Texas Rangers Rumors
If you are looking for a unique way to occupy your evening, be sure to follow (or re-read) the Dodgers' Twitter feed as unparalleled announcer Vin Scully chats about his incredible memories and observations on today's game. (A sample: Scully says he had to be on his feet watching for foul balls at old Briggs Stadium -- better known as Tiger Stadium -- because "the booth was so close to home you could hear the hitter grunt.") Also worth reading are the following links looking ahead to the coming trade deadline period:
- The market for closers could focus on Glen Perkins and Steve Cishek if Jonathan Papelbon and Rafael Betancourt are unavailable, tweets MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons. Teams like the Tigers and Red Sox are potentially on the hunt for late-inning help, but Gammons says to expect a high price on Perkins and Cishek.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com took a look at Boston's closer situation today. GM Ben Cherington did not rule out the possibility of dealing for late-inning help, but also said that the club had internal options.
- Buyers should not expect Papelbon to be available, Gammons further tweets. He cites an unnamed GM as saying that the Phillies are unlikely to deal their closer or star pitcher Cliff Lee given "their pending TV deal."
- Potential buyers include the Giants, Orioles, Padres, Diamondbacks, and Reds, according to Baseball Prospectus. While the O's may join the Giants on the market for starting pitching, BP's Bret Sayre says the club should also be in on a second baseman to address its glaring issues there. Likewise, Cincinnati's shopping list is relatively clear: an outfielder to replace the injured Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey. BP further suggests that the Padres have many areas that could warrant an upgrade, while the Dbacks ought to look to add a "star" to compliment the emerging Paul Goldschmidt.
- While the Nationals were quiet at last year's deadline, ultimately acquiring backstop Kurt Suzuki in a post-deadline deal, MLB.com's Bill Ladson suggests that the team could be more active this season. Getting the injured Wilson Ramos and Bryce Harper back is the first order of business, but the Nats could look to add a veteran right-handed bench bat given the struggles of the demoted Tyler Moore. Ladson also wonders whether Washington could look to pick up a fifth starter to replace the inconsistent Dan Haren. But with Haren's salary and track record, Ladson says, the team is unlikely at this point to make such a move. (It is worth noting, too, that the Nats still have Chris Young working at Triple-A on an incentive-laden deal, though Young has struggled to a 7.88 ERA in seven starts.)
- Although the Rangers have struggled at the plate, ESPN.com's Richard Durrett says the team's first order of business should be to shop for starters at the deadline. With the young back of the rotation still looking for consistency, and Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison still major injury question marks, Durrett says the club could look at high-end arms like Cliff Lee. Durrett's colleague Todd Wills, on the other hand, writes (same link) that Texas should focus on finding a left fielder. He suggests that Andre Ethier, Josh Willingham, and Carlos Quentin are viable possibilities. With Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry failing to nail down their roles and Nelson Cruz still potentially a suspension target, says Wills, outfield depth could the the key down the stretch.
- The Padres' recent hot streak has made the team a bubble buyer, writes Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Sanders suggests that starting pitching is the most likely target, as GM Josh Byrnes has said. He says that arms like Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle are potentially available could be a nice fit in the NL West's larger ballparks. Alternatively, if the Pads turn into sellers, the team may be able to find takers for pitchers Eric Stults, Jason Marquis, Edinson Volquez, and Huston Street.
- Other bubble teams include the Dodgers, Giants, and Indians, writes ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required). Still in contention and with solid enough cores to remain there, Bowden says these clubs are in "reload" mode and gives an in-depth analysis of their trade deadline approach. Los Angeles could use improvements on the left side of the infield and back of the bullpen, and might also look to add rotation or pen depth. San Francisco, meanwhile, could (as noted above) look for rotation help or shop for an outfielder given Angel Pagan's injury. For Cleveland, Bowden says that the team should look to add "at least two more quality arms" while not selling away the team's future. Be sure to check out the link for further analysis and potential trade scenarios.
Here are today's notable signings from the second and third days of the amateur draft. Information on the assigned slot values is provided by Baseball America...
