOX Sports:

  • When the Orioles discussed an extension with Chris Tillman this spring, Tillman favored a contract similar to Lance Lynn‘s three-year, $22MM deal with the Cardinals. That contract did not buy out any of Lynn’s free-agent years. The Orioles were interested in a longer deal for Tillman that would have delayed his free agency eligibility.
  • The Brewers‘ poor start suggests that they could be sellers at the trade deadline, and Rosenthal notes that they could deal Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Gerardo Parra or even Aramis Ramirez (despite Ramirez’s plans to retire at the end of the season). A player who could bring a much greater return, though, is Carlos Gomez, who is signed to a bargain contract the next two years.
  • The Rangers could trade anyone if they fall out of contention, but it might be somewhat tricky for them to deal Adrian Beltre, who has limited no-trade protection and who has about $34MM left on his contract. Beltre also recently turned 36 and is off to a slow .149/.167/.298 start offensively. One might think that would only impede a trade if it were to continue deep into the summer, however — Beltre has a long history of providing excellent value both offensively and defensively.

Minor Moves: Huff, De La Cruz, Bautista, Meyer

Here are today’s minor moves from around the game.

  • The Dodgers have announced that they’ve outrighted lefty David Huff, who has accepted an assignment to Triple-A Oklahoma City. The Dodgers designated Huff for assignment on Wednesday after he made one four-inning start for them. The 30-year-old has a 5.06 ERA, 5.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in parts of seven seasons with the Indians, Yankees and Giants in addition to the Dodgers.
  • The Yankees have outrighted righty Joel De La Cruz, then sent him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 25-year-old posted a 4.44 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 121 2/3 innings in the high minors last season. The Yankees selected his contract last week, but he did not appear in a game before they optioned him back to the minors.
  • The Red Sox have signed righty Denny Bautista to a minor-league deal, Matt Eddy of Baseball America tweets. The 32-year-old Bautista last appeared in the big leagues with the Giants in 2010 and previously pitched for the Orioles, Royals, Rockies, Tigers and Pirates. He pitched in Mexico in 2014 (struggling with his control, also a problem in his big-league days) and in Korea from 2011-2013.
  • The Padres have signed former Astros third-round pick Jonathan Meyer, Eddy tweets. Meyer had been an infielder in the Astros’ system, but the Padres will use him as a catcher. The 24-year-old hit .215/.274/.280 at Double-A and Triple-A last year before Houston released him.
  • The Nationals are having infielder Emmanuel Burriss join the team, James Wagner of the Washington Post tweets. It’s not clear how the Nats will make room for Burriss on their 25-man roster, although Yunel Escobar suffered a groin strain against the Phillies on Friday. (MLB.com’s Bill Ladson tweets that Burriss is not listed on the Nats’ lineup card today, and Wagner notes that Burriss could simply be with the team as insurance in case the Nats need to make a move.) Burriss, a D.C. native, was hitting .286/.359/.486 in 39 plate appearances with Triple-A Syracuse. The Nats re-signed him to a minor-league deal last November. The 30-year-old appeared in parts of five seasons with the Giants from 2008-2012, hitting .243/.304/.269 in 801 plate appearances.

Quick Hits: Hamilton, Ichiro, Kang

The Angels are reportedly discussing a potential resolution to their standoff with Josh Hamilton, and Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register examines some possible forms that resolution could take. Releasing or trading Hamilton are two possibilities, but not ones Fletcher thinks would be very attractive to the Angels — if they released Hamilton, they’d have to eat the entire rest of his contract, except a prorated portion of the league minimum once he signed elsewhere. And it’s very unlikely trading Hamilton would result in much salary relief for the Angels, since he hasn’t played yet this season (and, presumably, since the Angels’ issues with him are so well known). They could also, of course, settle with Hamilton for some portion of his remaining contract. Fletcher also suggests the possibility, though, of the Angels simply bringing Hamilton back and letting him play for awhile, which would allow him to build value, or at least give the Angels clarity by having Hamilton demonstrate how much value he has. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • The Marlins were mostly unknown to Ichiro Suzuki before he signed with them, the veteran outfielder tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “I didn’t have that much information about the city or the team in general,” Ichiro says through an interpreter. “The Marlins are new, and they’re still trying to find that identity of what the Miami Marlins are all about.” Ichiro had played his whole big-league career in the American League, and at 41, he’s older than any MLB player except LaTroy Hawkins and Bartolo Colon. Kepner notes that Ichiro does not seem to intimidate the Marlins’ mostly young group of players, however.
  • Jung-ho Kang has played only sparingly since the start of the season, but the Pirates are not considering sending him to Triple-A, Clint Hurdle tells Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter). Before the season, the Bucs signed the 28-year-old Kang to a four-year deal with an option for a fifth, but there’s currently nowhere for him to start, and he has one hit in nine plate appearances so far. As a position player signed out of Korean pro baseball, Kang is in a unique position both on the field and off it, but it appears the Pirates will allow him to adjust at the big-league level rather than giving him regular playing time in the minors.

