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- Darren Oliver Joins Rangers’ Front Office
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Tim Beckham Rumors
The career of the Rays' Tim Beckham, who was the first overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft, hasn't gone as planned, but Beckham finally did make it to the Majors at the tail end of the 2013 season. 2014, though, may turn out to be a lost year for him, as he tore his ACL in his right knee, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times notes (on Twitter). Beckham, who turns 24 in January, hit .276/.342/.387 in 522 plate appearances at Triple-A Durham last season. Here are more notes from around the American Legaue.
- Yankees president Randy Levine's recent comments about Mike Trout and the Angels displeased Major League Baseball, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports. In reference to Robinson Cano's ten-year contract with the Mariners, Levine said, "If Mike Trout was here, I’d recommend the 10-year contract. But for people over 30, I don’t believe it makes sense." That led MLB to investigate whether Levine's comments broke any rules regarding tampering with another team's players. Levine says he called Angels president John Carpino to apologize, and he considers the matter settled.
- The Orioles are still negotiating with free-agent closer Grant Balfour, but Balfour wants three years and the Orioles only want to give him two, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun tweets. The Orioles indicate that they are willing to look elsewhere to fill their closer job if they can't find common ground with Balfour.
- The Orioles discussed a big-league deal with Jason Kubel's agency, Wasserman Media Group, MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko reports. Kubel ended up signing a minor-league deal with the Twins, however, and Kubatko suggests that's because Kubel is very confident he'll make the team in Minnesota (Twitter links).
- After adding Robinson Cano, Corey Hart and Logan Morrison, the Mariners still want to add a starting pitcher, a reliever and another catcher, MLB.com's Greg Johns reports. They'd like to add relief help to offset the departure of Carter Capps, who headed to the Marlins in the Morrison trade, and they're looking for a catcher because they have just two, Mike Zunino and Jesus Sucre, on their 40-man.
Tim Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 Draft, entered the Rays' game as a pinch-hitter against the Rangers Thursday night and singled in his first big-league at-bat. It marked a milestone for the infielder, who crawled through the minor leagues, never hitting all that impressively at any level, before posting a line of .276/.342/.387 in 2013 for Triple-A Durham. All of the 20 players drafted immediately after Beckham made it to the big leagues before he did. (Many, of course, were drafted out of college; Beckham came out of high school.) Remarkably, as Baseball America's John Manuel notes (via Twitter), Beckham is the first player drafted by the Rays since 2007 to make it to the big leagues with them. That's surprising, given how vital young players are to a low-payroll team like the Rays and how successful they've been in recent years. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has implied to first baseman Adam Lind that there's a good chance the team will pick up Lind's 2014 option, but nothing is certain yet, SportsNet.ca's Shi Davidi reports. "You know Alex pretty well, it’s pretty much the explanation I anticipated," says Lind, who will get either $7MM to play for the Jays or a $2MM buyout. The Jays also have options on Lind's services for 2015 and 2016. Lind has hit .282/.352/.486 so far this season. The team isn't required to make a decision about his option until shortly after the World Series ends.
- Mets manager Terry Collins wants Ruben Tejada to take command of the shortstop position next season, Anthony DiComo and Chris Iseman of MLB.com write. "My message is real simple: this job is his," says Collins. "But he's got to show everybody that he wants it desperately." That doesn't rule out the possibility that the Mets could pursue a shortstop from outside the organization. The offseason free-agent market isn't a strong one, but a trade might be a possibility. Tejada has hit .202/.259/.260 in 227 plate appearances this season.
- The Cubs aren't ready to say whether Dale Sveum will remain their manager in 2014, but the notion that the Cubs would fire Sveum is "laughable," says Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times. Morrissey raises the possibility that the Cubs hesitation on Sveum may have something to do with big-name managers like Joe Girardi and Ron Gardenhire being free agents this offseason. He argues that Sveum shouldn't be blamed for the struggles of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro this season, suggesting that the pair might simply not be as good as the Cubs and their fans hoped.
