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In one of his latest pieces, Grantland’s Jonah Keri breaks down the historic injury woes that have ravaged the Rangers’ roster this season. Keri points to some research done by Jeff Zimmerman of Fangraphs that had pegged the Padres as the most injury-prone team from 2010-13, noting that in San Diego’s worst season, their players spent a total of 1221 days on the DL. The 2014 Rangers, Keri writes, are on pace for an unfathomable 1715 days on the DL. To compound matters, they’ve lost a number of key contributors for the entire season, including Prince Fielder, Matt Harrison and Martin Perez, while No. 2 starter Derek Holland has yet to pitch.
Here are some more links pertaining to what could be baseball’s unluckiest team in 2014…
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reminds readers of a potentially dangerous clause for the Rangers in Darvish’s contract: if Darvish wins a Cy Young Award at any point in 2012-16 and finishes in 2nd-4th place in another of those seasons, the final year of his contract becomes a player option. Darvish finished second in last year’s voting, meaning that if he wins the Cy Young Award in any of the next four years, he can opt out of his deal one year early. As Grant notes, the team’s short-term gains could result in some long-term damage. Darvish fired his first career shutout last night to drop his ERA to 2.11.
- In a second Grantland piece, Ben Lindbergh looks at the unparalleled career of Rangers prospect Joey Gallo, who has polarized scouts with his 80-grade power and his alarming propensity for swinging and missing. As Lindberg notes, the term “unique” is used perhaps too liberally when discussing players in a game with a history as long as baseball’s, but Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system can find virtually no player with a strong degree of similarity to Gallo. Lindbergh spoke with Gallo and many of his coaches and mentors — including Jason Giambi — in an examination of adjustments to his approach this season. Gallo was recently promoted to Double-A and has received very positive reviews for his improved approach and mechanics this season.
- Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest shares a brief video of Rangers first-rounder Luis Ortiz stating that the opportunity to be drafted by Texas “means the world” to him, and he placed an emphasis on signing early to begin his pro career as quickly as possible.
WEDNESDAY: The Rangers announced that they have officially signed Ortiz. Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest tweets that Ortiz’s bonus is $1.75MM, which is very slightly below the $1.76MM slot value.
MONDAY: The Rangers have reached agreement on an approximately $1.76MM bonus with first-round choice Luis Ortiz, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Ortiz is scheduled to finalize his deal and take a physical in the next two days.
That figure is the slot value for the 30th overall choice, where Ortiz was taken. Grant adds that the team has also reached agreement for an unreported sum with third-round pick Josh Morgan (who came with a $550.1K slot).
Ortiz, a high school righty out of California, came in as MLB.com’s 24th best draft-eligible prospect while landing at 28 on Baseball America’s list. But Keith Law of ESPN.com saw things rather differently, placing Ortiz at tenth in his final rating. Law explains that Ortiz had returned well from an early-season forearm strain and could be a nice get for a team (like Texas) at the back of the first round.
The best news for the Rangers is that they appear set to draw the high-upside righty away from Fresno State without borrowing against the team’s overall pool. Texas agreed to an over-slot deal earlier today with second choice (59th overall) Ti’quan Forbes and did the same recently with fourth-rounder Brett Martin. The Rangers’ total available pool, assuming it inks all its picks from the first ten rounds, is $4.82MM.
The Rangers have agreed to sign third-round choice Josh Morgan to an above-slot $800K bonus, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter). Even Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported on Monday that the sides were in agreement for an unknown amount.
Morgan’s bonus will result in just under a $250K overage for Texas, as the 95th overall slot with which he was taken came with a $550.1K allotment. That’s what it took to lure him away from UCLA, where he had been slated to enroll this fall.
The California high school shortstop was rated as high as the 63rd-best player available (by Baseball America). As BA explains, Morgan is an all-around performer who is most noted for his outstanding hands up the middle. The biggest questions surround his bat, which figures to be average at best, and whether or not he can avoid a move to second base.
Profar, 21, entered last season as the game’s consensus top overall prospect. He scuffled somewhat in his first sustained MLB action, hitting only .234/.308/.336 in 324 plate appearances, but was nevertheless expected to take the everyday job at second base after the Rangers dealt away Ian Kinsler. But ongoing right shoulder issues, including a recent setback, have conspired to keep Profar off the field in 2014.