Marlins Claim Matt Tracy

The Marlins have claimed lefty Matt Tracy from the Yankees, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. They will send Tracy to Triple-A, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. To clear space on their 40-man roster, the Marlins have announced that they’ve moved Jose Fernandez to the 60-day disabled list.

The Yankees added Tracy to their roster last week to provide help after an 19-inning game against the Red Sox. He pitched two innings and allowed three runs, none earned, last Saturday, and then the Yankees designated him for assignment.

The 26-year-old Tracy pitched 150 2/3 innings at Double-A and Triple-A in 2014, posting a 3.76 ERA, 5.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. The Marlins had shown interest in Tracy before, becoming the first team to draft him when they selected him in the 43rd round in 2010. The Yankees made him their 24th-round pick the following year.


McDaniel On The June Draft

Here’s the latest on the 2015 draft, via a massive post from FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel.

  • McDaniel notes that there isn’t much top-level talent in this draft (an opinion shared by many analysts), and says that the industry is unclear what the Diamondbacks will do with, or even how they’re thinking about, the first pick in the draft.
  • The Astros, who have the second overall pick, appear to be focused on high school shortstop Brendan Rodgers, UC-Santa Barbara pitcher Dillon Tate, and Vanderbilt infielder Dansby Swanson, who McDaniel ranks the top three prospects in the draft.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington was seen on ESPNU last night watching Swanson and Vanderbilt pitcher Carson Fulmer. The Red Sox pick seventh. They’ve also been connected to LSU shortstop Alex Bregman. McDaniel ranks Bregman the fourth-best prospect in the draft, Fulmer the seventh.
  • Since the draft lacks much top talent, one possibility is that many teams will draft second-round-type players in the first round and save money against their bonus pools for later picks in the draft.
  • McDaniel ranks Astros unsigned 2014 No. 1 pick Brady Aiken the No. 24 prospect in the draft, noting that many in the industry feel that Aiken’s arm issues go beyond Tommy John surgery and that he could have further injury problems later in his career.

Hamilton, Angels Discussing Resolution Of Dispute

Josh Hamilton and the Angels are in talks to resolve their dispute, although no agreement is close at this time, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (Twitter links). The Angels could trade Hamilton or buy out the rest of his deal for an amount less than the $83MM they currently owe him, although the union likely would disapprove of the latter option.

Rosenthal further notes (again via Twitter) that Sidney Ponson and Denny Neagle, former players whose teams felt they had personal-conduct issues, agreed to settlements for 75 to 90 percent of the remainders of their deals. Jason Bay also agreed to a buyout of his deal with the Mets following the 2012 season (although not for personal conduct-related reasons, and Bay still received the entire amount he was owed, only with some of it deferred).

MLB announced in early April that Hamilton would not be suspended for a self-reported relapse into drug use. Later reports indicated that the Angels would try to enforce provisions in Hamilton’s contract pertaining to the use of alcohol and drugs, although the union made a statement denying that the team had the right to do so. Such actions could only affect Hamilton’s 2016 and 2017 salaries, since his $23MM 2015 salary became guaranteed on Opening Day. Hamilton is currently recovering from shoulder surgery, although several Angels players recently met with him and say he’s ready to play, according to the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher.


Central Notes: Francona, Bailey, Bryant

Indians manager Terry Francona relates an entertaining story about contracts and signing bonuses that goes back two generations, via Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer. Francona’s father, former big-league outfielder Tito, was trying to get a better deal from the Tigers in 1958, telling team GM John McHale he needed more money because his wife was pregnant. “That’s not my problem,” McHale responded. The baby, of course, was Terry, and McHale was president of the Expos 22 years later when they picked him in the first round of the 1980 draft. Tito acted as Terry’s agent and negotiated a $100K bonus. He then called McHale. “Remember when my wife was pregnant and I wanted a raise,” he said. “Well, that baby is Terry and he just cost you $100,000!” Here’s more from the Central divisions.