- The Brewers claimed pitcher Josh Ravin off waivers from the Reds today, and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy compares Ravin to Joe Nathan, noting that Ravin can throw in triple digits (Twitter link). Ravin wouldn't be the first player to find success as a reliever in the Majors after an unimpressive minor-league career, but Joe Nathan is a lofty name to drop when discussing a 25-year-old who posted a 5.82 ERA with 6.7 BB/9 in the minors this year.
- Dodgers lefty Onelki Garcia is now represented by BHS Sports Council, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). Garcia posted a 2.90 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in the upper levels of the minors in 2013, and he made his big-league debut last week.
Happy birthday to Rays right-hander Jeff Niemann, who turns 30 years old today. Niemann, the fourth overall pick of the 2004 draft, is looking to rebound from an injury-shortened 2012 season and has also drawn some interest on the trade market — the pitching-needy Rockies reportedly asked the Rays about Niemann's availability. Here's the latest out of Tampa Bay…
- "In a perfect world" David Price says he would love to stay with the Rays and "in a vacuum," executive VP Andrew Friedman would love to keep Price for years to come, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports. Both men, however, are realistic about the difficulties involved in keeping Price in Tampa Bay over the long term. Price is under team control through the 2015 season and recently said he wouldn't take a discount on a new multiyear deal to remain with the Rays.
- Several recent additions to the Rays roster have checkered reputations off the field, MLB.com's Matthew Leach writes, and Friedman admits to making some "calculated risks" with such players as a function of operating in a small market. "And we're much more comfortable taking them now than we probably were in '07, just having more of a developed culture. So we go through things very methodically in great detail. And there have been guys we have determined wouldn't necessarily fit in, and others that we feel like the reward far outweighs the risk," Friedman said.
- Joe Maddon is a fan of Tim Beckham, telling MLB.com's Bill Chastain that the 2008 first overall pick "has a really high ceiling as a Major League player" and sees Beckham "playing at a very high end for a very long time." Beckham, 23, hit .256/.325/.361 in 323 PA at the Triple-A level in 2012 and was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for marijuana.
- Ben Nicholson-Smith reviewed the Rays' offseason earlier today on MLBTR.
Former first overall draft pick Tim Beckham has been suspended for 50 games, MLB announced. The shortstop, who had reached Triple-A in the Rays' system, is in violation of MLB's drug policy for the second time. "I take full responsibility for my actions and I will use this experience to refocus my commitment to baseball," he said in a statement released by the team. Here are more links from around the league…
- Bobby Abreu could make sense for the Orioles, opines Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Nick Johnson remains hitless on the season and Nolan Reimold recently left the team to have numbness and tingling in his fingers examined.
- An arbitration claim for breach of contract has been filed against Yoenis Cespedes of the Athletics reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. Edgar Mercedes, who helped represent Cespedes during his free agency, is owed 17% of the outfielder's earnings but has not yet been paid.
- It's encouraging that MLB suspended Tigers outfielder Delmon Young following last week's incident in New York City, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes. Young's actions will cost him millions, Morosi explains. Before the incident I suggested a multiyear deal was within reach for Young if he had a strong season. It's definitely harder to imagine any team making a multiyear commitment today.
- The Phillies announced that they selected the contract of right-hander Brian Sanches from Lehigh Valley. Sanches takes the place of David Herndon on the team’s active roster.
- One agent suggested to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that the Yankees might have interest in Aaron Cook if the Red Sox don’t make room for the right-hander on their roster by today (Twitter link). Cook can opt out of his deal with Boston if he’s not added to the roster today.
- There haven’t been recent talks between Mike Napoli and the Rangers or Miguel Montero and the Diamondbacks, Heyman tweets. Montero is looking for a four-year deal in the $52MM range and Napoli seeks more than that. Heyman suggests Napoli is more likely than Montero to sign an extension.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Below I’ve collected more interesting remaining links regarding the amateur draft.
