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.
There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.
Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:
The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.
When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.
Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?
Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.
The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.