Alex Anthopoulos

Blue Jays GM is “livid” about reports of pre-draft deal with first-round pick Tyler Beede

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Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos is furious about reports and speculation claiming the Blue Jays made a pre-draft deal with first-round pick Tyler Beede, calling them “ridiculous” and “a joke.”

Last week Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus noted “lots of industry rumors that the Blue Jays had a pre-draft deal done with first-round pick Tyler Beede. Against the rules; but always happens.”

Keith Law of ESPN.com later wrote that Beede “is going to sign for about $3 million.”

Goldstein and Law, who’re two of the most connected prospect and draft analysts around, both posted those notes via Twitter.

And here’s what Anthopoulos said to John Lott of the National Post:

I’m amazed at all the false rumours about everything. I’m just sick of reading lies and rumours that people make up about us all the time. I’ve had enough of it.

Anthopoulos almost immediately regretted going public with his anger, telling Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun:

I broke my own policy of commenting on rumors. It was a momentary lapse of weakness for me. I pride myself on being able to take things in stride, but I don’t like the insinuation that we break rules. That’s where I felt the line was crossed. I just wish people would follow up a little bit more and be absolutely certain before they come out with these things.

Pre-draft deals are definitely very real, but Anthopoulos suggests that working something out with a player beforehand doesn’t make sense for a team picking 21st overall, saying: “I’d like someone to explain it to me.”

MLB’s recommended “slot” signing bonus for the 21st pick is around $1.3 million, so pre-draft deal or not Beede is expected to exceed that number by a huge amount as the Blue Jays try to sign him away from a commitment to Vanderbilt.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.