Red Sox and Rangers quickly sign first rounders

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Last year’s No. 10 overall pick Drew Storen signed with the Nationals for $1.6 million before the draft was even over (and is already in the majors), and a pair of first rounders selected last night have followed in his footsteps by already agreed to terms.
No. 20 overall pick Kolbrin Vitek said last night that he already has a “verbal agreement” with the Red Sox, with Alex Speier of WEEI.com reporting that the Ball State infielder will receive the MLB-recommended “slot” amount of around $1.4 million. Boston was awarded the 20th pick as compensation for losing Billy Wagner as a free agent, which shows the brilliance of the Red Sox picking him up from the Mets down the stretch last season.
No. 22 overall pick Kellin Deglan has agreed to a $1 million signing bonus from the Rangers, who’re also said to be nearing a deal with No. 15 pick Jake Skole. Texas choose Skole at No. 15 in large part because he was considered an easy sign, as the pick is compensation for their not signing last year’s first rounder and isn’t eligible for the same compensation this time around.
Expect similarly quick signings for many of the top picks over the next few days, or at least many of the top picks who aren’t represented by Scott Boras.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.