Atlanta Braves Rumors
Baseball America's Jim Callis tweeted updates on previous draft signings Bryan Verbitsky and Carlos Salazar today. Verbitsky, a third-round pick by the Padres will receive $400K, while Salazar, the Braves' third-rounder, will receive $625K (Twitter links). The Padres landed Verbitsky $221K under slot, while the Braves went over-slot by nearly $120K. Here are more signings out of the second and third rounds (all slot info courtesy of Baseball America)...
- The Rockies went $535K over slot to sign sixth-rounder Dom Nunez, according to BA's Jim Callis (on Twitter). The California high school third baseman/shortstop/catcher boasts a compact swing, sneaky pop, and a strong arm.
- The Marlins have agreed to a significantly over-slot deal with seventh-round pick Justin Bohn, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. Bohn, the No. 202 overall selection, signed for $525K, though the assigned pick value for that slot was just $193K. Bohn had been committed to Oregon State.
- The A's have signed third-round pick Ryon Healy for $500K, tweets Callis. The A's saved about $16K on Oregon's first baseman, who shows good power and has a chance to play third base.
- Callis tweets that the Rockies signed third-rounder Sam Moll for $600K, meaning they saved about $113K on the Memphis left-hander. Though he stands just 5'11", Moll throws 93-95 mph as a starter. He's likely a reliever in the pros, though.
- The Royals signed third-round pick Carter Hope for $561K, Callis reports (Twitter link). Hope's bonus is exactly $100K under slot. The prep righty from Texas throws 88-92 mph with an improving curveball. He had been committed to Oklahoma State.
The Mets have generated most of the division's headlines today thanks to Zack Wheeler's official promotion to the Major Leagues, the signing of second-round draft pick Andrew Church and the news that the team plans to hold onto closer Bobby Parnell through the trade deadline. Here's the latest from elsewhere around the NL East...
- "There’s no indication the Tigers are pursuing Jonathan Papelbon," John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press writes. The Tigers, Cardinals and Red Sox were recently cited by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo as some of the teams the Phillies believed would form a market for Papelbon at the trade deadline given those clubs' lack of a proven closer. Detroit has the most pressing need for a closer and money has rarely been an object for the club in recent years, though the Tigers may instead pursue a less-expensive bullpen option than Papelbon.
- "I don't do five year plans -- other organizations do, I guess," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told reporters (including David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News) today, though Amaro did describe how long-term planning plays a natural role in his decisions. Murphy opines that Amaro may need to take the long view as the team approaches the trade deadline given that past moves such as the Ryan Howard extension have backfired and left the Phillies a flawed, expensive probable non-contender.
- B.J. Upton is finally hitting (a .946 OPS in 53 June plate appearances) after a horrible first two months. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution talks to the outfielder and several of his Braves teammates about those early-season struggles. Hitting coach Greg Walker noted that other recent major free agent hitters like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Adam Dunn also struggled upon joining new teams on big contracts.
Baseball America's Jim Callis reports that the Braves have signed secound-round pick Victor Caratini for an under-slot bonus of $800K (Twitter link). Caratini, the No. 65 overall selection in the draft, signed for $59K below the assigned pick value reported by BA earlier this year. He is advised by Melvin Roman of MDR Sports Management.
Caratini is a catcher/third baseman out of Miami Dade Junior College, though in their Top 500 scouting report (subscription required) Baseball America wrote that if he went in the first five rounds it would be as a catcher. Callis notes in his tweet that Caratini boasts gap power and a plus arm strength.
Caratini ranked No. 124 on BA's Top 500 and ranked as the draft's No. 92 prospect according to Keith Law of ESPN (Insider required). Law's report on Caratini only discusses him at third base, noting that he has a good feel for hitting and a chance to stay at the hot corner.
With our original draft tracking post becoming just a shade unwieldy, let's start a new list of today's notable second and third-day draft signings. (As before, all recommended bonus slot information is courtesty of Baseball America.)