Profar entered this season with 167 days of MLB service. Since he will accrue a full year of service time on the DL this year, Profar is almost certain to reach Super Two eligibility in 2016, provided he stays on the active roster for all of next season.
Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the latest moves at the top of the post…
- Veteran Brett Tomko has found a new home with the Rockies on a minor league deal, reports Robert Murray of Sports Rumor Alert. Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter link) also cites a source saying that the 41-year-old righty is headed to Colorado Springs. Tomko, who was recently set loose by the Royals, last threw in the bigs in 2011 with the Rangers. He owns a 4.65 ERA over 1,816 career innings with ten clubs, much of them as a starter.
- Pitcher Brian Burres has also signed a minor league deal with the Rockies and will join their Triple-A affiliate, reports Mike Ashmore of MyCentralJersey.com (via Twitter). MLBTR reported back in May that Burres, most recently of the independent league Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, was drawing interest. The 33-year-old owns a 5.75 ERA through 358 1/3 career MLB frames.
- Alfredo Aceves has accepted his outright assignment to Triple- A rather than electing free agency, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Aceves was designated for assignment last week and outrighted to Triple-A on Sunday.
- The Mariners moved southpaw James Paxton to the 60-day disabled list in order to open a 40-man roster spot for Ji-Man Choi, the team announced. Paxton has already spent more than 60 days on the DL while recovering from shoulder inflammation. Choi will return to Double-A action after serving a 50-game PED suspension.
- The Mets selected the contract of catcher Taylor Teagarden on Sunday, the team announced. Teagarden will replaced the demoted Travis d’Arnaud on New York’s 25-man roster. For making the Major League roster, Teagarden will earn $725K, as per the minor league deal he signed with the Mets in January. The 30-year-old Teagarden posted a .950 OPS in 127 PA at Triple-A Las Vegas, a notoriously hitter-friendly park.
- The Angels released outfielder Chevy Clarke, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports. Clarke was picked in the first round (30th overall) of the 2010 draft as a high schooler, but he has yet to play above the high-A level, hitting .219/.306/.337 with 23 home runs over 1542 career PA.
- Also from Eddy, the Diamondbacks released right-hander Eric Smith. Originally taken by Arizona in the second round of the 2009 draft, Smith posted a 5.10 ERA over 429 minor league innings (65 starts, 77 relief appearances). Smith was hit with a 50-game suspension last season for taking a drug of abuse, his second such violation.
- The Rangers released right-hander Chris Schwinden last week, as announced by the team’s Triple-A affiliate (via Twitter). Schwinden was hit hard in three starts for Round Rock, posting an 11.25 ERA over 12 innings. The 27-year-old pitched 29 2/3 innings for the Mets in 2011-12 and has pitched for five different organizations (plus an independent league team ) since the start of the 2012 season.
The Rangers have agreed to terms with second-round selection Ti’Quan Forbes on an over-slot deal that will pay the high school shortstop $1.2MM, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (Twitter link). That’s $242,100 north of the $957,900 slot value of the No. 59 pick in the draft.
ESPN’s Keith Law ranked Forbes, who had been committed to Mississippi, 41st among draft prospects. Baseball America pegged him as the 46th overall prospect in this year’s draft, while Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com ranked Forbes 50th. Forbes received some first-round consideration in mock drafts, with Law projecting him to go 25th to the A’s in the final version of his mock.
Baseball America calls Forbes a “projectable player scouts can dream on,” noting that “everything about his game is based on projection.” A three-sport athlete, Forbes draws praise for his ability to hit the ball to all fields, strong wrists and plus bat speed (Law). MLB.com notes that he’s an above-average runner that can cover ground at short but may have to move off the position. All three outlets suggested that a move to third base could be in the offing, though it sounds like there’s enough potential in his bat for it to play at the hot corner as well.
Here are today’s notable draft news and signings:
- The Royals have agreed to terms with third-round pick Erik Skoglund, who will get the bonus pool amount of $576K, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Skoglund is a projectable lefty and a junior out of Central Florida.