- The Rangers have signed tenth-rounder Cole Wiper, Fox Sports Southwest's Anthony Andro tweets. Wiper signed for a $700K bonus, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports, a far above-slot number that dwarfs the recommended bonus ($135.5K) for the 310th spot in the draft. Wiper was taken in the 14th round of the 2011 draft by the Blue Jays but he chose college instead, pitching at Oregon and missing the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery. Wiper, a right-hander, has only thrown 12 innings for Oregon this season.
- The Athletics have agreed to terms with third-rounder Ryon Healy and sixth-rounder Kyle Finnegan, the team announced on its Twitter feed. Terms weren't disclosed but Healy's draft position (100th overall) has a slot value of $515.6K and Finnegan's position (191st overall) has a $214.3K slot value. Healy, an Oregon first baseman, was rated as the draft's 86th-best prospect by Baseball America while ESPN's Keith Law ranked right-hander Finnegan as the 93rd-best member of the 2013 draft pool.
- The Brewers have signed fourth round pick Taylor Williams, Baseball America's Jim Callis tweets. Williams, a right-hander from Kent State, signed for a $400K bonus, slightly less than the recommended $417K bonus for the 122nd overall pick.
- The Orioles have agreed to terms with fourth-rounder Jonah Heim, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link). Heim signed for a $389.7K bonus, exactly matching the recommended slot value for the 129th pick. Heim, who is advised by Frye McCann Sports, is a switch-hitting high school catcher who had committed to Michigan State.
Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that the Rangers squeezed in one final signing before the 2012-13 international signing period ended, inking Dominican left-hander Francis Cespedes for a bonus of $750K. Cespedes' bonus will count against last year's $2.9MM bonus pool as opposed to this year's, as the agreement was in place prior to June 15.
Cespedes' signing is still contingent on Major League Baseball's investigation into his age and identity, according to Badler, who offers the following take on the 18-year-old left-hander:
"[Cespedes] has a lanky, long-armed frame at around 6-foot-4, 195 pounds with the physical projection to easily add at least 25 pounds and build on his low-90s fastball, with a curveball and a changeup rounding out his arenal."
International free agency is in a "closed" state until July 2. Badler reported back in April that the Rangers will have just over $1.9MM to spend in international free agency for the 2013-14 period, so signing Cespedes just under the wire is certainly significant for GM Jon Daniels and his staff, as his bonus represents nearly 40 percent of that pool.
Earl Webb's Major League record of 67 doubles in a season has stood since 1931 but Orioles phenom Manny Machado could be putting that mark in jeopardy. Machado now has 30 doubles through 68 Baltimore games after collecting a pair of two-baggers in Friday's 2-0 win over the Red Sox. Only five 21st century players have come within even 11 doubles of Webb's record, one of whom was Machado's teammate Brian Roberts, who hit 56 doubles in 2009.
Here's the latest from around the baseball world...
- Yadier Molina's value to the Cardinals is immeasurable, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler writes, and for a team that has been comfortable letting many key figures go in recent years, the Cards made a point to lock their catcher up to a five-year, $75MM extension in March 2012. "[Owner Bill DeWitt and I] talked about players who were coming up on free agency, and we'd ask how do you replace them. He and I always felt that [Molina] was the one where we had no answer," Cards GM John Mozeliak said. "It was imperative that we kept him."
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels is waiting to see how his team performs over the next few weeks before determining what possible upgrades are needed at the trade deadline, Daniels said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Fitzsimmons and Durrett Show (passed on by ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett). Daniels also noted that the club may keep Jurickson Profar on the Major League roster even after Ian Kinsler is back from the DL, and that Profar could get some outfield time if he is in fact sent back to Triple-A.
- ESPN Insider's Jim Bowden lists 20 pitchers he feels could be traded this summer.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer felt Kris Bryant was "the best player on the board" when Chicago had the second overall pick in the draft, though Hoyer tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that pitching "is an organizational weakness....I don’t think it affects our timing, but it does mean that pitching will be an emphasis in future drafts and any kind of trades we might make, and in free agency.”