- Third-round choice Carlos Salazar has agreed to an above-slot deal with the Braves, says Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). While the precise amount of the bonus is not yet known, Salazar was taken with the 102nd choice, which came with a $505,700 bonus recommendation. A high-school right-hander who has hit 97 with his fastball, Salazar was a consensus top-100 draft prospect. (Baseball America had Salazar at number 93; ESPN's Keith Law put him at 81; and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo placed him at the 70th slot.) Salazar is being advised by Reynolds Sports Management and Dave Meier.
- The White Sox have signed fifth-round pick Thaddius Lowry for a $400k bonus, Callis tweets. The right-handed Texas high-schooler has flashed upper-mid-90's heat. The Sox went $90.8k above slot to ink the converted catcher.
- Catcher Stuart Turner has signed with the Twins, reports Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. The third-rounder's bonus is not yet known. His draft position (78) comes with a recommended $703k bonus. Turner is regarded as an exceptional defender who delivers lots of contact but does not consistently barrel up the baseball.
- Fourth-round righty Andrew Mitchell of TCU has signed with the White Sox, tweets Callis. According to Callis, Mitchell has one of the draft's most impressive curveballs and has touched 98 on the gun, making him a "steal in the 4th." Mitchell's $413k bonus is exactly slot.
- The Astros have signed fourth-round pick Conrad Gregor, who is advised by CAA, report Brian McTaggart and Jason Mastrodonato of MLB.com. While it is not yet known what bonus the former Vanderbilt first baseman/outfielder is set to receive, the recommended slot for his 107th overall position is $481,900. He is the highest draft choice of the Astros to have signed thus far.
Here are Thursday's notable signings from Day 2 and Day 3 of the draft (all slot info courtesy of Baseball America) ...
- The Orioles have agreed to terms with Scottsdale Community College lefty Stephen Tarpley, the team's third-round choice, according to Baseball America's Jim Callis (via Twitter). Tarpley, who reportedly touches 95 with his fastball, was signed for just $500 under the recommended $525,500 bonus for the 98th overall choice.
- Third-round draft choice Brandon Dixon has signed with the Dodgers for the slot recommendation of $566,500, tweets Callis. The University of Arizona third baseman could become a corner outfielder, according to Callis, and is noted for his power potential.
- The Dodgers have signed fourth-round choice Cody Bellinger, a high-school first baseman, for $700k, tweets Callis. Los Angeles pried Bellinger away from the University of Oregon with the largest over-slot signing to date (by percentage), nearly doubling the recommended $409k bonus. Bellinger is being advised by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
- The Blue Jays have agreed to terms with their fourth round pick, left-handed high-schooler Evan Smith, according to Callis (on Twitter). Smith, who stands at 6'5", has reportedly touched 93 with his fastball. $96.1k
- Cody Dickson, a "projectable" left-hander out of Sam Houston State, will sign with the Pirates for $375k, Callis says on Twitter. The fourth-round pick's bonus falls $54,200 under the slot recommendation.
- The Reds have signed fourth-rounder Ben Lively for $350k, Callis tweets. The righty mixes four pitches, including a 90-93 MPH heater. His signing bonus comes in at a modest $17.9k under slot.
- The Rockies inked fifth-rounder Blake Shouse for $353,900, his exact slot allocation, according to a Callis tweet. Per Callis, the two-way player sits in the low-to-mid 90's with his fastball and also features a hard curve.
- Third round pick Patrick Murphy signed with the Blue Jays for $500K, Callis tweets. The Arizona high school right-hander missed the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In the past, he has displayed a 93 mph fastball and solid curveball. Murphy is advised by Jonathan Pridie of Sosnick Cobbe.
- The Yankees signed third-rounder Michael O'Neill for $501K, according to Callis (via Twitter). The Michigan outfielder is quick and could wind up in center field.
- Rangers fourth-round pick Isaiah Kiner-Falefa signed for $202K, per Callis (on Twitter). The Hawaiian high school shortstop is a solid defender with a contact-oriented approach. He signed for nearly $184K under slot.
- Catcher/right-hander Tanner Murphy, a fourth-round pick of the Braves, agreed to a $250K bonus to forego his commitment to Southern Illinois, Callis tweets. Murphy has power in his bat and a strong throwing arm behind the dish, and he's also been clocked at 92 mph on the mound. He signed for a healthy $125K below slot.
