Tim Beckham Rumors
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?
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.
I'm surprised they are so certain. Isn't it possible that the Rays draft Buster Posey and the Bucs opt for Pedro Alvarez?
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.
Here's today's link collection.
- Hal McCoy seems fairly certain that Ken Griffey Jr. will play out the season with the Reds.
- Dejan Kovacevic has heard that the Pirates are torn between Pedro Alvarez and Tim Beckham at #2.
- Cha Seung Baek has been DFA'd, and this time he might be claimed. He could have a career as a fifth starter somewhere.
- John Brattain explains why he feels teams are colluding against Barry Bonds.
- The Rangers DFA'd reliever Franklyn German; Evan Grant explains why.
- The Indians claimed reliever Oneli Perez from the White Sox. Baseball America says the six-fingered pitcher has attitude questions.
- According to Buster Olney, David Wells is still waiting by the phone hoping for a team to call.
- RotoAuthority examines Daniel Cabrera's hot start.