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As Mike Rizzo recently suggested, for baseball's general managers and scouting directors, the Super Bowl isn't eight months away — it's tomorrow. Here are a few more links in anticipation of the 2010 draft….
- Zack Cox is looking for "[Pedro] Alvarez money" which could cause him to slip in the draft, multiple sources tell Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (via Twitter). Alvarez, taken second overall by the Pirates in 2008, signed a four-year deal worth $6.355MM. On top of that, Cox is said to be seeking a major league deal, tweets ESPN's Keith Law.
- The Nats will take Bryce Harper No. 1, barring any drastic changes, GM Mike Rizzo told MASN's Debbi Taylor. If they do take Harper, Washington will move him to the outfield, according to a baseball source who spoke to Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
- Despite not having a first round pick, the Tigers are confident they can find talent in the later rounds, writes MLive.com's Steve Kornacki.
- The Pirates have narrowed their choices to include Manny Machado, Jameson Taillon, or a college pitcher, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
- Don't be surprised to see the White Sox draft a college pitcher with the 13th pick, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson spoke with Rizzo, who once again said that they know who they'll select first overall. Rizzo says the player doesn't know he'll be selected, though it's tough to see them passing up consensus top pick Bryce Harper. Rizzo says the second through fifteenth rounds will determine the strength of a draft, and the Nats are "fired up" about it.
- The latest updates from Fanhouse's Frankie Piliere include the Mets' and Yankees' first-round targets, and more details on the deal the Royals are working toward with Yasmani Grandal. Industry sources tell Piliere it'll be worth "upwards of" $3MM.
- The Rangers own four of the top 50 picks in the draft, but they'll be on a budget, says Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- With the sixth pick, the Diamondbacks could be the wild card of the draft, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law (Insider-only). Their top two choices appear to be Barrett Loux and Chris Sale, who MLBTR's Mike Axisa profiled last week.
- A potential first-round pick could have already been a Phillie, writes Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Karen Smith of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review conducts a brief Q&A with Pirates director of scouting Greg Smith.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: 2010 Amateur Draft | Arizona Diamondbacks | Barret Loux | Bryce Harper | Chicago White Sox | Chris Sale | Detroit Tigers | Jameson Taillon | Kansas City Royals | Manny Machado | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Texas Rangers | Yasmani Grandal | Zack Cox
Some more links in anticipation of Monday's draft…
- The Scott Boras camp envisions Bryce Harper as a five-tool corner outfielder not unlike Larry Walker, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Harper's teammates told Crasnick that they enjoy playing with the presumptive first overall pick because he's a hard worker.
- EPSN.com's Keith Law has the Pirates selecting Jameson Taillon, not Manny Machado, in his latest mock draft.
- Law hears that the Royals would love to see Machado to fall to them.
- The Royals and Reds are leaning towards college players.
- The Blue Jays and A's are eyeing Michael Choice, Christian Colon and Justin O'Conner, according to Law.
- Nats GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that the draft is his "Super Bowl."
Assorted links about baseball's most popular 17-year-old, Bryce Harper…
- Harper tops Keith Law's updated list of the top 100 prospects in this year's draft (ESPN insider link). Manny Machado, Jameson Taillon and Drew Pomeranz aren't far behind.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo explains that few hitters after Harper are considered safe bets this year.
- Harper's advisor Scott Boras told SI's Tom Verducci, "No baseball person in his right mind will have the guy catch." Baseball America's Jim Callis sees the Nationals moving Harper to a corner outfield position, allowing him to reach the Majors in September of 2012 at the earliest. Also in that piece, Callis compares Pomeranz to other recent college lefties.
- Yahoo's Tim Brown wonders what it's like to be Harper.
- Joe Posnanski cautions that unlike Stephen Strasburg, Harper is a long way from being big-league ready. A lot can go wrong in that time.
Major League Baseball's amateur draft will be held from June 7th-9th, so we're going to introduce you to some of the top players available between now and then.
The Texas flamethrower demographic is one of the most exciting the amateur draft has to offer, listing Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett and many, many others among it's alumni. This year's addition to that club is 6-foot-7, 230 lb. righthander Jameson Taillon from The Woodlands HS, the same school that produced Blue Jays' prospect Kyle Drabek.
Baseball America ranked Taillon as the second best prospect in the draft class behind Bryce Harper, while ESPN's Keith Law had him third (sub. req'd for both). MLB.com's Draft Report indicates that his fastball sits in the 94-99 mph range and features "explosive movement." He also backs it up with a pair of good breaking balls. Law says that Taillon tends to rush through his delivery, which results in high school hitters squaring up his pitches more than they should be able to against a guy throwing that hard. The MLB.com link features video.