- The Angels have signed third-round pick Kenyan Middleton for a bonus of $450K, tweets Callis. Middleton is a two-sport athlete out of junior college in Oregon who touches 95 mph with his fastball and features a tight slider as well. He signed $91K under slot.
- The Rays have signed fifth-round selection Johnny Field for a bonus of $250K, Callis reports (on Twitter). Field, an outfielder out of the University of Arizona, will convert to second base and provides most of his value with his bat. He signed for nearly $45K under slot.
Over the next month, MLBTR will be keeping track of as many significant draft signings as possible. Here's your Tuesday rundown of notable draft bonuses (all slot information courtesy of Baseball America's assigned pick value list)...
- The A's inked 25 of their picks today, including third-round pick Chris Kohler, according to Callis (Twitterlinks). The high school left hander got a $486K bonus from Oakland.
- The Angels signed sixth-rounder Harrison Cooney for a little under $223K, according to BA's Jim Callis (on Twitter). The Florida Gulf Coast right-hander's salary is exactly in line with the slot recommendation for the No. 187 pick.
- The Rangers have officially signed ninth-round pick Jose Samayoa, MLBTR has learned. The right-hander is one of three Lee University pitchers drafted inside of the first eleven rounds.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis reports (on Twitter) that the Braves have signed sixth-round pick Stephen Janas. The Kennesaw State right-hander recovered from Tommy John surgery successfully this season and features a sinker clocked in the high 80s. Janas signed for the exact slot value of the 193rd pick -- $210,200.
- The Mariners have signed 11th-rounder Zack Littell for a bonus of exactly $100K, tweets Callis. Littell is a high school righty out of North Carolina who's touched 92 mph with his heater and can throw his curve for strikes, according to Callis. He was committed to Appalachian State prior to signing. Littell's $100K bonus is the most teams are allowed to spend on players in rounds 11-40 without that money counting against their allotted bonus pool for the Top 10 rounds.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Astros owner Jim Crane is confident that his team can reach an agreement with the top overall pick in this weekend's draft, Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, reports Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle. "They had something worked out that they felt comfortable," says Crane. Appel did not sign after being selected by the Pirates with the No. 8 overall pick last year, but the Astros will be able to offer him more money this year -- the bonus pool allotment for the No. 1 pick in 2013 is about $7.8MM. Here are more notes from the draft.
- The Braves took Georgia Tech center fielder Kyle Wren in the eighth round on Friday, and his father, Braves GM Frank Wren, found that a bit awkward, Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. "Selfishly we’re getting a player with talent, so I feel good about that," says Frank Wren. "But I think it’s going to be a little tougher on him than probably anyone else. That’s the (hard) part that as a dad, just knowing going in that he’s going to have endure some of that." Indeed, Kyle Wren looks like a credible pick from a talent perspective -- Baseball America ranked him the No. 215 prospect in the draft, and the Braves picked him at No. 253. Rogers notes that, in 2002, the Braves also drafted former GM John Schuerholz's son Jonathan.
- In the ninth round of the draft, the Reds picked Chad Jones -- the same Chad Jones who was selected as a safety by the New York Giants in the third round of the NFL Draft in 2010. Jim Kleinpeter of the New Orleans Times-Picayune notes that Jones is taking a very unusual path back into professional sports. The former two-sport LSU standout almost lost his leg in a car accident soon after the Giants picked him, and now, years later and after lots of rehabilitation for his leg injuries, he's emerged as a left-handed pitching prospect. Jones played for LSU's 2007 national champion football team, as well as its 2009 College World Series-winning baseball team.
A number of agents told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that they expect teams to spend more in the 2013-14 offseason than they did this past winter. "Some clubs held off spending in advance of their new national TV money last winter, knowing that payments would not start until April 2014," writes Rosenthal. Here's more from around the league...
- ESPN's Buster Olney writes that Mariano Rivera will not reconsider retiring under any circumstances (ESPN Insider required). "I don't care if I get 100 saves," Rivera told Olney. "I don't care if they offer me $50 million. That's it." Rivera picked up his 20th save tonight and has stated on multiple occasions that this will be his final season.
