Some news from around baseball as we wrap up the weekend…
- With the next international signing window opening on July 2, Baseball America’s Ben Badler profiles (in two separate pieces) 10 youngsters likely to receive seven-figure bonuses. Kevin Maitan is perhaps the mostly highly-touted player of the entire 2016-17 class, as the 16-year-old Venezuelan shortstop is rumored to be in line for a bonus north of $4MM, most likely from the Braves. “Nobody is a can’t miss but it’s hard to see him missing,” one scout says of Maitan. As always, it’s well worth getting a BA subscription to read the full scouting reports and news, including how the Braves, Padres and A’s are connected to two players each, with others rumored to be signing with the Nationals, Astros, Rockies and Mariners.
- The Giants and Dodgers both pursued some major free agent arms last winter, and the results of that hunt are being seen this season, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes. After missing out on Zack Greinke, the Giants pivoted to Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, who have both been workhorses for the club. The Dodgers weren’t interested in either Cueto or Samardzija at the price of their respective contracts with the Giants, and according to Cueto via an interpreter, the Dodgers never offered him a contract at all. “They were telling me to wait,” Cueto said. After missing out on Greinke, L.A. made two less-expensive signings in Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir, though as Shaikin notes, the Dodgers’ main issue this season has been a lack of offense.
- Ubaldo Jimenez was rocked for five runs in just a third of an inning today, the shortest start of his Major League career. Jimenez now has a 6.89 ERA over 62 2/3 IP this season, leading Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun to wonder just how much longer the Orioles can continue using him in the rotation. Jimenez can’t be sent with the minors without his permission, and releasing him isn’t likely with roughly $21MM owed to him through the 2017 season.
- If the Orioles do replace Jimenez in the rotation, Dylan Bundy won’t be a candidate, as Encina details in another Baltimore Sun piece that the O’s are focusing on slowly rebuilding Bundy’s arm strength with an eye towards having him contend for a starting spot next spring. Buck Showalter said the aim is to have Bundy throw 60-75 innings out of the bullpen this season. Bundy, the fourth overall pick of the 2011 draft, has had his career delayed by several injuries, including Tommy John surgery.
- Robinson Cano’s decision to sign with the Mariners after the 2013 season led to shockwaves throughout the second base market that could still be felt in some of this past offseason’s moves, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman writes. Of the six teams (the Cubs, Nationals, Mariners, Pirates, Mets and Yankees) Sherman ranks as the most impacted by Cano’s signing, the Yankees are ranked last, as it is still unclear as to whether Starlin Castro is the club’s long-term answer at the keystone.