- The Yankees' makeshift lineup has remained in contention but ratings on the YES Network are down 38% from last season, leading Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal to speculate if the Bombers may feel obligated to acquire star players in order to maximize fan and business interest.
- Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel's elbow injury could endanger his season, and since Dotel is 39, MLB.com's Jason Beck wonders if the veteran's career could also be threatened.
- Andre Ethier isn't letting trade speculation bother him since "it's nothing you can have a say about except to go out there and play hard," he tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Ethier could be expendable in the Dodgers outfield once Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp return from injury, given Yasiel Puig's emergence.
- Baseball America's staff checks in on the progress of the 2012 first round draft picks.
Here are Thursday's notable signings from Day 2 and Day 3 of the draft (all slot info courtesy of Baseball America) ...
- The Orioles have agreed to terms with Scottsdale Community College lefty Stephen Tarpley, the team's third-round choice, according to Baseball America's Jim Callis (via Twitter). Tarpley, who reportedly touches 95 with his fastball, was signed for just $500 under the recommended $525,500 bonus for the 98th overall choice.
- Third-round draft choice Brandon Dixon has signed with the Dodgers for the slot recommendation of $566,500, tweets Callis. The University of Arizona third baseman could become a corner outfielder, according to Callis, and is noted for his power potential.
- The Dodgers have signed fourth-round choice Cody Bellinger, a high-school first baseman, for $700k, tweets Callis. Los Angeles pried Bellinger away from the University of Oregon with the largest over-slot signing to date (by percentage), nearly doubling the recommended $409k bonus. Bellinger is being advised by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
- The Blue Jays have agreed to terms with their fourth round pick, left-handed high-schooler Evan Smith, according to Callis (on Twitter). Smith, who stands at 6'5", has reportedly touched 93 with his fastball. $96.1k
- Cody Dickson, a "projectable" left-hander out of Sam Houston State, will sign with the Pirates for $375k, Callis says on Twitter. The fourth-round pick's bonus falls $54,200 under the slot recommendation.
- The Reds have signed fourth-rounder Ben Lively for $350k, Callis tweets. The righty mixes four pitches, including a 90-93 MPH heater. His signing bonus comes in at a modest $17.9k under slot.
- The Rockies inked fifth-rounder Blake Shouse for $353,900, his exact slot allocation, according to a Callis tweet. Per Callis, the two-way player sits in the low-to-mid 90's with his fastball and also features a hard curve.
- Third round pick Patrick Murphy signed with the Blue Jays for $500K, Callis tweets. The Arizona high school right-hander missed the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In the past, he has displayed a 93 mph fastball and solid curveball. Murphy is advised by Jonathan Pridie of Sosnick Cobbe.
- The Yankees signed third-rounder Michael O'Neill for $501K, according to Callis (via Twitter). The Michigan outfielder is quick and could wind up in center field.
- Rangers fourth-round pick Isaiah Kiner-Falefa signed for $202K, per Callis (on Twitter). The Hawaiian high school shortstop is a solid defender with a contact-oriented approach. He signed for nearly $184K under slot.
- Catcher/right-hander Tanner Murphy, a fourth-round pick of the Braves, agreed to a $250K bonus to forego his commitment to Southern Illinois, Callis tweets. Murphy has power in his bat and a strong throwing arm behind the dish, and he's also been clocked at 92 mph on the mound. He signed for a healthy $125K below slot.
- The Angels have signed third-round pick Kenyan Middleton for a bonus of $450K, tweets Callis. Middleton is a two-sport athlete out of junior college in Oregon who touches 95 mph with his fastball and features a tight slider as well. He signed $91K under slot.
- The Rays have signed fifth-round selection Johnny Field for a bonus of $250K, Callis reports (on Twitter). Field, an outfielder out of the University of Arizona, will convert to second base and provides most of his value with his bat. He signed for nearly $45K under slot.
Here's a look at the latest notable draft signings from Day 2 and Day 3..
