- Royals GM Dayton Moore sidestepped a question about Melky Cabrera's future in Kansas City, according to MLB.com's Adam Holt. "That's a fair question, it's a question that should be asked," Moore said. "But right now, I'd just as soon not go down that road right now." The Royals control Cabrera's rights through arbitration in 2012 and don't appear to be nearing an extension with him.
- C. Trent Rosecrans of CBSSports.com says $13.5MM for two years of Francoeur is "probably a bit of an overpayment, but it's hardly cripling" for the Royals who benefit from the outfielder's production.
- FanGraphs' Eno Sarris agrees, writing that the extension will not cripple the Royals or suppress any prospects on the brink ot the Major Leagues.
- Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com says we should expect the Royals to add a veteran starting pitcher this offseason (Twitter link).
- The Royals say they started following Bubba Starling's athletic pursuits three years ago, according to the Kansas City Star, which re-publishes a Terez A. Paylor story from 2008 detailing the achievements of the eventual Royals draft pick. Kansas City selected the high schooler fourth overall in June and signed him to a $7.5MM bonus Monday.
On this date ten years ago, John Smoltz struck out four batters and picked up his first regular season save. Then, on this date in 2009, the Red Sox released Smoltz, who had an 8.33 ERA at the time. The potential Hall of Famer went on to provide seven solid starts for the Cardinals later that season and hasn't pitched in the Majors since. Here are today's links…
- Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that GM Mike Rizzo did a "fantastic job" to sign Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer, Brian Goodwin, Matt Purke and others on Monday night. Lerner believes the Nats now have one of the best farm systems in the game.
- Just because the Yankees signed Derek Jeter to a $51MM deal last winter doesn’t mean the Mariners should extend Ichiro Suzuki, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. Arguing that Ichiro deserves Jeter-like treatment doesn’t make sense to Baker “for reasons that start on the field and end off of it.” The Mariners outfielder is under contract for $17MM in 2012.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com identifies five players we shouldn't give up on, including Pedro Alvarez and Ian Stewart.
- No one at the MLB owners meetings is questioning whether Jim Crane, the incoming Astros owner, is a viable candidate to take over the team, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).
- Top Royals pick Bubba Starling said at a press conference today that his offense could still improve because he played three sports in high school and hasn't had the chance to devote himself to hitting (Associated Press link via ESPN.com).
The Royals have signed fourth overall pick Bubba Starling, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). ESPN.com's Keith Law hears Starling is getting a $7.5MM bonus (Twitter link). The Boras Corporation represents the high schooler, who had to be lured away from a football commitment to Nebraska. The Royals add some local talent to their deep farm system today, as Starling is a Royals fan from Gardner, Kansas.
We're a week away from the August 15 deadline for MLB teams to sign their 2011 draft picks. Here's the latest on a few signings, a few players still in negotiations and a few players who are going to college…
- The Dodgers have agreed to terms with sixth-rounder Scott Barlow and 10th-rounder Tyler Ogle, reports Jim Callis of Baseball America. (Twitter links) Barlow, a right-hander who had committed to Fresno State, will earn a $150K bonus. Ogle, a product of the University of Oklahoma, received a $100K bonus.
- George Springer is expected to sign the Astros, tweets Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner. Goff said he would be surprised if the Astros didn't ink their first-round pick, selected 11th overall.
- Right-hander Jack Armstrong, Houston's third-round selection, talks to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart about his elbow problems and how he isn't worried about the signing deadline. The piece also notes that Springer passed his physical with the team last week. Springer and Armstrong are the only two unsigned players among the Astros' first 13 draft picks.
- "The Royals will be offering the biggest bonus in franchise history" to Bubba Starling, writes Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star, and while "most observers expect a contract to be signed…there is just enough in [agent Scott] Boras’ history and confidence to make everyone unsure." Mellinger also briefly details Boras' background and his dealings with the Royals over the last several years.
