Draft deadline wrapup: Padres' fail to sign Karsten Whitson

Leave a comment

The negotiations are done, the numbers are in and Scott Boras’ wallet just got that much fatter: the deadline for 2010 draft picks to sign and all but three first-round picks inked contracts.
We already knew that the Diamondbacks wouldn’t be signing sixth-overall pick Barret Loux, who failed a physical last month and will apparently turn to indy ball before getting another chance next year. Also failing to get deals done Monday were the Padres and ninth pick Karsten Whitson and the Brewers and 14th pick Dylan Covey.
Covey was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes recently and decided he wanted to stay close to home. He’ll attend the University of San Diego. Whitson is expected to head to the University of Florida.
As a result, the Diamondbacks, Padres and Brewers will all receive first-round picks next year one slot down from where they picked this year. The Diamondbacks will get pick 6b (No. 7 overall), the Padres 9b (No. 11 overall) and the Brewers 14b (No. 17 overall).
The top three picks in the draft all inked deals just prior to the midnight deadline. No. 1 pick Bryce Harper got a $9.9 million major league deal from the Nationals, a new record for a position player. The No. 2 pick, right-hander Jameson Taillon, is believed to have gotten about $6 million from the Pirates. The third pick, shortstop Manny Machado received about $5.25 million from Baltimore.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day, though there were indications throughout the afternoon and evening that it was going to happen, was that the Dodgers signed right-hander Zach Lee. Many believed the Dodgers, because of their financial problems, made the choice to take a tough sign at the end of round one so that they wouldn’t have to spend much money in the draft. Instead, they came up big with a rumored $5.25 million to lure Lee away from LSU, where he was a highly regarded quarterback recruit.
Some other notables:
– The Cardinals inked draft-eligible sophomore Zack Cox. Some thought the third baseman would go to the Mets at No. 7, but he fell to the Cardinals at No. 25 because of his bonus demands. He received a $3.2 million bonus.
The Tigers signed supplemental first-round pick Nick Castellanos for $3.45 million, the highest amount ever given to a non-first-round selection.
– LSU right-hander Anthony Ranaudo inked a $2.55 million deal with the Red Sox. Considered a likely top-10 pick entering the college season, he had some arm woes during a disappointing campaign. However, after being drafted 39th overall, he showed that he was all of the way back by dominated Cape Cod League talent, earning him a bonus in line with what he would have received as a top-10 pick.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
13 Comments

It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.