- The Mariners inked sixth-rounder Corey Simpson to an above-slot $400K deal (suggested value: $245K), Callis tweets. The Texas high school catcher/first baseman possesses massive power and a strong arm.
- The Rangers signed third-round right hander David Ledbetter, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Ledbetter's deal comes with a $350K bonus, less than the slot amount of about $521K, tweets Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com.
- Dodgers sixth-round pick Jacob Rhame agreed to a deal worth $300K, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). The right-hander, who boasts a solid sinker, got about $70K more than the suggested value for his slot, per BA's rundown.
- The Diamondbacks went well above slot to sign shortstop Jamie Westbrook, according to Callis (on Twitter). The fifth-rounder got $450K, more than the suggested $318K for his draft position.
- One of the fastest players in the draft didn't waste much time in putting his name on the dotted line. The White Sox inked third-round pick Jacob May to a $525K deal, tweets Callis.
- Orioles 16th round pick Randolph Gassaway agreed to sign, Callis tweets. The high school first baseman will get a bonus of $100K.
- Outfielder Charcer Burks signed for $170K with the Cubs, tweets Callis. That's slightly more than the suggested ~$149K for where he was taken in the ninth round.
Over the next month, MLBTR will be keeping track of as many significant draft signings as possible. Here's your Tuesday rundown of notable draft bonuses (all slot information courtesy of Baseball America's assigned pick value list)...
- The A's inked 25 of their picks today, including third-round pick Chris Kohler, according to Callis (Twitterlinks). The high school left hander got a $486K bonus from Oakland.
- The Angels signed sixth-rounder Harrison Cooney for a little under $223K, according to BA's Jim Callis (on Twitter). The Florida Gulf Coast right-hander's salary is exactly in line with the slot recommendation for the No. 187 pick.
- The Rangers have officially signed ninth-round pick Jose Samayoa, MLBTR has learned. The right-hander is one of three Lee University pitchers drafted inside of the first eleven rounds.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis reports (on Twitter) that the Braves have signed sixth-round pick Stephen Janas. The Kennesaw State right-hander recovered from Tommy John surgery successfully this season and features a sinker clocked in the high 80s. Janas signed for the exact slot value of the 193rd pick -- $210,200.
- The Mariners have signed 11th-rounder Zack Littell for a bonus of exactly $100K, tweets Callis. Littell is a high school righty out of North Carolina who's touched 92 mph with his heater and can throw his curve for strikes, according to Callis. He was committed to Appalachian State prior to signing. Littell's $100K bonus is the most teams are allowed to spend on players in rounds 11-40 without that money counting against their allotted bonus pool for the Top 10 rounds.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
This weekend's draft meant the start of a path to the big leagues for top picks like Mark Appel, Kris Bryant and Jonathan Gray, but also lots of unknowns selected on the Day Three. Former big-league outfielder Gabe Kapler reflects on his status as a late-round nobody in an essay for WEEI.com. While we're busy fussing over the signings of first-round picks, Kapler writes, "the next Kevin Youkilis will be covertly advancing through the minor league system on his way to winning a World Series championship with a bunch of other idiots." Here's more on the draft.
- The Rangers have signed 11th-round pick Ryan Cordell, a junior outfielder from Liberty, for $100K, Jim Callis of Baseball America reports (via Twitter). Signings of $100K or less after Round 10 do not count against teams' bonus pools. Baseball America ranked Cordell the No. 196 prospect in the draft.
- There hasn't been any specific announcement of a signing, but MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports (via Twitter) that the Brewers' top pick, Missouri high school pitcher Devin Williams, is taking a team physical. Williams was a second-round pick; the Brewers lost their first-rounder when they signed Kyle Lohse.
- Mariners fifth-round pick Jack Reinheimer will finalize his deal with his new team tomorrow, Nathan Summers of Reflector.com reports (via Twitter). Reinheimer, a junior shortstop from East Carolina, was the No. 147 pick in the draft.
