2013 Amateur Draft Rumors

Phillies Notes: Lee, Papelbon, Utley, Ruiz

Phillies' right-hander Luis Garcia looked the part of a big league pitcher when he made his MLB debut on Wednesday, striking out Ryan Zimmerman and getting a double-play grounder from Adam LaRoche. However, prior to this season he'd been out of organized baseball for two years, working for a moving company and in a barbershop, Todd Zolecki and Stephen Pianovich of MLB.com write. After showing the Phillies a mid-90s fastball and a decent slider, the team assigned him to their high-A club, and he's now pitching out of a major league bullpen. Some more Friday night Phillies links…

  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. isn't expected to make drastic changes to his team as the trade deadline approaches, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Though the Phils remain under .500, the team is playing well lately, having just taken five of seven from divison rivals Washington and Atlanta.  A model for the Phillies' approach to the trade market this year might be the 2007 club under GM Pat Gillick, which plugged holes by acquiring infielder Tad Iguchi and pitcher Kyle Lohse for two non-prospects. Gelb also discussed the market for Michael Young, highlighting the Red Sox, the Yankees, the Dodgers and the Orioles as potential trade partners.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com runs down possible trade pieces for the Phillies at the deadline. From conversations with people around baseball, it would seem that Lee is staying put while rival execs see at least a small chance of Jonathan Papelbon being traded. Opinions seem to be split 50/50 on Chase Utley, though there's a strong belief that Young is a goner if they're not in position to contend. Finally, execs could see the club trading catcher Carlos Ruiz if they remain on the cusp of the race or fall further.
  • The Phillies signed 11th-round pick Denton Keys to a $350K bonus (plus a $200K college scholarship) that will put them over their bonus pool and force them to pay a luxury tax, according to Baseball America's Jim Callis (Twitter links). Because Callis mentions no loss of future draft picks, it seems that the Phils exceeded their pool by 0-5 percent. Any further overage would result in a loss of their 2014 first-rounder. Keys, according to Callis, is a prep left-hander from Colorado whose fastball touches 91 mph. He was committed to Kansas.

Blue Jays Sign Brentz, Tellez; Do Not Sign Bickford

The official signing deadline for this year's draft has now passed, and the Blue Jays made some last-minute splashes. Toronto signed 11th-rounder Jake Brentz for a hefty $700K bonus and 30th-round pick Rowdy Tellez for a record-setting $850K bonus, according to Baseball America's Callis (Twitter links). However, Callis also tweets the team was not able to reach an agreement with first-round pick Phil Bickford, who will attend college at Cal State Fullerton.

Reports that the Blue Jays were unlikely to sign the No. 10 overall pick first surfaced yesterday. The team will now be awarded the No. 11 pick in the 2014 draft as compensation for failing to sign the right-hander. Bickford is the only first-rounder from this year's draft not to sign.

The assigned slot values of all picks after the 10th round is $100K, meaning that the Blue Jays went $750K over slot to sign Tellez and $600K over slot to sign Brentz. Tellez's bonus is the largest ever under the new CBA for a player selected after the 10th round of the draft. However, the Blue Jays' total spend is still within the confines of their draft pool, even without Bickford's money, as noted in Baseball America's draft database.

Tellez ranked 59th on Baseball America's list of Top 500 draft prospects and 99th according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. BA called him the "best left-handed power bat in this year's draft class," noting that he also has a good feel for hitting and moves well for his 6'5", 230-pound frame. While he's seen time in the outfield, Tellez profiles as a first baseman. Tellez is advised by Phil Ortiz of the Primo Sports Group.

Brentz's signing comes just one day after reports stated that he was unlikely to sign. The prep lefty out of Missouri ranked 45th among draft prospects according to ESPN's Keith Law and 80th on BA's Top 500. In fact, Law actually had Brentz ranked ahead of Bickford. Law wrote that Brentz may be "the best pure left-handed arm in the draft class," praising his upper-90s fastball but noting that his curveball is a work in progress. Brentz is advised by Jason Wood of Arland Sports.

Blue Jays Do Not Expect To Sign First-Rounder Bickford

3:30pm: Jim Callis of Baseball America spoke with a person who is "in the know" on the Bickford situation and confirmed that Bickford is likely to attend Cal State Fullerton. Callis adds that it's not a physical issue preventing Bickford from signing and reminds readers that Bickford's pre-draft asking price was $4.25MM (Twitter links).

