It’s not every day a team sends down two former No. 1 draft picks.
Reliever Matt Bush, the first overall selection in the 2004 draft, and shortstop Tim Beckham, the first pick in 2008, were both demoted as part of the Rays’ roster cuts on Sunday.
Both moves were expected. The more surprising demotion was that of outfielder Brandon Guyer, who looked like he had a shot at a bench spot before going 4-for-25 with no extra-base hits or walks in Grapefruit League play.
Bush, a shortstop when he was drafted first by the Padres eight years ago, pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings this spring. Unfortunately, he put himself into a hole before the exhibition season even started. In an intrasquad game, he threw the pitch that left Evan Longoria with a badly bruised hand and knocked the All-Star out of competition for two weeks.
Beckham didn’t impress. He was 1-for-24 with eight strikeouts and one walk in camp.
Both players are expected to open the season at Triple-A Durham, Beckham as the team’s regular shortstop. Bush will probably work in a setup role.
The Rays’ other notable cut today was reliever Dane De La Rosa. He was demoted despite striking out 11 in 5 2/3 scoreless innings this spring.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Rangers have signed outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Gomez will earn $11.5 million next season.
Gomez, 31, struggled with the Astros to a .594 OPS before the club released him in mid-August. The Rangers signed him shortly thereafter and were immediately rewarded. Gomez hit .284/.362/.543 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in 130 plate appearances through the end of the regular season.
As presently constructed, Gomez would likely take over in center field with Nomar Mazara handling left and Shin-Soo Choo in right.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Diamondbacks are close to signing free agent reliever Fernando Rodney.
Rodney, 39, has been inconsistent over the past two seasons. This past season, he was lights-out with the Padres, posting a 0.31 ERA in 28 appearances. After the Marlins acquired him at the end of June, he struggled to a 5.89 ERA in 39 appearances.
Brad Ziegler, who closed for the Diamondbacks in the first half last season, went to the Red Sox in a midseason trade and is now a free agent. The Diamondbacks had six other relievers register a save, but only Daniel Hudson and Jake Barrett recorded more than one. Adding Rodney will give the club some stability in the ninth inning.