No high school righty has ever been selected first overall, and that trend will continue in 2010 thanks to Harper's presence. Taillon is the best pitcher in the draft, though he's maxed out physically and doesn't offer the same potential for growth as a typical high schooler. Jim Callis of Baseball America projected the Orioles to select Taillon third overall in his latest mock draft.
Links for Friday, as the streaking Mets visit the Brewers…
- Tom Verducci of SI.com asked agent Scott Boras how he'd re-structure the draft and heard some interesting answers. Boras would limit the number of high schoolers selected.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America has the Pirates taking Manny Machado second overall and the Orioles taking Jameson Taillon third in his latest mock draft.
- If Pat Burrell signs a minor league deal with the Giants, he would be able to opt out after about two weeks, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- Indians GM Mark Shapiro tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that he isn't worried about losing Shin-Soo Choo, though Choo may have to serve in the South Korean military.
- Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald wonders how a Carlos Quentin for Kosuke Fukudome swap would work out for Chicago's two teams.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro hears that no team contacted the Marlins about a Hanley Ramirez trade after the shortstop's run-in with manager Fredi Gonzalez (Twitter link).
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic says the D'Backs appear to be leaning towards pitching with their sixth overall pick in the upcoming draft.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney has heard that Ozzie Guillen and White Sox GM Kenny Williams do not have a good relationship at this point.
- GM Alex Anthopoulos explains to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star that the Blue Jays might consider adding pieces later in the summer, depending on the cost.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: 2010 Amateur Draft | Arizona Diamondbacks | Carlos Quentin | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cleveland Indians | Hanley Ramirez | Jameson Taillon | Kosuke Fukudome | Manny Machado | Miami Marlins | Pat Burrell | San Francisco Giants | Shin-Soo Choo | Toronto Blue Jays
Some Thursday notes from around the majors…
- Aroldis Chapman recorded seven strikeouts while allowing three hits and a walk over five shutout innings for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate in Louisville tonight, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Chapman is in the midst of a 10 2/3 inning scoreless streak.
- Fangraphs' Jack Moore looks at Alex Gordon's ongoing demolition of Triple-A pitching and says "there’s no excuse if he’s not back in Kansas City by June."
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that "many people believe" the Yankees will designate Randy Winn for assignment when Curtis Granderson returns from the DL. Feinsand believes the Yanks should keep Winn and instead send Kevin Russo back to the minors.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports (via Twitter) that the Brewers have signed right-hander Eduardo Morlan to a minor-league deal. The Brewers selected Morlan from Tampa Bay in the 2008 Rule 5 draft but he was designated for assignment and returned to the Rays during spring training of that year. The Rays just released Morlan two days ago.
- ESPN's Insider Rumors section (subscription required) speculates that Rickie Weeks could be a trade candidate if Milwaukee doesn't want to pay his likely arbitration raise in the winter. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explored the Brewers' trade options last week, and noted that Weekes' arbitration salary bump might also cause teams to shy away from acquiring him.
- John Schuerholz chatted on the air with Sirius XM Radio's Jim Bowden today. Bowden tweeted that Schuerholz feels the Braves have enough pop in their lineup and don't "need to make a Fred McGriff type trade." The Crime Dog was acquired by Atlanta in July 1993 for Donnie Elliott, Vince Moore and Melvin Nieves — don't you always need to make a deal like that?
- Bowden also had Baltimore president Andy MacPhail on his show, and speculates (via Twitter) that the O's will look to draft Jameson Taillon based on MacPhail's description of his club's wants. Bowden also tweeted that MacPhail didn't offer an endorsement of manager Dave Trembley, and instead just noted that it's still early in the season.
- Omar Minaya said the Mets might look to trade for a starter later in the summer, reports Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Fanhouse's Ed Price explains how Philadelphia's unheralded signings of Jose Contreras and Danys Baez have bailed out their bullpen over the first two months of the season.
- Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com answers Cleveland-related fan questions in a mailbag about such topics as when Michael Brantley will return to the majors, the recent release of Scott Lewis, and how the Tribe passed on Jason Heyward in the 2007 amateur draft.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: 2010 Amateur Draft | Alex Gordon | Aroldis Chapman | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Danys Baez | Jameson Taillon | Jose Contreras | Kansas City Royals | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Randy Winn | Rickie Weeks | Transactions
Teams called about Hanley Ramirez after this week's drama, but the Marlins informed them that they have no interest in dealing their superstar, writes ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. The Marlins will hold onto Hanley, at least until their new ballpark opens in 2012. Here are the rest of Stark's rumors:
- Teams have expressed interest in some Royals, but the Royals have told them to call back in a month. Teams are hearing that Alex Gordon and Joakim Soria are not available. Jose Guillen would be easier to obtain than those two, but Stark hasn't heard of a single team with interest.
