We’ve heard that the Twins are involved in the still-evolving market for free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel. But how aggressive will the Minnesota organization be and what will it take to make a deal? One unidentified source tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post that Kimbrel is seen as a “priority” for the Twins, though it’s tough to pin down the meaning of that phrase unless it’s coming straight from the top of the Minnesota front office. Notably, Kimbrel is said to have continued his quest for a multi-year deal into the summer. That approach promises to have major ramifications for his market, as it could both limit the field of suitors (some teams may only want a rental) and expand it (others may also shop for the future and see an opportunity to defer the money it will take to secure his services).
While the Twins are posing a challenge to the perennial front-running Indians, a few other teams from the division have been busy cashing in their consolation prizes from rough 2018 seasons …
- The Royals did not hide their excitement at landing Bobby Witt Jr. with the second overall pick of the MLB Draft, as Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star writes. It’s easy to dream on top picks, but the Royals have done more than that. They’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time. GM Dayton Moore says the club has been tracking Witt closely “since he was 14 years old,” calling it “an absolute honor and privilege to follow him and his career.” The high-end high school shortstop will look to follow his father in turning in a lengthy MLB career. Just how excited are the Royals? Moore: “It’s a great celebration in this organization today because we were able to select him. We knew a little over a year ago that this was a player that we were going to target. To see this day come has been very, very special for all of us.”
- The White Sox now have a first baseman of the future in Andrew Vaughn, who went third overall. As Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Tribune writes, the club went with Vaughn on a pure talent assessment. But the fact that he’s quite possibly a quick-to-the-majors bat that suits the roster wasn’t lost on the team. Scouting director Nick Hostetler said of the selection: “the fact it might fill a void in the future here was an added bonus.”
- And the Tigers were thrilled to find high school outfielder Riley Greene waiting for them at #5, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. With ample rotation talent already filtering up the ranks of the Detroit farm, it’s no doubt gratifying for the club to find such a highly regarded position player in that spot. The youngster obviously isn’t even close to the MLB radar at this point, but he’ll immediately become a player to watch for the organization’s fans.
Vaughn is gonna be a stud in this league
We’ve been hearing that about all the White Sox prospects for quite awhile now. Dudes pretty undersized.
He’s 6’ 215 pounds. He’s not that undersized.
And Moncada, Anderson, and Giolito all look pretty damn good right now…
CF Luis Robert may be the crown jewel of the White Sox organization when all is said and done.
Robert has been a men among boys this season in A+ Winston-Salem and AA Birmingham. This is his first full professional season after he defected from Cuba two years ago and missed much of last season due to an assortment of injuries. Unlike top prospect Eloy Jimenez, Robert is a true 5-tool talent and might not need any time in AAA before making his MLB debut. Aside from his astounding triple slash numbers of .390/.440/.705, Robert plays fine defense at a premium position and has plus speed that has resulted in 18 SB’s in 50 games played thus far.
It’s often more difficult for top hitting prospects to achieve better offensive numbers in AA than AAA since the former league is loaded with more elite pitching prospects while the latter is chock full of fringe veteran hurlers just trying to hang on to their dream of reaching the big leagues once again. This is especially true in the White Sox farm system where their AA home park in Birmingham, Alabama is a cavernous pitcher-friendly venue while their AAA stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina is a bandbox. It might better serve the White Sox and Robert to have their stud OF jump straight to the big leagues.
They could avoid the MLB service time issue and simply offer Robert a similar MLB contract extension to the one they gave Jimenez earlier this year. After all, the White Sox already signed Robert to a $26MM international signing bonus with a matching penalty following his defection so clearly the organization has great faith that he is the real deal. White Sox fans would love to see that faith realized as soon as this summer.
Here’s a list of “undersized” first basemen 6 feet tall or less:
With all due respect, that list is outdated. Players are much larger now, throwing harder than ever before. I would have loved to have seen Babe Ruth in his prime vs. Aroldis Chapman in his prime – if Ruth even stepped in the batter’s box to face him. Bagwell is it from the modern game? Good luck, Andrew.
Yea he’s destined to join that group. WS fans wow.
