Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune was informed by the agent for No. 2 pick Byron Buxton on Sunday that a contract agreement is drawing near between the Twins and the 18-year-old outfielder.
Buxton is scheduled to arrive in the Twins Cities on Monday morning and will likely take his customary pre-signing physical Tuesday. If all goes well, a deal should be formally announced by Wednesday night.
The recommended slot bonus for the second overall pick this year is $6.2 million, but Astros selection Carlos Correa — a high school shortstop and the top overall pick in last week’s amateur draft — signed for only $4.8 million. And that might have a small effect on the market for the players taken below him.
Buxton is a five-tool talent. He once hit a ball into the top row of the left field bleachers at Wrigley Field.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.
Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.
It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.