- Rangers officials tell MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that they don't expect sixth-round pick Derek Fisher to sign a contract. Fisher, the Pennsylvania high school player of the year, has a commitment to the University of Virginia and "his asking price exceeds what the Rangers are willing to pay."
- The Brewers officially announced the signing of second-rounder Jorge Lopez, reports MLB.com's Audrey Snyder. We heard last week that Milwaukee had agreed to terms with Lopez and fifth-rounder Michael Reed, though no final word has yet come on Reed's deal.
- The Phillies have signed seventh-round pick Kenny Giles to a contract with a $250K bonus, reports Baseball America's Jim Callis (Twitter link). Giles, a high-schooler who had committed to the University of Arizona, "has touched 99 mph with his fastball."
- Marlins second-round pick Adam Conley and Diamondbacks seventh-rounder Ben Roberts will "definitely sign," reports Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA, while Yankees sixth-round selection Jake Cave is "about 95 percent" signed. (Twitter links)
- Rogers also tweets that Taylor Ard (a 25th-round pick for the Red Sox) and Derek Jones (the Orioles' 13th-rounder) will not sign. Both players have committed to attend Washington State.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier has an update on the status of every Red Sox pick from the first 10 rounds of the draft, including both signed and unsigned players.
Links for Saturday evening..
- Without directly saying so, Mets GM Sandy Alderson intimated that it's no big deal that first-round pick Brandon Nimmo remains unsigned, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- After dealing right-hander Alex White and left-hander Drew Pomeranz, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer looks at the arms that remain in the Indians' farm system.
- Suddenly, the Rays find themselves with a surplus of catchers, writes MLB.com's Bill Chastain.
- Royals first-round pick Bubba Starling is not on Nebraska football's official 105-man roster and won't practice at NU until he decides on his baseball future, tweets Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star.
- Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz officially transferred from Double-A Akron to the Arizona League Indians today, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Pomeranz will work out in Arizona until he can officially be dealt to the Rockies on August 15th.
- The newest member of the Marlins Alfredo Amezaga has always been known as utility man but reports are that he's gained a bit of weight and is better suited for either second or third base rather than shortstop, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
A few draft items of note, as Ross Detwiler, the first player of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft to reach the big leagues, exits his start in Colorado …
- The Red Sox hosted first-round draft pick Blake Swihart at Fenway Park prior to tonight's game against the Indians, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Swihart, the No. 26 overall pick, took batting practice, although he remains unsigned. The switch-hitting catcher has committed to the University of Texas. This sort of workout is common, so it may not indicate that an agreement is imminent, although it can't hurt, either.
- Likewise, the Yankees worked out 20th-round pick Dan Camarena, a right-handed prep pitcher from San Diego, writes Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues. Though he was taken later in the draft, Camarena was actually ranked No. 138 among all prospects prior to the draft by Baseball America, according to Axisa, so it looks like the Yanks will have to go well over slot to get him signed up.
- Royals first-rounder Bubba Starling, the No. 5 pick overall, told Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star that "it's getting really stressful now," in reference to the approaching Aug. 15 deadline for draft picks to sign. Starling is currently partaking in football practice with Nebraska, where he's committed to play. Most draft experts think he'll sign with the Royals, however.
The Mets released Wily Mo Pena on this date two years ago. The slugger resurfaced with the D'Backs yesterday, when he homered in his first MLB game since 2008. Here are some links for Wednesday night as Pena attempts to hit another homer or two…
- A scout tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Twins seem less likely to become sellers than they were a few weeks ago (Twitter link). Minnesota has re-entered the playoff race thanks to a 14-3 tear.
- Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears that the Giants are not one of the six teams on Mark Ellis’ no-trade list (Twitter link). Ellis has lost his starting second base job in Oakland and the Giants have had internal talks about obtaining him.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that top draft choices Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Danny Hultzen (Mariners) will sign for roughly $10MM or so. Two high school arms, Archie Bradley (D’Backs) and Dylan Bundy (Orioles), will likely obtain $6-7MM and some executives see high school outfielder Bubba Starling (Royals) signing for more than Cole or Hultzen.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick examines the case for expanding active rosters to 26 players. Teams now have sprawling bullpens and demanding travel schedules, so there's support for bigger rosters from Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, Marlins infielder Wes Helms and others.