- ESPN's Keith Law's AL draft recap (Insider-only) features praise for the Athletics (who gambled on high-upside picks like Bobby Wahl, Kyle Finnegan and Dustin Driver in the middle rounds) and Yankees (who nabbed Eric Jagielo, Aaron Judge and Ian Clarkin with their three late-first-round picks).
7:43pm: Gonzalez gets a signing bonus of $2.215MM, Demeritte will earn $1.9MM, and Bostick's deal is worth $520K, Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com tweets.
6:18pm: The Rangers announced that they have signed both of their first-round picks, Alex “Chi-Chi” Gonzalez and Travis Demeritte. Gonzalez was the No. 23 overall pick in the 2013 draft while Demeritte was tapped with the No. 30 selection.
Gonzalez, a right-handed pitcher, has been assigned to Spokane of the Northwest League while Demeritte, a shortstop, will go to the Arizona League. Gonzalez, 21, had a 1.83 ERA with 126 strikeouts and 27 walks across 113 and 1/3 innings of work at Oral Roberts in his junior year. His gaudy strikeout total was good for second in the nation in the college regular season. Gonzalez was previously selected by the O's in the 11th round of the 2010 draft but did not sign.
Demeritte, 18, was plucked out of Winder-Barrow High School in Winder, Georgia where he was named the 11th-best high school position player in the draft by Baseball America. Demeritte had committed to the University of South Carolina, but he liked his deal enough to turn pro.
Texas also inked their second-round pick, high school right-hander Akeem Bostick, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Twitter). Bostick, who comes from West Florence High School in South Carolina, was ranked No. 147 in the nation by Baseball America. The youngster was a three sport star and was set to attend Georgia Southern both as pitcher and a wide receiver on the gridiron.
The 2013-2014 class of free agent pitching is "grim," says Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan. Hiroki Kuroda figures to be the best starting pitcher on the market, Passan says, but Kuroda is 38. A.J. Burnett is also pitching very well in his walk year, but he's 36 and has said he plans on staying with the Pirates or retiring. The likely recipient of the biggest free-agent contract for a pitcher next offseason is Matt Garza, who is 29. Garza ranks sixth, behind five hitters, in Tim Dierkes' recent 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings. Kuroda ranks seventh, and Burnett eighth. Here are more notes from around the league.
- The Cardinals aren't interested in trading Matt Adams, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets. Adams, 24, is hitting .313/.352/.552 as a bench player this season, and he's blocked by Allen Craig, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.
- Pirates coaches have more to learn about top prospect Gerrit Cole, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Cole is set to make his big-league debut on Tuesday. "I'll talk to [Indianapolis pitching coach Tom Filer] and ask if (Cole) is a guy you can converse with during the middle innings of a game, during the down time, or if he's a guy you have to stay away from and let him be in his own little world," says Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. Pirates GM Neal Huntington, meanwhile, says that the Pirates would have preferred to let Cole stay at Indianapolis for awhile, but injuries to Wandy Rodriguez, Jeanmar Gomez and others forced their hand. It's unclear whether Cole will stay in the Bucs' rotation after his start on Tuesday.
- The Twins' selection of Kohl Stewart with the fourth overall pick in this weekend's draft marked the first time since 1992 that the Twins have taken a high-school pitcher with their first first-round pick, writes Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN. That 1992 pick was Dan Serafini, who struggled as a Twin and ended up a journeyman, with brief stints pitching for the Cubs, Padres, Pirates, Reds and Rockies, and also in Mexico and Japan. The Twins haven't had much more luck with other high-school pitchers taken in the early rounds, Mackey says, although it should help that Stewart was the fourth overall pick. "The odds are good that he's going to surface at the major leagues,"says Twins GM Terry Ryan. "Most of the first rounders surface at the major league level. Now, whether or not they become All-Stars or the types of guys that have the careers of a (Joe) Mauer, that is few and far between. But picking up at the 4-hole, certainly the odds are better than if you're picking at the 24-hole."
- The Rangers have signed 12 draft picks, including their fourth- through ninth-round picks, according to a team release. One of those signed was catcher Joe Jackson of the Citadel, who is the great-great-great nephew of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.