Despite reports over the weekend that the Astros and first overall pick Mark Appel have already agreed to terms on a below-slot contract, GM Jeff Luhnow today told reporters (including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart and Chris Abshire) that nothing is official and he has yet to meet with Appel or advisor Scott Boras. "We're trying to move it as fast as we can," Luhnow said. "We wanted to give [Appel] the weekend to enjoy his commencement. We're optimistic we can move it pretty quickly." Luhnow said he hoped that Appel would be signed by as soon as this week.
Here's the latest from around the majors…
- Virtually all of the players recently extended by the Padres have struggled, so Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune said the team might look for future extension candidates to prove themselves more fully before signing them to multiyear deals. Center also discusses several other Padres topics as part of the online chat with fans.
- Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez, favored to receive the largest bonus of the coming international signing period, is profiled by Baseball America's Ben Badler. Jimenez, a 16-year-old with a 6'4", 200-pound frame, was reported to be a major target for the Cubs by Badler last month, and Chicago is still in "heavy pursuit" of the prospect. Two of the several scouts and international directors who comment in Badler's piece cite Jermaine Dye as a comparable for Jimenez.
- With the 2013 amateur draft just barely in the books, ESPN.com's Christopher Crawford (Insider subscription required) looks ahead to the 2014 draft, which could be headlined by two NC State products.
- FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi looks at ten players who have helped their trade value in recent weeks. Three of those players (Jesse Crain, Yovani Gallardo and Bud Norris) have recently had their trade stock examined as part of MLBTR's Trade Candidate series.
- In the video link atop that previous post, Morosi cites the Blue Jays, Padres and Phillies as being "right on the fence" as to whether or not they'll be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. If the three teams do decide to sell, plenty of arms will be available — Morosi lists Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Eric Stults, Jason Marquis, Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee as possible trade chips.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said he has no intention of releasing embattled reliever Carlos Marmol, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. Manager Dale Sveum said the same yesterday after Marmol allowed four ninth-inning runs in a 4-3 Cubs loss to the Mets. Marmol has a 6.08 ERA in 26 2/3 IP this season.