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Gerrit Cole Rumors
The market for Jose Reyes should still be strong after the season, Jon Heyman writes at SI.com. MLB executives tell Heyman that the Giants, Cardinals, Tigers, Angels, Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees and Mets could be fits for the shortstop in terms of finances and positional need. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors…
- Yankees people suggest they’re unlikely to pursue Reyes and Red Sox people say they don’t expect to spend big on a position player this winter.
- The Red Sox haven’t discussed a new deal with David Ortiz, though they’re confident that they’ll be able to re-sign him after the season. Ortiz has expressed interest in a multiyear deal for a while, but the Red Sox don’t want to guarantee more than one year.
- First overall draft pick Gerrit Cole is looking to approach Stephen Strasburg’s $15.1MM bonus and top Mariners pick Danny Hultzen is looking for $13MM plus money for school, Heyman reports. Keep track of which top picks have signed here.
- The Twins appear to want to keep Joe Nathan when he hits free agency after the season, but they’ll probably let Matt Capps sign elsewhere.
The Pirates were buyers at the July 31st trade deadline, acquiring Ryan Ludwick and Derrek Lee, but they haven't won a game this month. Here's the latest from Pittsburgh as the 54-59 Pirates look to post their first winning record since 1992…
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington must sign first overall draft pick Gerrit Cole by next week's deadline, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes.
- Kovacevic also says president Frank Coonelly should complete an extension for Huntington, whose contract expires after the season.
- Huntington told Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Pirates could solve their bullpen problems by calling up pitchers such as Tim Wood, Chris Leroux and Danny Moskos.
- Kovacevic points out that the Pirates' dropoff in starting pitching performances has contributed to the club's current ten game losing streak. Paul Maholm agrees that the results have to improve. "It's on us," Maholm said. "We're the ones who go out there and pitch."
The Mets released Wily Mo Pena on this date two years ago. The slugger resurfaced with the D'Backs yesterday, when he homered in his first MLB game since 2008. Here are some links for Wednesday night as Pena attempts to hit another homer or two…
- A scout tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Twins seem less likely to become sellers than they were a few weeks ago (Twitter link). Minnesota has re-entered the playoff race thanks to a 14-3 tear.
- Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears that the Giants are not one of the six teams on Mark Ellis’ no-trade list (Twitter link). Ellis has lost his starting second base job in Oakland and the Giants have had internal talks about obtaining him.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that top draft choices Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Danny Hultzen (Mariners) will sign for roughly $10MM or so. Two high school arms, Archie Bradley (D’Backs) and Dylan Bundy (Orioles), will likely obtain $6-7MM and some executives see high school outfielder Bubba Starling (Royals) signing for more than Cole or Hultzen.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick examines the case for expanding active rosters to 26 players. Teams now have sprawling bullpens and demanding travel schedules, so there's support for bigger rosters from Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, Marlins infielder Wes Helms and others.
Gerrit Cole wasn’t the best pitcher in the country this year. He wasn’t even the best pitcher on his team (that distinction belongs to third overall selection Trevor Bauer). But the Pirates selected Cole with the first overall pick in spite of his good-but-not-great numbers because they see him as a future impact starter in the Major Leagues.
"If we were focused on taking the player who performed the best this year, there might have been other options," GM Neal Huntington said on a conference call after selecting Cole. "Our focus is selecting the player that we believe is going to be the best for the organization two, four, six, eight, ten years from now.”
Cole posted a 3.31 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 for UCLA last year. Those numbers are good and Cole insists he’s capable of more.
“Obviously it wasn’t up to my standards, but you try not to think about it,” he said. “I didn’t really let it get to me or affect me very much. I just control what I can control and let the teams do the evaluation.”
The Pirates' top amateur talent evaluator, scouting director Greg Smith, was impressed with the way the right-hander battled through tough spots this season, so Pittsburgh selected a pitcher with its top pick for the second consecutive season (the Pirates selected high schooler Jameson Taillon last year). Smith and Huntington considered taking high school and college position players first overall before deciding that they wanted more pitching.
“You can never have too much of it. It’s the most valuable commodity in our game,” Huntington said. “We haven’t consciously gone out to stockpile arms. We play by the integrity of the [draft] board.”
Of course, Cole isn’t Pirates property just yet. The 20-year-old Scott Boras client already turned down first round money once, when he went to UCLA instead of signing with the Yankees in 2008. No first overall pick is ever cheap, but Huntington says he expects to work out a deal by the August 15th signing deadline.
“Signability is an issue with every player that comes off the board in the first round,” he said. “We’re going to work hard. We’re going to fight to find a common ground that makes sense for both sides.”