  • The Reds have reinstated starter Homer Bailey (elbow) from the disabled list and optioned reliever Pedro Villarreal to Triple-A Louisville, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. Bailey’s start against the Cardinals on Saturday will be his first since last August. Bailey pitched reasonably well in 2014 when he was available, and he’s in the second year of a $105MM contract, so the Reds will depend on him to be productive yet again.
  • Cubs Triple-A infielder Chris Valaika is confident Kris Bryant will be successful in the big leagues, although he’s undoubtedly facing a new challenge, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat writes. “Everything’s escalated, the media presence doesn’t go away, and the game is crisper — it’s the big leagues for a reason,” says Valaika. “Those guys are the best of the best. They find a weakness and they exploit it until you close that hole. He will make adjustments, they will find a new one, and he will close it again.”

Week In Review: 4/11/15 – 4/17/15

Here’s a look back at this week at MLBTR.

Key Moves

Designated For Assignment

Claimed

Outrighted

Released

Key Minor League Signings

Other


Full Story | Comments | Categories: Week In Review

Inside The Christian Yelich Extension

If the mammoth Giancarlo Stanton deal didn’t totally convince fans that the Marlins were serious about winning, then the Christian Yelich deal was the clincher.  After an offseason that included inking Stanton to a 13-year, $325MM deal, signing Michael Morse, and pulling off multiple high-impact trades, the Marlins locked up the talented young outfielder on a $49.75MM, seven-year deal.

The two sides first began discussing parameters for a pact shortly after the 2014 season ended.  Once the Marlins took care of their top priority, a new long-term deal for Stanton, they were ready to go full steam ahead with Yelich.  At first, the Marlins casually reached out to agent Joe Longo to let him know that they wanted to work towards getting a deal done.  Then, some initial figures were thrown out and it was clear that a sizable gap had to be bridged. For starters, Miami pitched a deal that was similar to Starling Marte‘s six-year, $31.5MM extension with the Pirates.

You arrive at deals different ways.  You look at comps and you also think about the player and his skill set and how if you wait year-to-year in arbitration what those years would look like with consistent production,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill told MLBTR.  “It made sense to us.  That area was where we felt like we would like to try to get something done.”

While Longo could, on some level, understand the comparison between the two players, he felt that Yelich’s future earning potential called for something even more lucrative.  What Longo could pretty much agree with, however, was the length of Marte’s contract.  As Longo put it, “the framework of the deal was okay, but the numbers didn’t line up for us.”

Both sides were very much on the same page when it came to that length since the Marlins never seriously considered a deal that was shorter or longer.  Hill explained that he’s not really a fan of contracts that only go through arbitration years and when it comes to a pre-arbitration player, he feels that a longer deal can always be achieved later on.

For a while, the Marlins were hoping to replicate Marte’s exact contract structure: a total of six seasons with two additional option years.  Longo, meanwhile, preferred a six-year deal with one option year, which would have allowed Yelich to explore the open market before the age of 30.  Eventually, the two sides reached a compromise on that point when the Marlins proposed that they would guarantee the 2021 season rather than leaving it as an option.

Even though that initial dollar figure was less than what Yelich’s camp was hoping for, Longo says he didn’t come away from that conversation disappointed.

Negotiations have an ebb and flow to them.  Ultimately, Christian was okay with waiting on an extension and waiting to see what could come in future years.  Really, it’s a positive thing when your employer likes you and in baseball sometimes just getting an offer of an extension feels good, because that’s a good review of what you’ve been doing,” Longo explained.  “I went back to Christian and I told him what the numbers were but I explained that A, They’ve never done anything like this before and B, he’s a unique player and there aren’t a lot of comps out there for him, so we had to be patient and take just the start of the conversation as a positive.”

Early on in the talks, Longo made a point to cite the advanced stats that supported Yelich’s production over the last two years.  Yelich’s slash line and Gold Glove award were pretty good indicators of what he can do, but they were reinforced by his tremendous walk rate (10.6% in 2014) and UZR/150 (10.2 in ’14).

The advanced metrics were also very key to the Marlins’ side of things, not just in negotiations but in their overall evaluation of Yelich throughout the process.

Everything played a part for us,” Hill said.  “When you talk commitment you want to make sure it’s the right person, the right player, the right skill set, and the right talent and you want to make sound decisions.  I don’t think there was anyone in our office who didn’t believe that this was the right thing to do for Christian.”

As the talks progressed, the discussions of stats became a little less pronounced and the two sides began to come a little bit closer on the dollar figure.  Early on, Yelich was hopeful that a deal could be worked out, but he was also mentally prepared to continue on the arbitration path, at the advice of Longo.  As Longo chatted with Hill and David Samson, the proposal of a $31.5MM guarantee slowly climbed up into the $40MM range.  That was still shy of what Yelich was hoping for, but at that stage he felt that he had to at least consider what they were pitching in order to gain financial security for himself and for his family.  The outfielder wanted to see where things would go, but he also asked that the talks cease before Opening Day to avoid any distractions.

