Multiple draft outlets have noted the possibility that the Braves could cut a deal with high school right-hander Ian Anderson at No. 3 overall in tonight’s draft with an eye toward over-spending on the No. 40 selection. ESPN’s Keith Law noted as much in this morning’s final mock draft (subscription required and recommended), and Eric Longenhagen or ESPN and Fangraphs tweets that the team could do so with an eye on getting former No. 1 overall candidate Jason Groome at No. 40, though their willingness to do so is dependent on who comes off the board with the first and second selections. D1Baseball.com’s Frankie Piliere tweeted earlier today that Groome’s asking price is extremely high and connected him to the Braves while adding that he’s in a somewhat of a “freefall” as a result of his price tag. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com wrote in today’s draft buzz column wrote that Groome has floated an asking price of $4MM, which could cause some teams to shy away from him. Notably, the MLB.com pair also adds that Groome has now committed to Chipola Junior College in Florida after having previously been committed to Vanderbilt. In doing so, Groome would allow himself to be eligible for next year’s draft if he elects not to sign.
More from the NL East…
- The Mets could have promoted either Dilson Herrera or T.J. Rivera to the Majors instead of swinging yesterday’s trade for utilityman Kelly Johnson, writes Newsday’s Marc Carig, but assistant GM John Ricco explained that the club wasn’t interested in asking a player to make a notable position switch, as it would’ve had to do with either Rivera, Herrera or Neil Walker (who would move off of second base if Herrera were to slide into his natural position at the MLB level). Skipper Terry Collins lauded the front office for bringing back Johnson, whom he described as an excellent clubhouse presence and a veteran that has been through the rigors of a postseason chase before. Ricco added that while the team waited out some injuries last season, New York’s aspirations of winning it all in 2016 prompted earlier action. Johnson and James Loney, the two players acquired recently, aren’t exactly impact players that would push a team over the edge, of course, but adding role players to plug gaps on the roster in June as opposed to July can indeed make a difference in a tight division race.
- The Post’s Ken Davidoff was also on hand to talk to Ricco and Collins about the Mets’ acquisition of Johnson, with Ricco stating that the enhanced play of the 2016 Nationals (as compared to last season’s squad) didn’t prompt earlier action. Collins, meanwhile, noted that the addition of a player in an early trade is important in sending a message to the clubhouse that the front office is committed to winning in the current season. Per Collins, last season’s acquisition of Johnson and Juan Uribe “completely” changed the clubhouse atmosphere. Davidoff adds that striking early allows the Mets to reassess later in the summer if Johnson isn’t able to right the ship at the plate.
- While the Mets are clearly in the need for infield help, as evidenced by the Johnson trade, Carig checked in with a team source in regards to recently released Dodgers infielder Alex Guerrero and was told that the 29-year-old is not on the Mets’ radar at this time (Twitter link).
- The Phillies have informed Peter Bourjos that he is now a bench player, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Manager Pete Mackanin called the situation “unfortunate” and noted that Bourjos “has got to make a drastic change in his approach offensively.” Mackanin stressed that he “loves” Bourjos’ defensive work, but the 29-year-old’s .195/.226/.282 batting line and near-28 percent strikeout rate aren’t cutting it in the lineup. In his place, extra at-bats figure to be given to Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel, Cody Asche and Jimmy Paredes, writes Gelb, though he notes that the Phils are also hopeful of seeing names like Nick Williams and Roman Quinn impact the outfield alignment later in the season. For Bourjos, the loss of a starting job with free agency so close around the corner is disheartening, though his defensive prowess should land him an opportunity elsewhere this coming winter.