The Pirates may be headed for a 19th consecutive losing season in 2011, but if their assessment of Gerrit Cole is accurate, they're a little closer to becoming a winner again. They have officially selected the UCLA right-hander with the first pick of the amateur draft.
Cole stands 6'4" and doesn't turn 21 until the fall. He throws a slider and change-up, plus a fastball that regularly reaches the mid 90s. His stuff didn’t translate into the statistical success you’d expect for a first overall pick (teammate Trevor Bauer posted more impressive numbers). Cole finished the season with a 3.31 ERA, 119 strikeouts and 24 walks in 114 1/3 innings – impressive numbers, but certainly not Strasburg-esque.
Cole has experience as a first rounder. The Yankees selected him out of high school in 2008. He declined to sign, even though he’s a Yankees fan who counts Roger Clemens and Mariano Rivera among his role models.
The Pirates have had the first overall pick three other times in their history. They selected Jeff King in 1986, Kris Benson in 1996 and Bryan Bullington in 2002. Scouting director Greg Smith and GM Neal Huntington also considered Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen and others with the top pick.
The Pirates have until August 15th of this year to sign Cole, who is represented by Scott Boras. The commissioner’s office recommended a $4MM signing bonus for last year’s top pick, which turned out to be Bryce Harper.
Photo courtesy UCLA athletics.
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.
The day of the First-Year Player Draft is finally upon us. Here's the latest news and rumors as tonight's event draws nearer …
- The Pirates, as has been speculated for several days, will take UCLA righty Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 overall pick, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
- The Orioles have long been linked to prep pitcher Dylan Bundy out of Oklahoma with the No. 4 pick, but they may be shifting focus to Archie Bradley, another prep pitcher, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com.
- Ed Barkowitz of Philly.com identifies TCU lefty Matt Purke as a possibility for the Phillies with their first pick, No. 39. Purke, who was a first-round pick of the Rangers in 2009 but didn't sign, has seen his stock tumble as a result of shoulder troubles.
- Because the Cardinals have only one pick on Day 1 of the draft and only two in the top 100, they're less likely to take risky players, writes Nathan Hart of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The Redbirds are tentatively planning to take a position player, though that is not definite.
- The Rangers are looking at Massachusetts prep righty Tyler Beede, writes Jamey Newberg of the Newberg Report, noting how difficult it can be to accurately predict draft picks.
- The Rockies are still on Utah first baseman C.J. Cron at No. 20, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter).
- It's never too late to draft a superstar, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo!, who runs down some of the best steals in draft history.
- The Dodgers worked out Trevor Gretzky, Wayne's son, and Ryan Garvey, Steve's son, on Sunday, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, though both players have committed to college.
- Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald has had a strange journey through the minors, which is why drafting two-sport stars is tricky, writes Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com. Ryan Hannable, also of WEEI.com, has tallied up the experts' projections for the Red Sox's draft picks.
- Owning the first overall pick in the draft does not guarantee future success, writes Rob Neyer of SBNation.com.
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.
The Pirates set an attendance record Saturday night, drawing 39,441 fans, a PNC Park high. Those in attendance saw the hometown Bucs beat the team atop the National League standings for a second straight game. With a win today, Pittsburgh would sweep the Phillies and reach .500. Let's check out the latest Pirates-related links….
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider link) says "the betting is very heavy" the Pirates will take Gerrit Cole with the first overall pick in tomorrow's draft, as Dejan Kovacevic reported yesterday. If they decide to go another direction though, there are plenty of viable options, writes Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly tells Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the team is once again prepared to spend big on the draft, as they have in recent years. Coonelly points out that with potential changes to baseball's collective bargaining agreement looming, draftees may be more inclined to sign this year rather than take their chances under a new system next year.
- Within the same piece, Coonelly says it's too early to know whether the Pirates will be buyers or sellers at this July's trade deadline: "If we're in the hunt and the club has needs, we have the financial flexibility to look for pieces to help the club win this year."
Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hears that the Pirates will select UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole with the first overall pick in Monday's amateur draft (subs. req'd). ESPN's Buster Olney says (on Twitter) that other teams anticipate the Mariners will select a position player with the second overall pick. Based on recent rumors, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon would seem likely.
A few weeks ago we heard that Pittsburgh was considering a handful of players for that top pick, but they're going with Cole because he represents their best chance to land truly elite starting pitching, as Kovacevic notes. Tim Dierkes introduced us to Cole earlier this week, a hard-throwing righty that spurned the Yankees as the 28th overall pick out of high school in 2008. Ben Nicholson-Smith spoke to Cole back in March.
This is the fourth time the Pirates have held the first overall pick. They selected college shortstop Jeff King in 1986, and college righties Kris Benson and Bryan Bullington in 1996 and 2002, respectively.