Callis also tweets that it's starting to look like the Jays won't sign 11th-round pick Jake Brentz, who was regarded as a second- or third-round talent. Baseball America had ranked Brentz 80th among draft prospects, while ESPN's Keith Law ranked him 45th. Brentz is committed to the University of Missouri. As Callis notes, the Blue Jays may only spend about $2MM on this year's draft.

10:36am: The Blue Jays do not expect to sign first-round pick Phil Bickford, GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters including broadcaster Mike Wilner (Twitter link).  The issue is not money, adds Wilner.

The Blue Jays drafted Bickford, a hard-throwing prep righty, tenth overall.  He was a late riser on draft boards.  In their scouting report, Baseball America noted that Bickford "could be a tough sign away from Cal State Fullerton."  The Jays will receive the 11th overall pick as compensation next year if they fail to sign Bickford by tomorrow's 4pm central time deadline.  The Blue Jays are believed to have offered the slot value of $2,921,400, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Toronto previously failed to sign their first-round pick in 2011, Tyler Beede, as well as supplemental round pick James Paxton in '09.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

Marlins To Sign First-Rounder Colin Moran

The Marlins and No. 6 overall draft pick Colin Moran have agreed to terms for the full slot bonus of $3,516,500, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. MLB.com's Joe Frisaro adds that completion of a physical is the only step remaining in the signing process (Twitter link). Moran is advised by Excel Sports Management.  Moran

The 20-year-old Moran was one of the most highly touted prospects heading into this season's draft when he ranked sixth among draft prospects according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, seventh according to Baseball America and ninth according to ESPN's Keith Law.

Aside from No. 2 overall selection Kris Bryant, Moran was thought to be the best college bat in the class. Mayo wrote that Moran is a polished hitter who should be able to stay at third base long-term and grow into some more power. Law praised his discipline, noting his "absurd" strikeout-to-walk ratio (he finished with 55 walks and just 20 strikeouts in 60 games), but raised some questions about his unorthodox swing.

Moran is the first college bat that the Marlins have taken with their top pick since they selected Mark Kotsay out of Cal State Fullerton in 1996 (they did select Chris Coghlan out of Ole Miss in the supplemental first round in 2006). Moran is just the eighth college player the Marlins have selected in the first round in franchise history, dating back to 1992.

Now that Moran has agreed to terms with the Marlins, the only question mark for tomorrow's 4pm central time signing deadline is Blue Jays pick Phil Bickford.

MLB.com's Joe Frisaro first reported that a deal was close and could be completed Thursday.

Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Yankees To Sign First-Rounder Judge

THURSDAY: The Yankees reached an agreement with Judge on a slightly over-slot $1.8MM signing bonus, writes George A. King III of the New York Post.  Judge is advised by PSI Sports Management.

WEDNESDAY: The Yankees are close to a deal with slugging Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  The Yankees selected Judge with the No. 32 overall pick in the draft.

The Yankees offered Judge the slot amount of about $1.6MM weeks ago and have been waiting to get something done. The 6-foot-7, 255-pound slugger has big power potential and has earned physical comparisons to the NBA's Blake Griffin, according to Baseball America.  BA had him ranked as the 30th best prospect in the draft while Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com had him ranked at No. 24, and ESPN.com's Keith Law put him at No. 17.

The Yankees have already signed thieir other first round picks – Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo and San Diego prep lefty Ian Clarkin – to slot deals.  Judge's No. 32 selection is the pick the Yankees received for losing Nick Swisher in free agency.

Cubs To Sign Kris Bryant

The Cubs have reached agreement on a $6.7MM deal with No. 2 overall pick Kris Bryant, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Twitter).  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today that the two sides were close to striking a deal.

Bryant, who is being advised by Scott Boras, had a monster junior season in which he belted 31 homers and catapulted up the 2013 draft board.  The third baseman/outfielder will be the latest promising position player to join the Cubs' stash, joining shortstop Javier Baez and outfielders Jorge Soler and Albert Almora.

