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Anthony Rendon Rumors
We heard overnight that the Rays and Nationals were exploring the possibility of a trade that would send Danny Espinosa to Tampa. While multiple reporters have suggested those talks haven't gained much momentum, Espinosa remains a trade candidate. Here are the latest rumblings related to the Nats infielder:
- At least one team besides the Rays called the Nats about Espinosa, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, who adds that any talks are being initiated by other teams.
- The Nationals are more willing to trade Mike Morse than Espinosa, with GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson still steadfast supporters of Espinosa, writes Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com.
- Many members of the Nats organization are reluctant to trade Espinosa, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. "He will figure it out," one source told Rosenthal. "[Steve] Lombardozzi is a good player, but he’s not Espinosa."
- The Nationals haven't ruled out the possibility of moving Anthony Rendon to second base if they decide to trade Espinosa, tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
Major League rosters can expand to 40 players beginning September 1st. Not everybody thinks it's such a great idea. Tigers manager Jim Leyland recently vented to reporters, including Jason Beck of MLB.com. "I've been really adamant about that, really a stickler on it," Leyland said. "When I have that meeting with the Commissioner [as part of the special committee for on-field matters], I talk about that all the time. Myself, if everybody went to 28, that wouldn't bother me at all. I think that's fine. That's just my feeling, but any manager who does a pretty good job of managing all year, and then at the biggest month of the year, he loses some of his ability to maneuver." Let's take a look at what the plans are for other clubs looking to maneuver over the season's final month.
- The Pirates are mulling their September call-ups with the post-season in mind, as they entered play today holding the second NL Wild Card spot and with Triple-A Indianapolis likely playoff-bound. General Manager Neal Huntington told reporters, including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Where we go from there … it’s a delicate balance. I’ve been with another organization where we raided the Triple-A team as it was headed to the post-season. The guys came up and didn’t play very much, and that didn’t go over very well on many fronts." At least one left-handed reliever and another catcher will be added when rosters expand, writes Biertempfel.
- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle adds another consideration when deciding upon September call-ups: cost. In Biertempfel's piece, Hurdle pointed out, "In my rookie year, if you got a call-up, you made $5,000 or $6,000 (in September). Now you’re talking about making $75,000. So if you call up 10 guys, you’re picking up $750,000 in salary and everything that goes with it.”
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter has acknowledged the team's September call-ups will be affected by the team's playoff chase. Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com lists possible players, both on the disabled list and at Triple-A, who could join the O's when the rosters expand.
- The Padres may not have the roster space to bring Jedd Gyorko up in September, according to John Maffei of the North County Times. The Padres already have 49 players on their 40-man roster (nine are on the 60-day disabled list) and may not want to start Gyorko's service clock just for a September sneak peak, writes Maffei. Since Gyorko has less than three full seasons in pro ball, the Padres don't have to add him to the 40-man roster next season.
- Lucas Duda will probably have to wait until September 1st to rejoin the Mets because the team wants to take a longer look at Mike Baxter, tweets the New York Post's Mike Puma.
- The Nationals have several candidates for September call-ups including pitcher John Lannan and 2011 first-round draft pick Anthony Rendon, writes MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
On this date last year, Adam Wainwright underwent Tommy John surgery, but it didn't stop the Cardinals from winning the 2011 World Series. Earlier today Tyler Kepner of the New York Times looked back at the moment Wainwright struck Carlos Beltran out to end the 2006 NLCS and the present-day relationship between the new teammates. Here are more of today's links…
- Third base prospect Anthony Rendon is impressing Nationals scouts and front office personnel this spring, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Rendon, a first round pick in 2011, doesn't appear to be far removed from the Major Leagues. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman just signed a long-term deal, but Rendon says he is comfortable at second base.
- In a chat with fans at MLB.com, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said the club still needs to "add to [their] depth" and land an impact prospect with the first overall pick in June's draft.
- The Royals' Opening Day payroll figures to be in the $57MM range, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets. Dutton has the full breakdown here.
It's time for some Nationals notes, courtesy of Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- "I think I want to play third base until someone is better than me at it," Ryan Zimmerman explained to Kilgore. The topic comes up because last year's first-round draft pick Anthony Rendon is a third baseman by trade, and if Zimmerman were to be extended, someone would have to change positions if Rendon proceeds to the Majors and is not traded. On Rendon specifically, Zimmerman said, "If he comes up and plays third and plays second or whatever, then I’m going to be his best friend there. In the end, he’s going to help us win games. That’s the most important thing."
