Anthony Rendon - Rice

2011 MLB Draft – picks 6-10: Anthony Rendon slips to Nationals at No. 6

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Nationals picked Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon sixth in the draft.

Rendon didn’t slip too far after all. There are concerns that he might need shoulder surgery and he’s battled ankle injuries, but he had the most polished bat in the draft. He’s an interesting fit with the Nationals, who already have Ryan Zimmerman at third. It’s possible he’ll move to second. Rendon hit .327/.520/.523 for Rice this year. His power production was down, but the hope is that he’ll be a 20- or 25-homer per year guy down the line.

Diamondbacks selected high school right-hander Archie Bradley seventh overall.

Bradley is a quarterback prospect headed to Oklahoma, so it’s a bit of an interesting choice for the Diamondbacks here. Since this the compensation pick for them not signing Barrett Loux last year, they won’t get another selection next year if they fail to get Bradley signed. On talent, Bradley deserved to go somewhere in this neighborhood. He has a great build at 6’4″, 225 pounds, and he throws 93-96 mph with a strong curve.

Indians selected high school infielder Francisco Lindor with the eighth pick in the draft.

There was speculation that Lindor might go to the Mariners second overall, but it’s Cleveland instead. The 17-year-old is a legitimate shortstop with good speed. Whether he’ll develop much in the way of power remains to be seen. The Indians would likely be happy if he just turns out to be a nice .280-batting, top-of-the-order hitter. Don’t expect to see him in the majors for five years or so.

The Cubs took high school infielder Javier Baez ninth.

It’s hard not to wonder if the Cubs were disappointed to see Lindor go one pick earlier. Baez may have at least as much upside, but he’s more of a project with his subpar plate discipline. He should have the power to play third if he’s never able to push Starlin Castro off shortstop. The Cubs, though, surely will develop him at short for now.

Padres took juco infielder Cory Spangenberg with the 10th pick.

Spangenberger can put his bat on just about anything, and he should be good for plenty of singles and doubles as he climbs through the San Diego system. His power is something of a question mark, and it’s doubtful he’ll be strong enough to hit many balls out of Petco. The bigger issue is his lack of a position. The Padres will try him at either second or third, but he might end up in an outfield corner.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.