- The Royals bumped their offer from $5MM to $6MM and signed top pick Eric Hosmer. Rany Jazayerli was surprised to see Hosmer effectively get more than #1 pick Tim Beckham. The Royals joined the Red Sox and Pirates as teams spending around $10MM on draft picks this year.
- The Rangers resisted a Major League deal for Justin Smoak, and ultimately signed him to a $3.5MM minor league deal. Owner Tom Hicks pined for a hard slot system.
- The story of pitcher Chris Gruler, picked third overall by the Reds in ’02, reminds us to temper our enthusiasm for these kids. Many will bust.
- Tim Lincecum says Buster Posey can expect other minor leaguers to treat him differently because of the bonus he received.
- The race is on for Stephen Strasburg, who is separating himself from the pack as the top talent in the ’09 draft. The Mariners, Padres, and Nationals all have a shot at him, with the Nats in the "lead." Would the Nats avoid Strasburg due to signability concerns?
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Boston Red Sox | Buster Posey | Cincinnati Reds | Eric Hosmer | Justin Smoak | Kansas City Royals | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Stephen Strasburg | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Tim Beckham | Tim Lincecum | Washington Nationals
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Rays have signed their #1 overall pick, high school shortstop Tim Beckham, for $6.15MM. With Beckham setting the stage, perhaps more top picks will get deals done soon.
The Rays just have an embarrassment of riches at this point. They are positioned for a long, long run of excellence.
A few more minor notes from the MLBiverse…
- Marc Lancaster is reporting that Tim Beckham, the top pick of the Rule 4 draft, will be visiting Tropicana Field at the end of the week and his father believes that a deal will be in place by the end of the weekend. The rest of the first rounders could sign quickly once Beckham and the Rays set the benchmark.
- Jamey Newberg wonders if the Rangers will have a hard time making trades because their farm system is so deep. The Rays might have the same problem.
- Jeff Passan names his All-Overpaid and All-Underpaid teams.
- Could Rick Peterson reunite with Barry Zito in San Francisco?
- Dave Cameron says J.D. Drew was worth the money.
- A reader emailed in saying he saw Mets scout Jerry Krause at the White Sox-Pirates game. Krause might be the game’s most publicly recognizable scout.
Lots of high profile players in today’s Odds & Ends:
- The Rays have opened contract discussions with first overall pick Tim Beckham, says Marc Topkin.
- Phil Rogers of the Chicago Sports Tribune suggests we add Erik Bedard to the list of starting pitchers who may be available at the trade deadline. More appropriately, Rogers also notes the M’s will most likely hold on to Bedard through 2009, a far more likely outcome.
- Also in the longshot rumor department, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle speculates on Barry Bonds playing for the Red Sox. Personally, I would predict there’s a 0.0% chance Bonds plays in Boston.
- In that same piece by John Shea, Mark Mulder could be done. He’s rejecting the idea of a third surgery and attempting to alter his delivery to remain effective and pain free.
- Will Carroll reports Jeremy Bonderman has undergone surgery to overcome Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – as I understand it, a pinched vein causing a blood clot – and will need a minimum of 6 months to a year of recovery time. This should keep Armando Gallaraga and Dontrelle Willis in the rotation.
By Nat Boyle
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.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: 2008 Amateur Draft | Aaron Crow | Arizona Diamondbacks | Buster Posey | Cincinnati Reds | Gordon Beckham | Kyle Skipworth | Milwaukee Brewers | Pedro Alvarez | Pittsburgh Pirates | Seattle Mariners | Tampa Bay Rays | Tanner Scheppers | Tim Beckham | Washington Nationals | Yonder Alonso
I’m surprised they are so certain. Isn’t it possible that the Rays draft Buster Posey and the Bucs opt for Pedro Alvarez?