- Ned Yost would have been a candidate to replace Bobby Cox in Atlanta after the season, had he not taken over in Kansas City. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez could also manage the Braves next year, in the opinion of one person close to the team.
- Astros GM Ed Wade insists that he wants to win now, but says he'll "pay attention to any opportunity" that makes the team better if the 14-26 Astros fall further out of contention. In other words, the Astros could be sellers if they don't win soon.
- Rival clubs say they don't expect the Rays to trade for a reliever just because J.P. Howell is out for an extended period of time. One executive thinks the Rays would love to add a couple of power arms to their 'pen eventually.
- Executives disagree on Pat Burrell's future. One exec says Burrell could fit in Seattle and another one doesn't see any good fits for the free agent.
- The Phillies have had discussions with Pedro Martinez, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged. There's mutual interest in a deal and the sides continue communicating.
- One official says top amateur pitcher Jameson Taillon is "way overpriced."
- Two of Stark's sources are uneasy with MLB's attempt to hurry along the Rangers' sale.
The Nationals are considering 'a handful' of players in preparation for the draft, GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Naturally Bryce Harper is one of the prospects the Nationals are watching, but they aren't committed to taking him.
"I wouldn't say we are leaning toward anybody." Rizzo said. "We are leaning toward a handful of people."
A baseball source told Ladson that the Nationals are also considering pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Jameson Taillon and shortstop Manny Machado. Some have questioned Harper's character, but Rizzo made it clear that he doesn't share those doubts.
"We have no problem with Bryce Harper's character," Rizzo said.
Links for Wednesday, as Ty Wigginton continues his assault on the American League…
- Milton Bradley left the Mariners in the middle of last night's game, reports ESPN's Mike Salk. The distractions become difficult to tolerate when he's hitting .214/.313/.371. GM Jack Zduriencik says Bradley asked the organization for help following last night's incident and will sit out for a few days while he works out personal "issues," according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.
- Bradley, for his part, texted Peter Gammons (Twitter link) to say: "Any reports I said I'm packing up and leaving are 100% fabricated."
- The Cardinals aren't sure yet whether Aaron Miles will work his way up to the bigs, writes Andy Jasner at MLB.com. The team is evaluating Miles' progress after signing him to a minor league deal last week.
- Baseball fans are mourning the loss of Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell, who was 92. A public viewing will take place Thursday night at Comerica Park.
- Barry Zito's 2014 option for $18MM vests if he starts racking up 200 inning seasons, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Even if it remains a club option, the Giants face a hefty $7MM buyout.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis says Texas high school righty Jameson Taillon is the consensus #2 in the June draft. Will the Pirates spring for him? Will the Orioles have a shot at #3?
Lots of rainouts in Florida, so here are some links to get you through the day…
- Jayson Stark takes a look at pitching phenoms not named Stephen Strasburg. Also featured: Strasburg.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert looks back at the trade that sent Jose Valverde to Houston and says the D'Backs now look like winners for obtaining Chad Qualls, Juan Gutierrez and Chris Burke.
- Rickie Weeks told Colin Fly of the AP that he'll miss former teammate J.J. Hardy, who was traded for Carlos Gomez this winter (link via the Miami Herald).
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo profiles highly-touted high schooler Jameson Taillon, from his academic background to his hobbies, to his upper-90s fastball. Taillon will likely be a top pick in this year's draft.
- Top Cubs prospect Starlin Castro will start the season in Triple A no matter how good he looks in Spring Training, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail repeated to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun that the Orioles will consider other options in case Brian Roberts isn't going to be ready on Opening Day.
- In case you're wondering, Jermaine Dye is the only remaining free agent who qualified for the batting title last year.
- Cubs manager Lou Piniella feels healthy going into the last year of his contract, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Team president Crane Kenney expects to have an "interesting conversation" with Piniella after the season.
- The Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League signed Toshihisa Nishi, according to this Sanspo report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter).
- Jason Bay says he feels more comfortable than before, now that he has a no-trade clause in his contract, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
- Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times can't think of a Dodger to successfully make a comeback like the one Eric Gagne is attempting.
- A former GM tells Baseball America that teams didn't worry about losing players out of minor league options in the past. Check out MLBTR's list of players out of minor league options here and go to the Baseball America article for Matt Eddy's explanation of options and why they matter.
- Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post suspects that the Nationals may not draft Bryce Harper with the first overall pick in this year's draft.