Heyman heard in late June that the two sides weren't close to an agreement.  Bryant and Boras were said to be seeking a bonus greater than the $6.7MM assigned pick value, while the Cubs wanted a deal for just over $6MM.

Boras said yesterday that was confident that a deal would be struck in advance of the mid-July deadline.  Some speculated that it could go until the eleventh-hour with Bryant being the final holdout of the first round, but the two sides have hammered out the framework for a deal with days to spare.  

Bryant's pick came as a surprise as the Cubs were widely expected to select whichever top pitcher the Astros passed on (Jonathan Gray or Mark Appel).  Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com and Keith Law of ESPN.com had Bryant ranked as the second-best prospect in the draft while Baseball America had him ranked third.  BA writes that Bryant's best tool is his plus-plus right-handed power and notes that his athleticism should allow him to stick at third base.

Padres Sign First-Rounder Hunter Renfroe

TUESDAY, 2:04pm: The Padres have confirmed the signing via press release.

MONDAY, 9:39pm: The Padres will sign Renfroe for $2.678MM tomorrow, Baseball America's Jim Callis reports (Twitter link).  This bonus exactly matches Renfroe's assigned slot price.

4:57pm: The Padres are close to signing first-round draft pick Hunter Renfroe, as MLB.com's Corey Brock reports (via Twitter) that the Mississippi State outfielder is in San Diego today to take his physical.  Once the physical is passed and the deal is signed, Renfroe will report to the Padres' short-season A ball affiliate later this week.  Renfroe is advised by McKinnis Sports Management.

No terms of the deal are known, though the 13th overall pick carries an assigned slot value of $2.678MM.  The Padres have agreed to terms with the rest of their picks from the first 10 rounds and are roughly $83K under their assigned draft pool budget, so it's possible this extra money could be used to give Renfroe a slightly-above slot deal.  (Tip of the cap to Baseball America for the previous two links.)

Renfroe, 21, was originally a 31st-round pick for the Red Sox in the 2010 draft but he instead chose to attend Mississippi State and ended up improving his draft stock considerably.  Baseball America ranked Renfroe as the 11th-best prospect of the 2013 draft class, while ESPN's Keith Law ranked him 12th and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranked him 28th.  Renfroe projects as a right fielder due to his strong throwing arm and plus speed.  The right-handed hatter has "outstanding raw power" according to MLB.com's scouting report and has "progressed tremendously at the plate" in college, though "there's still some swing and miss to his game."

Once Renfroe's deal is finalized, he will be the 29th of the 33 first-round picks from the 2013 draft to sign contracts.

Marlins Notes: Moran, Deluzio, Ruggiano, Payroll

Ricky Nolasco shared some emotional goodbyes with his Marlins teammates on Sunday morning, the right-hander told Andre C. Fernandez of the Miami Herald, but he is excited about going home to southern California and pitching for the Dodgers.  The Marlins figure to have more moves up their sleeves before the trade deadline so here's the latest out of the Sunshine State…

  • The Marlins are confident they will be able to sign first round draft pick Colin Moran, though they're not sure about third-rounder Ben Deluzio, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports.  The Marlins have offered both players contracts that match the assigned slot prices of the sixth (approximately $3.516MM) and 80th ($681.7K) overall picks.  While Moran is coming out of UNC, Deluzio is a high schooler who "is reportedly leaning toward attending Florida State."
  • Also from Spencer, he thinks pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs and relievers Chad Qualls and Ryan Webb could all be dealt before the trade deadline.  The two right-handers have already drawn interest from reliever-needy teams.
  • We heard earlier today that the Yankees, Rangers and other teams had checked in on Justin Ruggiano but the Marlins aren't particularly interested in dealing the outfielder, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.  Moving Ruggiano could create a depth problem in the outfield given Chris Coghlan's injury status, Christian Yelich's relative under-performance in Double-A and the team's desire to keep Jake Marisnick off the 40-man roster this season.
  • The Nolasco trade seemed to be primarily about dumping salary in 2013 rather than building for the future for the Marlins, Fangraphs' David Cameron opines.  Cameron wonders if situations like this could lead the MLB Players Association to seek some type of "salary floor" in the next collective bargaining agreement.