RunDMC: Dude, you are making me feel old. I have seen everyone of those “undersized” first baseman play with the exception of Lou Gehrig and JimmyFoxx.
Besides, everything is relative. If all those past greats were playing in the modern era don’t you think that they might also benefit from today’s advanced conditioning methods. Legend has it that Babe Ruth and Foxx could hit the ball as hard and far as any of today’s “modern” era power hitters. I’m guessing that their proficiency at achieving outstanding “launch angle” and “exit velocity” numbers was just fine. They also played in an era when the players and balls weren’t juiced.
Scouts have compared him to Bagwell. Look it up.
Will it make them taller?
So you think a man with a batting average of 342 would struggle when the strike zone is tighter than ever? Any of the great hitters of the past would demolish today’s pitchers.
Yeah, because the strike zone is the only thing that has changed…
If u saw Musial play, your def old 🙂
He plays in the AL, there’s always DH/LF. How is a player undersized when the AL MVP 2 years ago & absolute game changer is 5’5”?
He doesn’t play 1B and he’s the exception not the rule.
Bocephus is just a cubs troll. They’re feel very threatened and hurt by what the White Sox are doing.
Read the scouting reports sally.
How does tanking over and over hurt Cubs fans?
Steven Chinwood: How could Cubs fans even brink up the issue of tanking with White Sox fans when they did just that after hiring Theo Epstein? The White Sox had a long draught between their World Series championships in 1917 and 2005. The Cubs went even longer with 108 years of zero titles from 1908-2016.
Because, we then have to hear incessantly from jealous WS fans about how great their team WILL be.
“How does tanking over and over hurt Cubs fans?”
Apparently it must, otherwise you wouldn’t be constantly on our message boards trolling. You must have a lot of free time on your hands.
I am a Tiger fan and was hoping Vaughn fell to 5 so I am a fan of his bat for sure.
His size concern is for defense and rightfully so. A 5’11” right handed 1B is not ideal and a position shift would cause a below average defender wherever he went.
You’re right, it’s not ideal. But it’s really not that big of a deal. He’s plenty tall enough to field a grounder and pick throws out of the dirt. If the bat plays like it’s expected to, he’ll be more than fine at first.
Side note – it’s amazing how important first base defense becomes when people try to pick apart a player (not directed at you). Any other time, it’s considered one of the least valuable defensive positions, and it’s where everyone suggests to stick their other horrible defenders.
Gentleman, especially Bocephus, size doesn’t always matter. Many scouts have labeled Andrew Vaughn as the best overall college hitting prospect since Kris Bryant. Some say Vaughn is undersized and fret over his height. I also recall many of those same experts worrying that Bryant was too tall to remain at 3B in MLB.
It’s funny how the Cubs are still in their competitive window (albeit a shrinking window) and the Sox are still considered laughing stocks by most, yet Cub fans like Bocephus and Steven Chinwood are still worried how the Sox are doing, as if the Sox are the Cubs main rival. I’d be a little more concerned about the Brewers and Cardinals if I were them.
I don’t care about the Cubs anymore. To me, they’re just another team in the NL, which I don’t follow that closely (just enough to know what’s going on over there). I lost interest in them after they got the 100-year drought I was hoping for at the time (and they will always have that hanging over their heads). I gained some interest when they won the WS and I was actually happy for them. I’m back into just having a passing interest in them.
Now when they fade back into mediocrity once their window of opportunity closes in a few years, they will be more or less a forgotten team. The novelty of the “Lovable Losers” has already worn off with the WS. The 100-year drought was the pinnacle, once they achieved it, what’s left? It’s not like I can witness a 200-year drought from them.
I don’t have any urge to troll their message boards, it’s not worth my time or energy. It’s sad that guys like Bocephus and Steven Chinwood have to come and troll on the message boards of a 100-loss team. I guess we should consider it flattery. They could just completely ignore us, which would be the worst insult of all, basically saying we’re not even worth their time.
So if it makes you feel better, Bocephus and Steven Chinwood, to keep trolling us, knock yourselves out. We’ll just keep ridiculing your silly comments.
Silly comment (as usual). Personally, I’m more concerned about his swing and ability to play 1B than I am about how tall he is. It’s not like he’s 5’2″. I guess big, buff guys are more your thing.
