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Earl Webb's Major League record of 67 doubles in a season has stood since 1931 but Orioles phenom Manny Machado could be putting that mark in jeopardy. Machado now has 30 doubles through 68 Baltimore games after collecting a pair of two-baggers in Friday's 2-0 win over the Red Sox. Only five 21st century players have come within even 11 doubles of Webb's record, one of whom was Machado's teammate Brian Roberts, who hit 56 doubles in 2009.
Here's the latest from around the baseball world…
- Yadier Molina's value to the Cardinals is immeasurable, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler writes, and for a team that has been comfortable letting many key figures go in recent years, the Cards made a point to lock their catcher up to a five-year, $75MM extension in March 2012. "[Owner Bill DeWitt and I] talked about players who were coming up on free agency, and we'd ask how do you replace them. He and I always felt that [Molina] was the one where we had no answer," Cards GM John Mozeliak said. "It was imperative that we kept him."
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels is waiting to see how his team performs over the next few weeks before determining what possible upgrades are needed at the trade deadline, Daniels said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Fitzsimmons and Durrett Show (passed on by ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett). Daniels also noted that the club may keep Jurickson Profar on the Major League roster even after Ian Kinsler is back from the DL, and that Profar could get some outfield time if he is in fact sent back to Triple-A.
- ESPN Insider's Jim Bowden lists 20 pitchers he feels could be traded this summer.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer felt Kris Bryant was "the best player on the board" when Chicago had the second overall pick in the draft, though Hoyer tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that pitching "is an organizational weakness….I don’t think it affects our timing, but it does mean that pitching will be an emphasis in future drafts and any kind of trades we might make, and in free agency.”
- The Yankees' makeshift lineup has remained in contention but ratings on the YES Network are down 38% from last season, leading Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal to speculate if the Bombers may feel obligated to acquire star players in order to maximize fan and business interest.
- Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel's elbow injury could endanger his season, and since Dotel is 39, MLB.com's Jason Beck wonders if the veteran's career could also be threatened.
- Andre Ethier isn't letting trade speculation bother him since "it's nothing you can have a say about except to go out there and play hard," he tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Ethier could be expendable in the Dodgers outfield once Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp return from injury, given Yasiel Puig's emergence.
- Baseball America's staff checks in on the progress of the 2012 first round draft picks.
Conventional wisdom held that the Astros would select Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft. The Astros nearly took him and were prepared to offer a bonus of around $6MM, Jim Callis of Baseball America reports (subscription-only). They ended up taking Carlos Correa instead, and Appel fell all the way to the Pirates at No. 8. Since the Pirates (who had a smaller draft bonus pool than the Astros) were unwilling to forfeit their top pick in 2013 to sign Appel, they couldn't meet his bonus demands, and he turned them down. That decision appears likely to work out well for Appel, who will probably be the first or second overall pick this year.
Two-time first-rounders have a mixed track record, Callis notes. J.D. Drew more than doubled his payday when, as the No. 2 overall pick in the 1997 Draft, he turned down $2.6MM from the Phillies, then signed with the Cardinals for $6.7MM the following year. He had a strong big-league career, too, as did fellow two-time first-rounders Jason Varitek and Charles Johnson. And Gerrit Cole, who turned down the Yankees in 2008 and became the first overall pick in the 2011 Draft, has a promising future. But the list of two-time first-round picks also includes Danny Goodwin (who actually was the first overall pick in both the 1971 and 1975 Drafts, but didn't make an impact in the big leagues) and several others whose careers didn't turn out so well. Here are more notes on the upcoming draft.
- The six top candidates for the Astros are Appel, Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray, Indiana State lefty Sean Manaea, San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant, and Georgia high school outfielders Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo reports. North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran is "more of a dark-horse candidate," Mayo says.
- Of those six, Appel and Gray stand out, but the others aren't separating themselves from the field, Mayo says. That could lead to some twists and turns in the draft after Appel and Gray are selected. "The late risers in this Draft could make some big jumps, because we're a little uncertain about what we've seen so far," says one scouting director.
- Kiley McDaniel's mock draft at Scout.com makes that point clear. Appel (Astros), Gray (Cubs), Bryant (Rockies), Frazier (Twins) and Moran (Indians) are the first five picks, but the draft quickly becomes unpredictable after that, with Meadows at No. 10 (Blue Jays) and Manaea all the way down at No. 18 (Dodgers).
Stephen Strasburg made his final home start of the season tonight, allowing five runs in three innings to the Marlins. The Nationals will infamously shut down their star right-hander following his next start on the road against the Mets. Here's the latest from around the league as Friday turns into Saturday…
- MLB and the player's union are investigating the Levinson brothers and their ACES baseball agency about whether they facilitated PED use by their clients, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. As our Agency Tracker shows, ACES represents the recently-suspended Melky Cabrera as well as players like Heath Bell, David Wright, Jonathan Papelbon, and Dustin Pedroia.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post wrote about the Yankees and the oldest roster in baseball, which has contributed to their second-half slide and has them just a game up in the AL East.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recapped a week's worth of minor league transactions. The Pirates signed 21st round draft pick Jordan Steranka, who was free to sign after the deadline as a college senior.
The Diamondbacks agreed to sign high school right-hander Felipe Perez for a reported bonus of $400K, Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times reports. Perez, who was about to start his college career at UCLA, went undrafted this year, so he became eligible to sign as a professional on the first day of school.
