The Rangers officially inked their top two draft picks on Friday, signing Kevin Matthews and Zach Cone to contracts with bonuses just under $1 million.
Texas sacrificed its first-round pick, the 19th overall selection, to sign Adrian Beltre, but gained the 33rd and 37th overall selections as compensation for losing Cliff Lee.
Unfortunately, after splurging to sign Cuban defector Leonys Martin in May, they declined to be aggressive with either pick, instead targeting players who would sign for slot money.
The 33rd pick, which originally belonged to the Phillies, was used on Matthews, a left-hander out of a Georgia high school. He had a 1.68 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 42 innings in his senior year for Richmond Hill.
Cone, sadly, is most famous for being involved in the outfield collision that left University of Georgia teammate and now fellow Ranger draftee Johnathan Taylor paralyzed. He was drafted 37th overall after hitting .275/.331/.385 with four homers and 35 RBI in 247 at-bats for the Bulldogs this year. He is a legitimate center fielder, but his bat is a big question mark.
According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, Matthews got a $960,000 bonus, while Cone’s was $873,000.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).