The Braves lost their rights to 12 international prospects earlier this week as part of Major League Baseball’s punishment of the organization for signing violations, creating an unexpected influx of talent into the 2017-18 international signing market. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper ranks the top eight prospects of that group, with Kevin Maitan still leading the way, even if his star has somewhat dimmed after a lackluster first season in the minors.
Some items from around the two East divisions…
- Jake Odorizzi and Alex Colome “have been popular in early [trade] conversations,” Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The two pitchers are perhaps the most likely members of the Rays’ 12-player arbitration class who will be dealt in order to cut costs, as MLBTR projects that dozen players to earn $40.4MM in 2018. Topkin figures that the Rays will be in heavy trade talks this week in order to move some of these names before Friday’s non-tender deadline. There’s also the specter of a total rebuild, which would come if Tampa decided to move a franchise cornerstone (i.e. Chris Archer, Evan Longoria, Kevin Kiermaier) this offseason. While the Rays will clearly shop the arbitration-eligible players first, Topkin wonders if the club would pounce if they got a great offer for one of Archer and company before any of the arb class had been moved. Previous reports have cited the Twins’ interest in both Odorizzi and Colome, while the Cardinals have been linked to Colome in their search for bullpen help.
- A case could be made that the Nationals should pursue a top-tier starting pitcher rather than just rotation depth this winter, though as the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes outlines, the team could be gearing up for a bigger pitching addition next winter. The Nats will have over $50MM in salary coming off the books after the 2018 season, which could allow the club to sign or trade for a notable arm.
- Nine-year big league veteran Dave Bush has been working as a Red Sox pitching development analyst for the last year, as the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato details in this look at Bush’s duties within the organization. Bush sees his role as helping bridge the gap between the analytics department and young pitchers who may be being exposed to such information for the first time. “Baseball is not known for accepting change in a hasty manner. But I also think there’s also a benefit for someone like me, who has been a player,” Bush said. “I’m comfortable having that conversation. And it’s my responsibility to present information to them because I think it’s going to make them better.” Bush’s duties are part of president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s plan to overhaul how the Sox select and develop young pitchers, as the club has been notably short on homegrown arms over the last decade.