Jim Callis of Baseball America crunched the numbers for the past five drafts and reports that the Pirates led all MLB teams in spending by handing out $52 million in total signing bonuses.
Much of that has to do with having the No. 1 pick once, the No. 2 pick twice, and the No. 4 pick twice during that five-year span, but this year for example the Pirates also shelled out $5.5 million on consensus top-10 talent Josh Bell after he dropped to them in the second round because of high bonus demands.
Joining the Pirates in spending more than $50 million during the past five drafts is the Nationals at $51 million, much of which went to back-to-back No. 1 overall picks Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.
Boston ranks fourth in 2007-2011 draft spending at $40 million despite not having any top-10 picks, which shows that the Red Sox are taking significant advantage of other teams passing on top prospects due to bonus demands. Similarly the Yankees have spent $34 million on draft picks since 2007, which is well above the “slot” recommendations for where their actual picks have been.
At the other end of the spectrum the White Sox spent just $18 million and the next-lowest team, the Marlins, spent $21 million. You can see the full breakdown by clicking here.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.