Monday evening signings: Blue Jays, Marlins, A's

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*MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports that the Blue Jays and Ramon Castro have come to terms on a one-year deal worth about $1 million.
The Blue Jays will get nice pop from their $3 million catching duo of John Buck and Castro. The two combined for 15 homers and 61 RBI in 341 at-bats last season. Of course, defense is a question mark, though both have decent enough arms. Castro should have been a starter in his prime, but he was never all that motivated to make it happen. He turns 34 in March, and he hasn’t started more than 40 games in a season since 2005. The Jays will want more from him, so it’ll be interesting to see whether he comes to play.
*The Marlins added RHP Clay Hensley, RHP Scott Strickland, RHP Matt Peterson, INF Brian Barden and INF Donnie Murphy on minor league deals.
All rather familiar names here. Getting Hensley re-signed was something of a priority. The former Padre had a nice 3.24 ERA in 19 starts for Triple-A Albuquerque last season, and he should have a real chance of making the Marlins as a middle reliever. The other candidate to make the team is Barden. He served as a utiltyman for the Cardinals early last season, and he’d make sense as a replacement for Alfredo Amezga next year. The Marlins, though, might go with Emilio Bonifacio as a reserve and decide not to carry a true backup shortstop.
*The A’s signed five minor league free agents: LHP Cedrick Bowers, RHP Fernando Hernandez, RHP Marcus McBeth. RHP Matt Wright and 1B Matt Whitney
McBeth is the pride of this group and the only one to see major league action last season, as he pitched briefly for the Red Sox. The former outfielder was originally an A’s prospect, but he was traded to the Reds for Chris Denorfia in 2007. He had a .269 ERA and a .189 average against as a Triple-A reliever last season, and he’ll probably see some time in the Oakland bullpen next year.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.

Indians to move Danny Salazar to the bullpen

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MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.

Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.

Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.