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.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.