No. 2 overall pick Byron Buxton was in Minnesota yesterday to undergo his pre-signing physical exam and also took batting practice at Target Field in the same hitting group as Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that Buxton has agreed to a $6 million signing bonus, which is slightly below the $6.2 million slot figure and substantially more than the $4.8 million Carlos Correa got from the Astros as the No. 1 pick. And barring something unforeseen, Buxton will be the highest-paid player in the 2012 draft class.
Buxton will likely be assigned to the Gulf Coast League, which is the lower level of rookie-ball, and if things go well there early on Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that the Twins could move the 18-year-old center fielder up one level of rookie-ball to the Appalachian League by season’s end.
Along with Buxton the Twins have signed 10 of their first 11 draft picks, with only Georgia Tech right-hander and No. 42 overall pick Luke Bard yet to sign.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.