- Mets assistant GM John Ricco told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News that Zack Wheeler's Major League debut isn't far off. Ricco said the front office met following Wheeler's strong outing on Saturday and discussed several possible dates. When pressed by Ackert, he wouldn't rule out Wheeler arriving within two weeks.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio that he will be on the lookout for bullpen help between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline (Twitter link).
- Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets that Jay-Z and other Roc Nation Sports executives met with the MLB Players Association today in New York.
Today's minor moves...
- The Braves have signed right-hander Mitch Atkins, who had been pitching for the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed the move (on Twitter). Atkins, 27, has had brief Major League experience with both the Cubs and Orioles. He had a 3.98 ERA in 43 innings for Somerset and has a 5.16 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 520 Triple-A innings. He will be assigned to Double-A Mississippi.
- Reliever Alex Burnett has cleared waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A, according to the Cubs via Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald. Burnett had been designated for assignment Saturday to open a spot for Blake Parker. Burnett made only one appearance for the Cubs, after making just two for the Orioles.
- Seven players currently reside in DFA limbo: Ben Francisco of the Yankees, Edinson Rincon of the Padres, Mark Lowe of the Angels, Tyler Greene of the White Sox, Vinnie Catricala of the Mariners, Tyler Robertson of the Twins, and Quintin Berry of the Tigers.
The Brewers acquired third baseman Juan Francisco from the Braves for minor league lefty reliever Tom Keeling, announced the teams. Additionally, the Brewers announced they've asked for waivers for the unconditional release of infielder Alex Gonzalez, while recalling second baseman Scooter Gennett and optioning Mike Fiers.
The Braves designated Francisco for assignment last Thursday to open a roster spot for Alex Wood. Francisco, 25, hit .237/.281/.420 in 320 plate appearances spanning 2012-13 for Atlanta. They had acquired him in an April 2012 trade with the Reds for reliever J.J. Hoover. Signed out of the Dominican Republic by Cincinnati in 2004, Francisco hit the prospect radar a few years later. Baseball America praised his arm and big raw power, questioning his aggressive approach at the plate. Francisco has played only third base in the Majors, and has played a handful of minor league games at the outfield corners and at first. In the short-term, though, GM Doug Melvin indicated on WSSP SportsRadio 1250 that Francisco will play first for the Brewers. Looking ahead, Francisco could be a viable replacement at the hot corner if the Brewers trade Aramis Ramirez this summer.
Keeling, 25, was drafted out of Oklahoma State by the Brewers in the 18th round in 2010. In 17 relief frames at Double-A this year, he has a 3.18 ERA, 10.1 K/9, and 5.3 BB/9, with one home run allowed. According to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, "Keeling is a future bullpen piece who could get to Atlanta in 2014. He's hit 93 on the gun and occasionally uses a sideam delivery." Baseball America's J.J. Cooper paints a less rosy picture, tweeting, "Keeling is a fringy potential left-handed reliever with a below average fastball, OK slider."
Gonzalez, 36, signed a Major League deal worth $1.45MM in February. His release came after a .177/.203/.230 line in 118 plate appearances. A shortstop by trade, Gonzalez spent more time this year at the infield corners due to injuries to Corey Hart and Ramirez. Gonzalez had ACL surgery on his knee a year ago and battled a hamstring injury about a month ago. He lost playing time to Yuniesky Betancourt, who hit six home runs in April. The Brewers will be on the hook for Gonzalez's salary this year, less a pro-rated portion of the league minimum should he sign elsewhere.
Gennett, 23, was added to the Brewers' 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. The 5'9" second baseman was ranked eighth among Brewers prospects by Baseball America prior to the season. He's a free-swinging line drive hitter with some surprising doubles power, wrote BA. They added that he has some rough edges to smooth out defensively, with an average arm and range. Gennett was hitting .297/.342/.376 in 221 plate appearances at Triple-A, and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy suggests he will push Rickie Weeks for the team's starting job at second base. At the least, some kind of platoon situation is possible, since Gennett bats left-handed and Weeks right-handed.