Russell Wilson’s history with baseball is well-documented, though the Orioles were the first team to make a play for the future Seahawks quarterback out of high school when they made him a 41st-round pick in the 2007 amateur draft. As O’s scout Dean Albany tells MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski, Baltimore had Wilson graded as good enough to be picked within the top 10 rounds, and he only fell due to his commitment to play football at NC State. The Orioles were impressed enough with Wilson that they offered him $350K to sign, a higher bonus than the O’s offered any draft pick that year except for Matt Wieters and Jake Arrieta. Here’s more from around the AL East…
- The Orioles are still weighing whether or not to sign Yovani Gallardo and surrender their first-round draft pick, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko writes. Another “shift in thinking” has taken place within Baltimore’s front office, and now the club may no longer be as hesitant to give up its pick, though “plenty of folks in the industry say Gallardo isn’t worth the 14th selection” in June’s draft. If Gallardo’s price tag has indeed fallen to a large extent, however, there could be enough value added to make the signing. “It could be argued that [Gallardo] carries more value with them than other teams who still may be in the running,” Kubatko writes, due to Baltimore’s need for reliable starting pitching. Kubatko also opines that he would be willing to give up the 14th overall pick, since the O’s have five other picks within the first 100 selections of the coming draft.
- The Red Sox made a bet on Clay Buchholz’s high ceiling rather than Wade Miley’s durability, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes. Buchholz has battled injuries and several ups-and-downs in performance over his career, though he’s looked like an elite starter when at his best. Miley, by contrast, has been more consistent than brilliant over his four full seasons as a big league starter. Speier points out that Miley’s reliability might’ve given him more trade value than Buchholz, which could’ve been the reason Miley was the one dealt, though choosing Buchholz over the lefty could prove to be a key choice of the Red Sox season.
- It couldn’t hurt the Red Sox or David Ortiz if the two sides firmly outlined the star slugger’s role in his final season, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes (subscription required). This would allow both parties to avoid a potentially awkward situation if Ortiz experienced a sudden decline and the Sox then had to consider benching the franchise legend in his farewell season in order to better help the team win games. Olney uses Derek Jeter’s final season as a cautionary tale, as the Yankees still used Jeter as a starting shortstop and number-two hitter throughout the year despite his sub-replacement performance.
- Several Yankees topics are discussed in a mailbag piece by Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog, including the team’s second base situation. Axisa would’ve preferred the Yankees had Howie Kendrick on a two-year, $20MM deal and Adam Warren still in the pitching mix rather than Starlin Castro and the first-rounder it would’ve cost New York to sign Kendrick. That said, Axisa doesn’t blame the Yankees for making the move to acquire Castro earlier in the offseason since two months ago, it would’ve seemed far-fetched that Kendrick could’ve been had at such a relatively low cost.