J.T. Chargois

MLB draft round two: Twins go for bullpen fixes with two picks


Notes from round two of the MLB draft…

– The Twins spent both of their picks on likely relievers, taking Northwestern State’s Mason Melotakis at No. 63 and Rice’s J.T. Chargois at No. 72.  Melotakis has uncommon velocity for a left-hander, reaching the mid-90s, but he lacks the plus second pitch that would have made him a higher pick. Chargois also lacks polish, having served as Rice’s first baseman in addition to his closing duties. Neither pitcher figures to make the quick impact one would typically want from a reliever drafted this high.

– The Yankees also had two picks, but they mixed it up, going for very different players. No. 89 overall selection Austin Aune is a shortstop/quarterback committed to TCU. The Yankees announced him as an outfielder, suggesting they see him fitting best in center field. At No. 94, they went with Miami’s offensive-minded catcher, Peter O’Brien. O’Brien was the Rockies’ third-round pick last year as a junior, but didn’t sign. He should be an easier get this time.

– Cincinnati grabbed the player the Baseball America rated as the top left on the board headed into round two, picking prep shortstop Tanner Rahier with the 78th selection. He figures to be a difficult sign after slipping, but if the Reds can lock him up, it’d be a nice get. Rahier projects as a third baseman, but he has nice power potential.

– Brenden Kline, who went No. 65 overall to the Orioles, projects to be the first player to reach the majors from the second round. A closer at Virginia, he projects as a setup man in the bigs, but he should be able to move very quickly.

– The Cardinals took their third third baseman of the draft already, grabbing high school product Carson Kelly out of Oregon. Supplemental first-round picks Stephen Piscotty and Patrick Wisdom were also labeled third basemen upon being drafted. The Cards are going to have quite a logjam at that position in the low minors next year, and while they’re certainly focusing more on talent than need, it makes one wonder if they think David Freese’s injuries will prevent him from being their long-term solution at the hot corner.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.