- The Rays have signed their sixth- through ninth-round draft choices, the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin tweets. Sixth-rounder Mac James, a catcher from Oklaholma, is a junior, but the other three players (RHP Mike Franco of Florida International, 3B Daniel Miles of Tennessee Tech, and RHP Chris Pike of Oklahoma City University) are all seniors, so the Rays will likely save money against their bonus pool with those picks.
- The Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with 12th-round pick Holden Helmink, a righty from a Texas junior college, on a deal worth $100K, Cotillo tweets. $100K is the maximum a team can pay a player drafted after the tenth round without it counting against the team’s bonus pool.
- The Dodgers have agreed to terms with fifth-rounder Jared Walker, a lefty-hitting third baseman from a Georgia high school, on a deal for the bonus pool value of $297K, Cotillo tweets. Walker was committed to Kennesaw State.
- The Rangers have signed sixth-round pick Jose Trevino, Trevino himself tweets. Texas selected the Oral Roberts junior third baseman at No. 186 overall. The bonus pool value of that pick is about $229K.
- The Rockies have agreed to terms with sixth-rounder Max George, Neil Devlin of the Denver Post tweets. The 5-foot-9 shortstop is a local product, hailing from Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora. There was no immediate word on George’s bonus, but the pool value of the pick is about $259K.
- The Blue Jays have announced the first signings of their 2014 draft class: prep catcher Matt Morgan (4th round) and Florida right-hander Justin Shafer (8th round). No terms were released, but the slot value (per Baseball America) for the two picks are $458K and $159.9K, respectively.
- Right-hander J.B. Bukauskas tweeted he will honor his commitment to the University of North Carolina and not sign with the Diamondbacks. Bukauskas, rated #33 by Baseball America and #38 by MLB.com, lasted until the 20th round (#600 overall) after asking teams last month not to draft him because he wanted to attend UNC.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
The Yankees‘ offense may be struggling, but former catcher Jorge Posada says that he wouldn’t be much help if he suddenly came out of retirement. “I can’t play that game anymore,” Posada told Mitch Abramson of the Daily News at last night’s Miguel Cotto-Sergio Martinez fight at Madison Square Garden. “It’s too fast. They’re throwing too hard. I’m happy. I think my decision was great. I couldn’t play that game anymore. It’s a tough sport.” More from around baseball:
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle wonders if the A’s might look to add more punch at second base. Eric Sogard, Nick Punto, and Alberto Callaspo haven’t been doing much offensively so far, but a premium second baseman would require a substantial return. The A’s won’t part with Addison Russell and minor league right-hander Raul Alcantara is hurt.
- The Rangers have lost their second first baseman to the disabled list with the news Mitch Moreland will undergo left ankle reconstruction and is expected to miss three months. In the wake of Kendrys Morales‘ signing with the Twins, ESPNDallas.com’s Richard Durrett examines the Rangers’ in-house options to replace Moreland.
- Paul Konerko was caught off-guard when he was traded by the Dodgers on the Fourth of July 16 years ago, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. “I was surprised not because I got traded, but because of the timing of the trade,” said Konerko, who was dealt to the Reds for closer Jeff Shaw. “I don’t think it really mattered what they got at that point. It didn’t seem like they were going to win.” The Dodgers, who finished third in 1998, were 12 1/2 games out of first place and eight games behind in the Wild Card race at the time of the deal. The Reds flipped Konerko to the White Sox seven months later for outfielder Mike Cameron and the rest is history for the South Siders.
- ESPN’s Keith Law breaks down the draft for each American League club (through Round Ten) in an Insider-only piece (subscription required).
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at the impact that hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has had on the Blue Jays thus far in 2014. Toronto used to be a swing-for-the-fences team, but even guys like Jose Bautista are hitting to all fields. With a new, more patient approach at the plate, Toronto is leading the league in runs, homers, and extra base hits. Here’s more from today’s column..
- A Marlins official told Cafardo there’s no reason they won’t add a player through a trade. The National League East seems wide open, and they believe that they can find their way to the playoffs, even without the services of Jose Fernandez. Miami has lots of pieces to offer, so they shouldn’t have trouble finding a match over the next couple of months.
