MLB Draft Losers

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Everyone who watched the first round on the MLB network
It was their first try, but MLB really botched this by giving us a
panel of Harold Reynolds, Josh Hart and MLB scouting bureau director
Frank Marcos, all of whom liked all 32 picks. Hart is still picking up
a paycheck from the Rangers, so he had nothing interesting to say.
Marcos was especially bad as the one supposed expert. Meanwhile,
Baseball America’s Jim Callis, who knew more about the prospects than
all three panelists put together, was shoved off into a corner
somewhere to be given 15 seconds of air-time every half hour.
Disgusting.

N.Y. Yankees – Might the Bombers have some actual
budgetary concerns after all? The first pick, Slade Heathcott, was a
first-round talent, but the Yankees shouldn’t have to go above slot to
sign him, and they chose to shy away from expensive players later on.
Second-rounder J.R. Murphy was their only other player in Baseball
America’s top 100 and he came in at No. 95. Fifth-rounder Caleb Cotham
could be the toughest sign in the bunch. The Red Sox, in comparison,
took five top-100 players and another in Branden Kline who could have
been there. It wasn’t about opportunity: the Red Sox had just one more
pick, that being a third-rounder. Of course, it’s possible that the
Yankees are merely saving up for the international signing period.

Atlanta – With the highest pick they’ve had since 1991,
the Braves suddenly chose to play it safe and draft a potential third
or fourth starter in Vanderbilt lefty Mike Minor. Granted, the draft
didn’t have a ton of high upside players, but there were plenty of
intriguing high school arms on the table and it was stunning that the
Braves didn’t grab one of them. Minor was just the second collegiate
they drafted in the first round since Mike Kelly in 1991, the other
being Joey Devine in 2005. Incredibly, you have to go back to 1978 and
first overall pick Bob Horner to come up with the last collegiate
first-rounder to turn in a nice career for the Braves.

Max Stassi – Stassi was viewed by many as the top catcher
in the draft, yet his bonus demands knocked him into the fourth round,
where he was taken by the A’s. He’s hardly Oakland’s only potential
tough sign, so he’s probably UCLA bound.

Pirates looking for outside outfield help

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.

Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.

Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

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On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.