Gerrit Cole - UCLA

With six days to go before deadline, 14 of top 16 draft picks still unsigned

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It looks like we’re going to have another very busy Aug. 15 this year.  As of Tuesday morning, only nine of the 30 first-round picks have signed.  A mere two of the top 16 have inked deals.

Here’s the top 16:

1. Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole
2. Mariners: LHP Danny Hultzen
3. Diamondbacks: RHP Trevor Bauer (SIGNED)
4. Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy
5. Royals: OF Bubba Starling
6. Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon
7. Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley
8. Indians: SS Francisco Lindor
9. Cubs: SS Javier Baez
10. Padres: 2B Cory Spangenberg (SIGNED)
11. Astros: OF George Springer
12. Brewers: RHP Taylor Jungmann
13. Mets: OF Brandon Nimmo
14. Marlins: RHP Jose Fernandez
15. Brewers: LHP Jed Bradley
16. Dodgers: LHP Chris Reed

In the end, most of these guys are going to sign.  MLB is frowning upon teams giving above-slot contracts to players before the deadline, which works against the ability of teams to get deals done before Aug. 15.  Still, it’d be a surprise if more than one or two of these players went unsigned past the deadline.

The player here many viewed as the toughest signing going in, Starling, is sitting out football practice at Nebraska while negotiating with the Royals.  That would seem to bode well for Kansas City’s chances.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, haven’t signed any of their four first- and supplemental first-round picks.  WEEI’s Alex Speier runs down the situation with No. 19 pick Matt Barnes, No. 26 pick Blake Swihart, No. 36 pick Henry Owens and No. 40 pick Jackie Bradley Jr. here.

Diamondbacks sign Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million deal

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Jeff Mathis #6 of the Miami Marlins hits a grand slam during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.

Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.

As the D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.

Jimmy Rollins wants to play in 2017

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 10:  Jimmy Rollins #7 of the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 10, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins wants to continue playing in 2017.

Rollins, 38, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox for the 2016 season but hit a disappointing .221/.295/.329 over 166 plate appearances. The club released Rollins in the middle of June and he did not sign with a new team. He did join TBS as part of their playoff coverage.

Rollins is almost certainly looking at another minor league contract and will have to earn his way onto a major league roster by performing well in spring training.