Kyle Skipworth Rumors
After Brian Sabean traded Matt Williams to the Indians for a package that included eventual San Francisco cornerstone Jeff Kent, the public reaction against the newly minted Giants general manager was so strong that he felt compelled to declare: “I’m not an idiot.” Sixteen years later, with two World Championships under Sabean’s belt, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes that he “has proven that, emphatically.” Sabean still abides by the credo he adopted while working for George Steinbrenner: “keep your head down and do your job.” Here are some notes on teams hoping to dethrone Mr. Sabean’s Giants in 2013:
- Having agreed yesterday to a minor league contract with the Pirates, 41-year-old reliever Jose Contreras reported to camp quickly with plans to take it slow, says Tom Singer of MLB.com. Still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and having just returned from his first visit to his native Cuba since defecting over a decade ago, Contreras said that the Pirates instructed him “to take my time and recover at my own rate.” Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington, for whom the signing was a “low-risk” gambit to bolster the club’s bullpen, stated that Contreras would “rehab throughout Spring Training” and that the team would “be patient with him and get him back as quickly as his body allows.”
- The Indians have set up a three-way competition for the last spot in the team’s starting rotation, according to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. Scott Kazmir and Carlos Carrasco, both of whom are attempting comebacks, will compete with recently-acquired prospect Trevor Bauer. All three pitchers appeared in today’s Cactus League game. While MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk maintains that Kyle Lohse could fit nicely in the Tribe's rotation, the team seems likely to utilize one of the options it already has on hand.
- With Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis likely out for more than six weeks with a fractured collarbone, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro discusses the club’s search for a new second backstop behind presumed starter Rob Brantly. In addition to considering internal options like Kyle Skipworth, “the club is combing through other rosters, exploring possible trade options and trying to figure out which teams have a surplus.”
- Other than Sabean, only one current GM has overseen multiple championship clubs: the Yankees’ Brian Cashman. Cashman revealed today that, contrary to his previously stated belief, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli is in fact out of options, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. MLBTR has labeled Cervelli as out of options from the start; check out our full list of players here. Of the three primary catchers competing to break camp with the Yankees, then, only Austin Romine can still be optioned. (Chris Stewart, like Cervelli, has had his options exhausted.) When asked to comment on the catching situation, Cashman wryly reported: “We’ve got two guys out of options and one guy with an option. I think the two guys are winning.”
- Of more immediate concern to Cashman and the Yankees, of course, is the injury to outfielder Curtis Granderson. In addition to the analysis of MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, other commentators have begun to weigh in. Bill Madden of The New York Daily News explores the options for replacing Granderson and worries that the club could face a power shortage. MLB.com’s Richard Justice opines that Cashman should stick to his winning strategy of “being smart and efficient” and “not overreacting to every crisis.” For FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, on the other hand, the injury “exposed the Yankees’ flawed roster construction” and leaves the club’s 2013 postseason prospects in doubt.
Got a few draft items today, so let's put them into one post.
- According to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, the Marlins have signed top draft pick Kyle Skipworth to a $2.3MM bonus. There was never any doubt. Skipworth, a high school catcher, was chosen sixth overall. This video gives a brief look at the kid.
- Negotiations are dragging between the Nationals and Aaron Crow, disappointing GM Jim Bowden.
- No deal is imminent for the Royals and top pick Eric Hosmer.
Let's catch up with some more links.
- Jay Gibbons took my advice! He'll join the independent Atlantic League.
- Mark Shapiro is still holding out hope that the Indians can contend.
- The Marlins are close to signing Kyle Skipworth, the sixth overall pick.
- The Phillies released Steve Kline. Might be time to hang it up.
- MLB told teams not to contact Dayan Viciendo until his situation is resolved. The Reds may look into it after that.
- Peter Abraham ponders scenarios for the Yankees to acquire C.C. Sabathia.
The draft is just four hours away. We'll be live-blogging it here at MLBTR. Here are today's draft links.
- Baseball America's brand new top 30 projections.
- According to Keith Law, Mariners doctors gave the thumbs up on Tanner Scheppers and the team could take him at #20.
- Law says the Nationals seem to be debating between Kyle Skipworth and Aaron Crow at #9.
- Law adds that first baseman Yonder Alonso has an $8MM rumored asking price, which could cause him to drop. Alonso is roughly the 11th-best player in the draft, combining various expert rankings.
- Speaking of huge demands, Buster Posey's people are floating $12MM. Perhaps for that reason, the Rays will go with Tim Beckham.
- The Pirates seem a near-lock to take Pedro Alvarez at #2.
- Jonathan Mayo is "fairly certain" the Reds will take Gordon Beckham at #7.
- Nick Piecoro tosses out some possibilities for the D'Backs at #26.
- Tom Haudricourt has three names for the Brewers at #16.
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.
As you know, the A's have the 12th overall pick in the June draft. Jim Callis' always-informative Ask BA segment in the latest Baseball America print magazine (issue 0809) discusses some possibilities.
Callis suggests shortstop Gordon Beckham would make sense if available - he's likely to wind up somewhere in the infield long-term. Callis also rattles off a couple of catchers (Kyle Skipworth and Buster Posey), pitcher Christian Friedrich, and outfielder Aaron Hicks. Friedrich may be a consideration for the Giants at #5, however.