- Rendon is in big league camp because of his draft contract, but Kilgore thinks he may begin his pro career at Class A Potomac. The Nationals intend to play Rendon at third base, second base, and shortstop, at least during spring training, but manager Davey Johnson downplayed the extra infield positions, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com. Rendon was deferential to Zimmerman in his comments.
- The Nationals intend to use Stephen Strasburg until he hits his innings limit and then shut him down, GM Mike Rizzo told reporters. There's an expectation of a 160-inning cap, and Rizzo doesn't seem to be considering a six-man rotation or skipping Strasburg's starts. I imagine skipping Strasburg starts while he's in good health could upset some fans who buy tickets specifically to watch him pitch.
- Super prospect Bryce Harper says he intends to "keep my mouth shut and play," but certainly aims to make the team out of spring training. Kilgore mentions Super Two considerations for the team, and it's worth noting that the new collective barganing agreement will result in more players getting that designation than in years past.
- A potential Mike Cameron replacement will come internally, said Rizzo. Mark DeRosa could play right field if Jayson Werth is in center, while Jason Michaels and Brett Carroll are in camp in minor league deals. Roger Bernadina may have a leg up as an out of options player, in my opinion. Here's MLBTR's full list of players who are out of minor league options.
The Nationals have signed sixth overall pick Anthony Rendon, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). Rendon obtained a four-year Major League deal that includes a $6MM bonus and a $7.2MM guarantee. Tim Dierkes explained Major League deals for draft picks earlier today. The Boras Corporation represents the third baseman.
Earlier in the year, I spoke to Rendon about his health and the team he rooted for growing up. Here's the transcript.
You can keep track of which top picks have signed with MLBTR's list.
Rival executives have wondered whether the Nationals will eventually shift top pick Anthony Rendon to second base, so ESPN.com’s Buster Olney constructs an impressive-looking 2013 Nationals lineup with Rendon at second and prospective free agent Prince Fielder at first base. Here are the rest of Olney’s rumors:
- The Mariners wondered whether Safeco Field would limit Rendon’s offense, but they’re confident that their second overall selection, left-hander Danny Hultzen, will be a good fit in their home ballpark.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin confirmed to Olney that it’s possible (though not likely) that top pick Taylor Jungmann could help them this year.
- Some executives tell Olney that top Orioles pick Dylan Bundy is the greatest pure talent in the draft. He's certainly looking to get paid like an elite talent.
- Olney wonders if Grant Balfour could be dealt to the Rangers, who could use relief help.
- Teams like the Braves and Phillies are looking for offense, so Josh Willingham could become a target if the 27-34 Athletics do become sellers.
We've already learned that right-hander Gerrit Cole will be the Pirates' choice with the first overall pick in today's amateur draft, and it seems that the next two picks are also starting to crystalize. "Barring huge late surprises," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the top three look to be Cole, Anthony Rendon (to the Mariners) and Trevor Bauer (to the Diamondbacks). Here's the latest as we're just hours away from the 2011 draft…
- Cole, Rendon and Bauer are the first three picks for Baseball America's Jim Callis in his final mock draft. This represents a reversal for Callis, who said on Friday that "[Danny] Hultzen to Arizona was the biggest lock in the first six picks." Instead, Callis has Hultzen falling to the Nationals at No. 6.
- Francisco Lindor had a great workout with the Mariners and there were rumors Seattle could take the high school shortstop with the No. 2 pick, reports Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. Still, Goldstein predicts Seattle to draft Rendon in his latest mock since Jack Zduriencik didn't see much of Lindor in game action and, if the M's did branch out to take a high school player, they might prefer Bubba Starling.
- Marc Hulet of Fangraphs and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo also have Cole, Rendon and Bauer as the first three picks in their last mock drafts.
- Also from Mayo, he names the ten best draft picks in history according to their placement in the draft order. For instance, Alex Rodriguez is the best first overall pick ever, Reggie Jackson is the best second overall pick ever, etc.
- Now that it appears Cole will be Pittsburgh's pick at No. 1, the second-guessing has already begun. "I think history suggests that the Pirates may be making a mistake here," writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, who cites the surprisingly weak crop of pitchers taken with the first overall pick. (The jury is still out, of course, on David Price and Stephen Strasburg.)
- Meanwhile, Tom Krasovic of West Coast Bias asks five scouts and an executive who they would rather draft between Cole and Bauer. Cole won the informal poll, but only by a 4-2 margin.
- Nationals owner Mark Lerner says his team won't hesitate to spend to get the draft picks they want, reports James Wagner of the Washington Post (via the Post's Adam Kilgore). "Last year we had great luck in going after kids with signability issues like A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray, and hopefully we’ll have the same opportunity again this year if the opportunity presents itself," Lerner said.