Towards the end of spring training, the two sides shook hands on a sizable deal that will keep Yelich in Miami through 2021 and, possibly, 2022.  The $49.75MM guarantee isn’t surprising to anyone who paid attention to what the 23-year-old did last season, but it’s the kind of money that was once reserved mostly for power hitters.  In fact, Yelich’s deal is the second-biggest deal ever for someone in his service class, topping the likes of Ryan Braun and Anthony Rizzo.  Hill is familiar with the precedent there, but that didn’t mean much to him when it came to Yelich.

We totally understand the marketplace and how these young players have been compensated historically.  We just believe that he’s a great talent and a complete talent.  When you look at what he can do now offensively and what we think he’ll grow into as he matures as a hitter, the deal made sense to us,” explained Hill.

Of course, Yelich is not the first player without a major power bat to land a big deal in recent years.  Around this time last year, the Braves signed defensive-minded shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a seven-year extension with $58MM in guaranteed money.  And, just recently, Josh Harrison and Juan Lagares both got significant guarantees, albeit not on the same tier as Yelich and Simmons.  Longo saw Yelich’s deal as yet another indication that teams across the majors, not just the Marlins, are putting emphasis back on defense and other areas of the game that might have been a bit undervalued.

Yelich’s well-rounded skill set, upside, and age gave the Marlins plenty of reason to want to tack on additional years of control.  As Longo stressed during the talks, Yelich carries himself with tremendous poise for someone his age – not just on the field, but off the field as well.  While some players choose to sit back and let their agent handle all of the back-and-forth contract talks, the 23-year-old took an active role in discussions with the Marlins’ front office.

I think it was very unique for a player at his age,” the agent said.  “Usually, the older they get, the more they participate in the process.  Certainly when you get a guy who has been through an arbitration year, it causes a client to learn more about the business of baseball.  But, the fact that he’s never been through the arbitration process and participated as much as he did, that was very impressive at 23 and I think that was part of the reason the Marlins targeted him.  His level of maturity, how smart he is, how well he understands the game, and the business of the game all played a role.”

In the days leading up to the agreement, Yelich met a few times with Samson to discuss his long-term future with the franchise.  The Marlins already knew that they were dealing with an older soul in the young outfielder, but he reminded them of his all-around maturity over the course of the spring.

His plate awareness and strike zone awareness is definitely beyond his years.  You look at his natural feel for the strike zone and his knowledge of the game and he’s been that way as a person from the day we drafted him in 2010,” Hill said. “He’s quiet, he’s focused, and he has a desire to excel at his craft to play in baseball.  He’s not about flair, he’s not about the limelight, he just goes out and gets the job done.”

Now, with his deal in hand, the understated Yelich can focus on what he does best without having to think about his contract situation for several years.


Quick Hits: Bryant, Cubs, Hamilton

The Mariners were a trendy pick to win big in 2015, but so far they’re off to a weak start.  For his part, manager Lloyd McClendon thinks that all of the team’s tough losses will help prepare them for later on in the season.

Like I told the guys the other day, and this is real important: Everybody’s giving the American League title, the pennant, to the Seattle Mariners, and we’re going to hoist the trophy, we’re going to the World Series. And yeah, that’s great,” McClendon said, according to MLB.com’s Doug Miller.  “But in between, there’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears, some heartaches, some adversity that you’ve got to go through, and you’ve got to be built for it. And you’ve got to handle it. And if you’re lucky, in the end you’ll be able to hoist that trophy.”

Here’s more from around the majors..

  • Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com spoke with Cubs execs about what went into their decision to draft Kris Bryant No. 2 overall in 2013.  “It was clear [that Bryant, Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, and Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray] were going to go in the top three. As an organization, we knew we needed pitching but philosophically we felt like taking hitters at the top of the draft was the safer bet. Also, at picking at No. 2 it was hopefully our one shot at picking that high in the draft. Going hitter was safer,” GM Jed Hoyer explained.
  • Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com attempted to peg what kind of impact we could see Bryant make in his rookie year for the Cubs.  Mayo writes that he’s undoubtedly ready to make his mark at the big league level and, unsurprisingly, scouting directors raved about his overall upside. “He’s an exceptional player and talent,” one director said. “He has the chance to be one of the top hitters in baseball over the next 10 to 15 years.”
  • Angels bench coach Dino Ebel and manager Mike Scioscia had dinner with Josh Hamilton on Wednesday night and Ebel told reporters, including Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (via Twitter), that the meeting “went well.”  It remains to be seen how the Hamilton situation will play out in the wake of owner Arte Moreno’s comments.