The Mariners tried to trade Michael Pineda for Brett Lawrie

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The Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero trade was pretty cool in that we don’t see tons of young-pitcher-for-young-slugger trades that don’t involve payroll things, impending free agency or any of that.  But it could have been way cooler. Well, at least if you’re a Mariners fan.

As Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail reports, the Blue Jays — who have been criticized by some for not doing anything big this offseason — defended themselves yesterday by noting that they avoided doing something big — and dumb — a couple of weeks ago:

They squandered some of that currency and Monday was an attempt to build it back up, with Anthopoulos getting in the act and stating clearly that a particular trade he didn’t make – let’s take a wild stab here, folks, and say it was for Seattle Mariners pitcher Michael Pineda – fell apart because the other team wanted a major-league-ready player off the Blue Jays roster.

(Several sources say that player was third baseman Brett Lawrie; the Blue Jays balked and instead the Mariners did some good business with the New York Yankees, landing catcher Jesus Montero.)

I guess you can’t fault the M’s for asking. But man, I can’t think of many young hitters who are more untouchable, or at least should be, than Brett Lawrie. Sure, Jesus Montero may be great one day, but at age 21 Lawrie hit .293/.373/.580, hit nine home runs drove in 25 RBI in only 171 plate appearances. And had some big, dramatic hits too.

Yankees sign top two draft picks

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The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.

Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.

Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.