- The Rockies are looking at Hawaii second baseman Kolten Wong or UNC shortstop Levi Michael with the 20th overall pick in the first round, tweets ESPN's Keith Law. Colorado apparently won't be selecting Utah first baseman C.J. Cron.
- The Tigers have had success finding Major League players in the late rounds of recent drafts, reports MLive.com's Matt Sussman. Detroit won't have a pick until the 76th overall selection after losing its first round pick to Boston as compensation for signing Victor Martinez.
- MLBTR's Dan Mennella already posted a set of draft links earlier today, so click here for even more draft news on this busy day in baseball.
Here's the latest as we close in on Monday's First-Year Player Draft …
- The Royals will be tempted to take prep outfielder Bubba Starling from Kansas with the No. 5 overall pick, writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. The Royals are thought to covet a polished pitcher so that he can help the big league team sooner than later, according to Dodd, but they've smarted over missing out on local products Albert Pujols and Logan Morrison in the recent past, and GM Dayton Moore has discussed the importance of snatching up local talent.
- The Pirates' indecision about which pricey college player to take select at No. 1 overall — Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon are represented by Scott Boras, while Danny Hultzen is reportedly seeking $13MM — has some baseball people wondering whether they'll take a prep player like Starling or Dylan Bundy in order to preserve their draft budget and overpay for tough-to-sign players at later picks, writes Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. Also within that piece, Rogers examines some of the crucial selections of the past 10 drafts.
- The Phillies are charged with restocking their farm despite making their first pick at No. 39, writes Bob Brookover of Philly.com. The fact that many of the Phils' core players are homegrown and others were acquired with prospects is a testament to the scouting and development departments, according to Brookover.
- The Royals could also select UConn right-hander Matt Barnes with the fifth overall pick, writes Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner. Within that piece, Goff explains Barners' unforeseen ascent to likely top-10 selection.
- The Astros were once interested in Texas A&M righty John Stilson at No. 11, according to Goff, but the hurler has generally slipped out of first-round consideration due to a shoulder injury. As a result, Stilson is now a deep sleeper, writes Goff.
- Jonathan May of MLB.com published his latest mock draft today, with Cole, Rendon and Hultzen going at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 to the Pirates, Mariners and D'Backs, respectively.
- Four of six industry experts polled said they prefer Cole to Trevor Bauer of the two UCLA Bruins, but it's closer than you think, writes Tom Krasovic.
Alex Rodriguez, the first overall pick 18 years ago, has an .845 OPS after a two-hit game in Oakland today. Here's the latest on this year's draft, as we await another first overall pick…
- Teams are hearing that the asking price for Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen is $13MM, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter).
- High school shortstop Francisco Lindor will hold a private workout for the Diamondbacks tomorrow, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (on Twitter). Arizona selects third and seventh overall in this year's draft.
- Lindor, a high school shortstop, is being strongly considered by teams with top five picks, including the Mariners (who pick second overall) according to Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com. Lindor could end up as a speedy switch-hitter with some power and an elite glove.
- What do Matt Bush, Wade Townsend and Colt Griffin have in common? They're among the worst ten single-digit draft picks of the decade, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.
- In this week's edition of Ask BA, Jim Callis of Baseball America says the Pirates will likely select Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, UCLA righty Gerrit Cole or Hultzen. At this point, it's a matter of "reading the tea leaves," since Pittsburgh's intention remains unclear.
The Dodgers have had unofficial conversations with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier about long-term deals, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. GM Ned Colletti would like to lock both outfielders up instead of letting them hit free agency after the 2012 season. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors:
- Though it’s hard to imagine Dodgers owner Frank McCourt signing either player long-term given his current financial issues, MLB seems hopeful that they can find a new owner for the team if and when it's necessary.
- Proposed Mets limited partner David Einhorn will have the chance to increase his share of the team from 33% to 60% after five years, according to Heyman. Majority owner Fred Wilpon could then block Einhorn and repay him his $200MM while allowing him to keep 16.5% of the team. Heyman hears that the Wilpons won’t allow Einhorn to become majority owner. Various reports about the value of the deal circulated over the weekend.
- Anthony Rendon’s draft stock is again rising, according to Heyman. The Mariners, who select second, could choose the Rice third baseman if the Pirates pick UCLA righty Gerrit Cole first overall. If the Pirates take Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen with the top pick, Rendon and Cole figure to be Seattle’s top choices.
- The Red Sox could look to acquire an outfielder if J.D. Drew’s nagging injuries persist.
- The Nationals are suggesting that they will have a high asking price for Ivan Rodriguez.