Quick Hits: Green, Rosales, Blue Jays

The Athletics are set to promote Grant Green for their series in Pittsburgh tomorrow, and the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser suggests that the move could result in Adam Rosales being designated for assignment. Green is hitting .318/.374/.500 for Triple-A Sacramento, while Rosales is batting .200/.273/.331 for Oakland. The A's could use Green as a right-handed complement to second baseman Eric Sogard, Slusser suggests, particularly since the Pirates will start lefties Jeff Locke and Francisco Liriano in the upcoming series. Rosales, meanwhile, has played sparingly since mid-June. Here are more notes from around MLB.

  • The Blue Jays just signed sixth-round draft pick Matt Boyd for just $75K (compared to a slot value of $250K), which is significant because the Jays have now saved nearly $1.8MM against their bonus pool, Jim Callis of Baseball America tweets. (The Jays also recently signed second-rounder Clinton Hollon for significantly below slot, and several other picks have signed for below slot as well.) The Boyd signing confirms what had already seemed to be the Jays' strategy — the Jays appear to be positioning themselves to land first-rounder Phil Bickford, along with 11th-rounder Jake Brentz and 30th-rounder Rowdy Tellez, all of whom are perceived as being tough signs. Tellez, Callis says, will likely cost the Jays second-round money.
  • Kiley McDaniel of Scout.com confirms (or reports) a number of signings of international players, including a few significant ones not yet mentioned on MLBTR: Kelvin Beltre (Giants, $650K), Rudy Giron (Padres, $600K), Yoan Aybar (Red Sox, $450K), and Adrian Valerio (Pirates, $400K).

Draft And International Notes: Jays, Cubs, Red Sox

Here is the latest news on draft and international signings as we look ahead to the July 12 deadline for Rule 4 draftees to sign. You can keep track of signings from the draft's first round right here. Only five players — Kris Bryant (Cubs), Colin Moran (Marlins), Phil Bickford (Blue Jays), Hunter Renfroe (Padres), and Aaron Judge (Yankees) — remain unsigned. As Jim Callis of Baseball America recently explained (subscription required), the changes to the draft system have sapped the signing period of its former deadline drama. Last year, for instance, only six first-rounders waited to sign until the last day, just three of those lasted until the last hour before the deadline, and only one (Mark Appel) did not end up signing.

  • Among the unsigned first-rounders, Callis tweets that he expects all to sign. While he thinks Bickford will ultimately ink with the Blue Jays, Callis does say (via Twitter) that he is the most likely of the five to pass up a deal.
  • The Jays are also angling to convince a late-round choice, such as Jake BrentzSam Tewes, or Rowdy Tellez, to forego college and join the organization, explains Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Toronto has cleared about $1.3MM of bonus pool availability after locking up second-rounder Clinton Hollon for $701k under slot. Davidi says that the club is expected to sign first-rounder Bickford for close to slot value, leaving the team free to spend the rest of its cash on one of its hard-to-sign picks.
  • While Bryant remains the highest choice yet to sign, the Cubs remain confident that they will lock him up, GM Jed Hoyer told David Kaplan in a WGN Radio interview (Twitter link). Likewise, Callis opined (via Twitter) that Bryant will sign, though it may take until the deadline. 
  • Even as the Cubs finish up their draft signings, the team remains heavily involved in the international amateur market. Top overall international prospect Eloy Jimenez has yet to formally sign with Chicago despite reportedly agreeing to terms, which MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez says signals that the Cubs are paying close attention to the penalties for going over the allotted international bonuses. (Twitter link.) Concurring with MLBTR's Steve Adams' breakdown of the Cubs' international expenditures, Sanchez also provided some added background on the situation in a separate piece
  • We also just learned that the Jays' AL East-rival Red Sox have cleared a similar amount of cash. Callis tweets that Boston will "definitely" spend up to its slot totals and may also go into the tax penalty space up to the point of sacrificing a draft choice. 
  • The Angels are still working to sign 12th-round, high-school righty Blake Goins, tweets Callis. The club can go up to $472k before hitting any penalties, and could pay Goins as much as $621k before it would have to sacrifice a draft pick to sign him.
  • Likewise, with their available funds, Callis tweets that the Reds appear to be targeting 14th-round choice Willie Abreu. The University of Miami commit reportedly has a power bat and arm.