Let Kimbrel sit the remainder of the season.
Just because they got drafted doesn’t mean they’ll actually sign
Yeah but if you’re taking someone that high then you think you’ve got a good chance at signing them. I’m pretty sure only a handful of players drafted in the first few rounds didn’t sign last year.
Brady Aiken disagrees
I never said there weren’t exceptions, but the overwhelming majority of these guys still sign
We saw how well that worked for him
Honestly, it’s really a crap-shoot after the 1st round, especially if it’s a high school talent with commitments to a top program. He’s going to be told that rather than bypass the 200k signing bonus, he could go 1st round and get 4-6x in 2 years. There’s no other sport that you draft a guy #1 overall and he reenters the draft – or you ever hear about signability that high up.
Brady Aiken is a horrible comp to Vaughn. One was a prep arm that had injury flags that would not agree to a reduced signing bonus. The other is a collegiate athlete without flags and was drafted he was largely expected to.
Thanks Carter Stewart for Shea Langeliers.
Unless there’s an unknown injury that causes one of these teams to offer half slot value, these guys are all signing.
Kimbrel is being smart by asking for a multi-year. He’s in a position right now where he should be looking for the highest total guarantee, not necessarily the highest pro-rated AAV. He may sense his own vulnerability.
You don’t think his value is diminished the longer he sits out? If he doesn’t have a contract in the next week he’ll be taking a prorated one year contract. He’d have to be lights out the remainder of the year for anyone to give him more than a one or two year deal this offseason.
I completely agree with the idea of wanting the security but at some point you have to take what’s actually there.
I don’t think we disagree. I think he wants longer term for precisely the reason you raise…he’d have to be lights out. through the end of the year. He’s older, a little less sharp, and he’s got the layoff. If he’s just so-so then it’s hard to see how he scores something big in the offseason, especially since none of the uber-contracts for closers have really worked out so far. If I’m Kimbrel and I can get 3/50 I seriously think about it.
Kimbrel and Hader 8th and 9th inning. OOOOF
I don’t care what John Mozeliak says, but the Cardinals need to sign Kimbrel. Hicks has control problems and could use some fine tuning back in the minors. Martinez is ok, but he wants back in the rotation. Beyond that, I don’t trust anyone else in handling the Ninth inning. Some will say Gant but he’s better served as a long reliever or middle reliever. Mozeliak said that they were building a division winner so prove it to Cardinals Nation and sign a true closer. 2-3 years at 20-25 million a season should get the deal done.
Lol my brewers need him too. Whatever happens keep him away from the Cubs
I saw 20-25 million a season and was like no way but 3/66 prorated for missed time for this season actually wouldn’t be that bad.
Amazing that no team is stating how the player they wanted was already taken. As a Detroit fan, I am sure they like Greene as a prospect, but I am not looking to the 4-5 years that it will take a HS player to reach the majors. College players are preferred for quicker rebuilds
What purpose would that serve? If team’s say anything at all, it would be just the opposite, that the player they selected was the guy they always wanted. The Royals have hinted that much after picking Bobby Witt Jr. at #2 in this draft. The White Sox also said the same thing about Nick Madrigal when they picked him at #4 last June.
I’m sure the White Sox were thrilled to have Andrew Vaughn fall to them this year but I can pretty much guarantee you that if Adley Rutschman had been there instead he would have been their pick. What would they achieve by publicly stating that?
That would really show a great vote of confidence in the player you drafted, when you publicly state after the fact you wish a different player fell to you. Smart thinking there, stymeedone.
The White Sox also seem to be posing a challenge to the Indians.
Royals better hope that Witt Jr. isn’t as big a bust as his daddy was.
He pitched in the league for 15 years.
Then why did the royals need the full time to make the selection?
Perhaps they were cued to do so in order to accommodate mlb.com’s analysis of #1 overall pick Adley Rutschman as well as present his reaction with family and friends. The same thing occurred when the White Sox selected Andrew Vaughn at #3.
When all was said and done, there weren’t many surprises at the top of the draft compared to most final mock drafts. This was especially the case with the first few selections.
Every team takes the full time…
Yes on Calloway and the Indians should rehire him as pitching coach.