Brian Matusz Rumors

Odds and Ends: Ibanez, Dunn, Blake, Stewart

Let’s kick off the morning with some random links.

Draft Roundup: Matusz, Alonso, Hosmer

Let’s round up some links concerning the unsigned ’08 draft picks.

  • The Orioles haven’t made much progress with Brian Matusz, but they haven’t gone backward either.  His agent seems cautiously optimistic.
  • Reds top pick Yonder Alonso told the Miami Herald there’s a 50-50 chance he doesn’t sign and goes back to college.  One of Alonso’s "advisors" said the Reds and Alonso were way off on figures.
  • Sam Mellinger says some think Royals top pick Eric Hosmer might be willing to try college.  Hosmer is advised by Scott Boras. Mellinger considers fourth round pick/first round talent Tim Melville the Royals’ backup plan.  Ideally, they’ll sign both high-ceiling talents.
  • How much of this is just posturing?  We’ll know on August 16th.

Draft Update: Crow, Alvarez, Matusz’s Jonathan Mayo reminds us of baseball’s next deadline: this year’s draft picks must be signed by end of day August 15th.  Mayo provides links updating progress on unsigned top ten picks Pedro Alvarez, Eric Hosmer, Yonder Alonso, and Aaron Crow.  No news on Gordon Beckham.

  • Roch Kubatko says both the Orioles and Brian Matusz remain confident a deal will be done.  No hard feelings on either side regarding the delay.
  • Based on this Q&A with Nationals GM Jim Bowden, talks with Crow apparently haven’t gotten too far. 
  • As for Alvarez, the Pirates have a dollar figure they’d prefer not to exceed.

Mayo’s Latest: Alvarez, Orioles, Cashner’s Jonathan Mayo has some draft tidbits tonight.

  • The idea has been floated that the Rays could draft Pedro Alvarez with an eye on moving Evan Longoria to second base down the road.  Alvarez’s position really shouldn’t be a concern – Carlos Pena might be gone by the time he’s ready.  Mayo’s heard buzz that the Rays have narrowed it down to Alvarez or Buster Posey, despite what Tim Beckham‘s dad said.
  • Standard speculation is that the O’s are looking at Brian Matusz and Justin Smoak, but Mayo’s heard there might be a non-Beckham dark horse.
  • The White Sox have Smoak, Yonder Alonso, and perhaps Andrew Cashner on their radar at #8.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: 2008 Amateur Draft

With last year’s top pick, David Price, making his pro debut yesterday, we are now two weeks from the 2008 "Rule 4 Draft" and the top of the draft is not as clear this time around. There are five candidates that could go in the top slot: Buster Posey, the FSU catcher; Vanderbilt’s third baseman Pedro Alvarez; San Diego lefty Brian Matusz; Southern California high school catcher Kyle Skipworth, and Georgia high school shortstop Tim Beckham. Earlier this week we heard that the Rays were leaning towards Posey or Alvarez, while the Pirates were said to be torn between Alvarez and Beckham with the second pick. Recent mock drafts from Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, have Beckham going to the Rays with the top pick.

Let’s take a look at what is being said about the upcoming draft in the Blogosphere…

  • Minor League Ball ranks the top 30 prospects, with Posey and Beckham at the top of the board, while Alvarez’ injury knocks him down to #8.
  • Baseball Mastermind would like to see a push for a little more hype in the baseball draft and feels that baseball fans would benefit from more debate on the merits of the available talent. They also can’t see the Rays taking Alvarez with the top pick now that they have Evan Longoria locked up to a long-term deal.
  • DRays Bay wonders if recent reports of the Rays drafting Beckham or Posey were just smoke-screens to lower the price on Alvarez, who is a Scott Boras client.
  • Rays of Light note that Alvarez would be the ideal choice, but believe signability may be too big of a factor to ignore, making Posey more attractive.
  • Bucs Dugout feels a team should select the best available player with the second pick, but suggests that a team like the Pirates, that is still several years away from contending, may be better off drafting high school talent. The idea is that an Alvarez will not help a Bucs club in ’09 or ’10 while a Beckham will remain under the team’s control for more years.
  • Camden Depot doesn’t sound very excited about the prospect of the Orioles drafting Matusz.
  • McCovey Chronicles is hoping that Alvarez falls to the Giants at #5.

Cork Gaines writes for Rays Index and can be reached here.

Rays Could Take Catcher No. 1 Overall

In a recent blog post, ESPN’s Peter Gammons told us not to be surprised if the Rays take Florida State catcher Buster Posey first overall in the June draft.  Posey, a former shortstop, has the skills and frame to behind the plate in his career.

Baseball America’s Jim Callis recently analyzed the Rays’ most likely options (print issue 0809).  He doesn’t see the Rays choosing Boras-represented corner infielder Pedro Alvarez.  Pitchers Brian Matusz and Aaron Crow and shortstop Tim Beckham are the top talents after Alvarez.  Callis, like Gammons, notes that the Rays could go for Posey if they choose to draft for their "biggest organizational weakness."

It seems that the experts’ expectation for the Rays’ pick is Beckham, but we’ll keep you updated in the coming months.

Royals Considerations For No. 3 Pick

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star has an article discussing the Royals’ third overall pick in the June draft.  The Royals are giving the usual line about taking the best available player.

It seems logical that the Rays could take shortstop Tim Beckham first, and then the Pirates would take corner infielder Pedro Alvarez.  That’d leave pitchers Aaron Crow and Brian Matusz and first baseman Eric Hosmer as possibilities for KC.  Saberscouting did a mock draft today, suggesting Crow and Hosmer as the likely candidates.  Additionally, ESPN scouting guru Keith Law dropped me a line suggesting catcher Buster Posey is a definite top three draft candidate.