The first and supplemental rounds are over and teams are reaching out to their top picks and setting up media conference calls with them. Here’s the latest on the draft from the players and teams themselves…
- Archie Bradley (selected seventh overall by the D’Backs) says fellow Oklahoma high schooler Dylan Bundy (selected fourth overall by the Orioles) pushes him to be a better player. “With his workout and the way he goes about the game, it puts some weight on my shoulders to try to equal that or better that” Bradley said.
- High school infielder Jake Hager (selected 32nd overall by the Rays) wants to start his pro career soon. Though he sees himself as a shortstop, he remains flexible to playing elsewhere on infield if that’s where the Rays want him to play. Hager describes himself as a hard worker who’s coachable. The Nevada native “had a feeling” the Rays would take him, since they were scouting him hard most weeks.
- High school outfielder Bubba Starling (selected fifth overall by the Royals) describes himself as an equally good football and baseball player. The Kansas native admits to being a Royals fan, though he says he didn’t have time to see tons of games, since he plays so many sports. Starling says he felt stronger later in the season, after returning from a tweaked quad muscle.
- Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken explained the selection of Javier Baez (ninth overall). “Javier has a tremendously live bat, is versatile in the field and we are happy to welcome him to the Cubs organization,” Wilken said in a team statement. “He has a great arm and is a smart baserunner in tune with the game.
Here's the latest as we close in on Monday's First-Year Player Draft …
- The Royals will be tempted to take prep outfielder Bubba Starling from Kansas with the No. 5 overall pick, writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. The Royals are thought to covet a polished pitcher so that he can help the big league team sooner than later, according to Dodd, but they've smarted over missing out on local products Albert Pujols and Logan Morrison in the recent past, and GM Dayton Moore has discussed the importance of snatching up local talent.
- The Pirates' indecision about which pricey college player to take select at No. 1 overall — Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon are represented by Scott Boras, while Danny Hultzen is reportedly seeking $13MM — has some baseball people wondering whether they'll take a prep player like Starling or Dylan Bundy in order to preserve their draft budget and overpay for tough-to-sign players at later picks, writes Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. Also within that piece, Rogers examines some of the crucial selections of the past 10 drafts.
- The Phillies are charged with restocking their farm despite making their first pick at No. 39, writes Bob Brookover of Philly.com. The fact that many of the Phils' core players are homegrown and others were acquired with prospects is a testament to the scouting and development departments, according to Brookover.
- The Royals could also select UConn right-hander Matt Barnes with the fifth overall pick, writes Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner. Within that piece, Goff explains Barners' unforeseen ascent to likely top-10 selection.
- The Astros were once interested in Texas A&M righty John Stilson at No. 11, according to Goff, but the hurler has generally slipped out of first-round consideration due to a shoulder injury. As a result, Stilson is now a deep sleeper, writes Goff.
- Jonathan May of MLB.com published his latest mock draft today, with Cole, Rendon and Hultzen going at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 to the Pirates, Mariners and D'Backs, respectively.
- Four of six industry experts polled said they prefer Cole to Trevor Bauer of the two UCLA Bruins, but it's closer than you think, writes Tom Krasovic.
Last year's top pick, Bryce Harper, hit his first professional walk-off home run last night and now has 13 homers, 11 stolen bases and a .346/.432/.623 line at Class A. Still just 18 years old, Harper provides lots of hope for Nationals fans, though the big league club is in last place with a 25-31 record. Here's the latest out of Washington:
- Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he isn’t worried about his job security, though he’s in the last year of his contract.
- Frankie Piliere of FOX Sports hears that the Nationals have zoned in on high school outfielder Bubba Starling with the sixth overall pick (Twitter link).
- In case you haven't heard about the toolsy two-sport star, check out my piece on Starling from a couple weeks ago.