The Diamondbacks could have spent over $404K without losing a 2013 first round pick, Jim Callis of Baseball America reports (Twitter links). Perez was the top undrafted player from Baseball America’s pre-draft list of the 500 best prospects available, Callis notes. The publication ranked him 129th, noting his projectable three-pitch mix and 88-91 mph fastball. ESPN.com’s Keith Law suggests Perez went undrafted because of signability questions (Twitter link).
First round draft picks Max Fried and Lucas Giolito were also headed to UCLA until they signed professional contracts.
Yesterday afternoon (4pm CT, specifically) was the deadline for teams to sign this year's draft picks. Every first round and supplemental first round pick signed except for Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, who turned down the Pirates as the eighth overall pick. Here's a round-up of some post-draft links…
- Jim Callis of Baseball America lists the four compensation picks for next year's draft. The Pirates will get the ninth overall pick for Appel while the Mets (76th overall), Phillies (96th), and Athletics (supplemental third round) will also receive picks for failing to sign players before yesterday's deadline.
- The deadline does not apply to college seniors with college eligibility remaining, so Preston Tucker (seventh round, Astros), Jarret Leverett (15th, Twins), and Tyler Olson (17th, Athletics) are still eligible to sign at any time according to Callis (on Twitter).
- The Mariners offered 30th round pick Mike Yastrzemski a $300k bonus according to MLB.com's Peter Gammons (on Twitter), but he decided to return to Vanderbilt to finish his degree. Mike is the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.
- Fifteen picks in the top ten rounds remained unsigned as of 15 minutes prior to the deadline, and Callis explains what happened with each of them.
Earlier this evening, Braves General Manager Frank Wren confirmed that he is on the lookout for a shortstop. "We’re moving along. Hopefully in the next day or so we’ll get to the end of it," said the GM, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). Here's more from around baseball..
- The Blue Jays are more focused on improving their starting rotation than their bullpen right now but are interested in upgrading both, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Toronto is said to be among the clubs interested in Cubs starter Matt Garza.
- Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter) speculates that Alfonso Soriano would be an interesting get for the Rays if the Cubs were willing to absorb about 90 percent of the money owed to him.
- Angels pitcher Jered Weaver has no regrets about staying with the Halos for less money than he could have gotten elsewhere on the open market this offseason, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- Phillies assistant GM Marti Wolever isn't “overly disappointed” about not signing second-round pick Alec Rash, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. “We’ll get an extra second-rounder next year,” he said of the right-hander. “We liked [Rash], but he didn’t pitch well this summer. We made a fair offer. He’s going to school."
The Pirates inability to sign right-hander Mark Appel is a sign of a larger problem with the new draft system, opines Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd). The previous system with no real penalties for exceeding slot would have allowed Pittsburgh to sign the Stanford standout and in turn allow them to feel more comfortable in parting with Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon in a trade. Even though the Bucs will have the ninth pick in next year's draft as compensation, Law writes that the 2013 crop appears to be weaker than this year's. Here's the latest draft news..
- The Pirates offered Appel $3.8MM, the most they could give without losing a first-round pick, a source tells Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Twitter).
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said that the club was "dangerously close" to the 4pm CDT deadline before signing Lucas Giolito. The 16th overall pick received a $2.925MM bonus from Washington.
- Andre Martinez signed with the Twins for $80K after originally agreeing to a $260K, bonus, tweets Callis. A physical exam raised questions about the left-hander's shoulder, leading to a renegotiation.
4:22pm: The sides agreed to a $4.32MM bonus, ESPN.com's Keith Law tweets. The Orioles have announced their agreement with Gausman.
4:10pm: The Orioles have agreed to sign first round selection Kevin Gausman, the pitcher reports (on Twitter). MLB recommended a bonus of $4.2MM for the fourth overall pick and Gausman's bonus is expected to fall in that range, Jon Paul Morosi reported today.
Gausman has two premium pitches including a fastball that sits 94-96 mph and a plus change-up, according to Baseball America. The Louisiana State right-hander also throws a curve and a slider.
4:14pm: Pirates GM Neal Huntington explained in a statement that the team offered as much as it could without losing future picks.
“Our final offer exceeded the available bonus pool money and was essentially up to the last dollar we could offer prior to falling into the second tier penalty which would have resulted in the loss of a first round draft selection," Huntington said. "While, as we have shown in past years, we are willing to be aggressive with our financial offer, we simply did not feel it was in the best interest of the organization to forfeit our first round selection in the 2013 amateur draft."
The Pirates will select ninth overall next year, ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweets.
4:05pm: The Pirates did not reach a deal with first round pick Mark Appel, Jim Callis of Baseball America reports (on Twitter). The right-hander established himself as one of the country's top amateurs as a member of Stanford's starting rotation. He was considered a candidate for the first overall pick, but fell to the Pirates at eighth overall.
Appel stands 6'5" and his repertoire includes a fastball that has touched 98 mph plus a "nasty" slider, according to Baseball America. MLB recommended a bonus of $2.9MM for the eighth overall selection. Scott Boras is Appel's advisor.
The Nationals have agreed to sign first round selection Lucas Giolito, ESPN.com's Keith Law reports (on Twitter). MLB recommends a $2.1MM bonus for the 16th overall selection, but Giolito obtained a $2.925MM bonus, according to Law.
The high school right-hander entered the year as one of the most talented draft eligible players, but suffered an elbow injury in March. “I’m confident that this issue is behind me,” he said the day after the Nationals selected him.“I’m looking forward to getting on the mound soon.” Giolito's fastball can reach 99 mph and he sits at 94-96 mph, according to Baseball America. He also throw s a plus-plus curveball and a plus change-up.