Last year, the signing saga of first overall draft pick Brady Aiken seemed straightforward until a controversial physical intervened. This year’s top choice, Dansby Swanson, has yet to put pen to paper, but MLB.com’s Jim Callis writes that the Diamondbacks are still expected to reach agreement without much drama. As Callis explains, Arizona should save a big chunk of money against its overall pool space with a deal, though the team may not have worthwhile targets from later draft rounds on which to re-allocate those funds. The piece goes on to address the signing status of several other players from the first and second rounds who have yet to agree with their teams. Callis suggests that the early selection who is most likely to forego a deal could be Dodgers draftee Kyle Funkhouser.
- There are “widespread rumblings” that the Reds organization could undergo change shortly after the conclusion of the All-Star Game, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. It’s unclear from the report what that might consist of, but it’s certainly conceivable that the on-field struggles could precipitate a shakeup at any level of the organization.
- As the Reds prepare to market staff ace Johnny Cueto, the three teams with the most earnest interest are the Astros, Blue Jays, and Royals, Nightengale adds on Twitter. Cueto’s cheap contract looks to be a significant factor in that interest, given that all three of those clubs currently operate at a lower payroll capacity (Houston, Kansas City) or reportedly lack financial flexibility at the deadline (Toronto).
- Mets righty Rafael Montero has long looked like an important part of the equation for New York, either on the big league roster or as a trade piece. But he’s been out of action for a lengthy stretch with shoulder troubles, and there had been little sign of progress. Montero took the bump today in the Gulf Coast League, however, marking his first competitive appearance since late April, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets.
- The first half returns show that Pirates GM Neal Huntington had a hugely successful offseason, writes Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. But the top Pittsburgh baseball decisionmaker also acknowledges that some of the output from recent acquisitions such as A.J. Burnett and Francisco Cervelli has surprised even the front office.