- Phillies veteran A.J. Burnett is some contending teams are looking at, but as one AL scout tells Cafardo, “if he doesn’t pitch better he’ll be another guy the Phillies are stuck with. When he’s the A.J. we saw earlier in the year or last year, he’s a guy you want out there in a tough situation. Right now, you wouldn’t touch him.” In his last six starts he has a 7.25 ERA, after posting a 2.06 ERA in his first seven.
- The Rays will have to get at least three top players for left-hander David Price and if they don’t get that offer this summer, they’ll probably pull back and wait until the offseason. Price, of course, still has great stuff, but his velocity is down, which is always a red flag. There’s also no guarantee that he’ll re-sign with the team that trades for him, which could keep the Rays from getting the haul they want.
- Rockies veteran Michael Cuddyer didn’t appear to be one of the possibly available outfielders at the deadline a month ago, but he could be if Colorado’s slide continues. The 35-year-old is a great clubhouse presence and would draw trade interest along with Drew Stubbs. Cafardo mentions the Red Sox as a club that could have interest in Stubbs as they seek an outfielder with power.
- The Yankees, Rangers, Angels, Mariners, and Tigers (if they lose Max Scherzer) are among the teams who will line up if Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester hits the open market. On their end, Boston must decide whether to go beyond a fifth year because the other teams surely will.
- The A’s nearly traded right-hander Jim Johnson to the Marlins last week, so, they’re clearly willing to move him. Cafardo mentions the Orioles, Yankees, and Tigers as clubs that could have interest, but his rocky start and onerous contract make him a gamble.
Here’s a roundup of today’s key news regarding signings from the draft.
- The Twins have agreed to a slightly below-slot bonus with 9th rounder Max Murphy, tweets Cotillo. The Bradley outfielder will get $130K, just over $20K below his slot amount.
- A few more drafted players have agreed to terms with the Royals, per Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link), though bonus amounts have not yet been reported. High school shortstop Dawon Burt (fourth round; $420K slot) and Texas A&M righty Corey Ray (fifth round; $314K slot) are both in agreement, joining sixth-rounder Logan Moon (see below).
- The Rangers have agreed to terms with fourth-rounder Brett Martin on a $475K deal, MLB.com’s Jim Callis tweets. The deal comes in $67K above the $408K bonus pool value of the pick. The lefty Martin hails from a Tennessee junior college.
- The Rangers have also agreed to terms with tenth-rounder and Abilene Christian catcher Seth Spivey for $10K, tweets MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo. The signing would allow the Rangers to save about $128K against their bonus pool, which would appear to help them balance their budget after the Martin signing is complete.
- The Diamondbacks have signed third-rounder Matt Railey, the outfielder himself tweets. Railey, a Florida high-schooler, had a commitment to Florida State. There is no immediate word on his bonus, but the pool value of the pick is $603K.
- The Cubs have agreed to terms with third-rounder and Virginia Tech catcher Mark Zagunis for $615K, Cotillo tweets. The deal saves the Cubs about $100K against the draft pool value of the pick.
- The Astros have agreed to terms with eighth-rounder Bobby Boyd, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports. There is no immediate word on a bonus for the junior outfielder from West Virginia University, but pool value for that pick is around $163K. McTaggart also reports that the Astros have agreed to terms with tenth-rounder Jay Gause, a junior pitcher from Faulkner University. The pool value for Gause’s pick is $142K.
- Georgia high school lefty Mac Marshall plans to head to LSU rather than going pro, the pitcher himself tweets. MLB.com had ranked Marshall the No. 66 prospect in the draft, but he was not taken until the 21st round by Houston, surely due in large part to teams’ awareness of his reluctance to sign.
- The Reds have agreed to terms with fifth-rounder Tejay Antone, a tall righty from a Texas community college, at the bonus-pool figure of $308K, Cotillo tweets. Antone had planned to head to Auburn next year if he didn’t end up signing.
- The Royals have agreed to terms with sixth-round pick Logan Moon, Cotillo tweets. The senior outfielder from Missouri Southern will get less than the bonus pool value of about $235K.