California high school right-hander Lucas Giolito was in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick before an elbow injury ended his season and he fell to the Nationals with the 16th pick.
Because of the new rules for signing bonuses the Nationals are somewhat limited in terms of what they can offer Giolito and even by saving money with other picks they have “only” $3 million or so to lure him away from college ball at UCLA.
If they truly felt Giolito is a No. 1 pick talent the Nationals could exceed their allotted money and accept the penalty of forfeiting next year’s first-round pick. And that’s perhaps not as far-fetched as it might initially seem considering the Nationals have a top-five record and would be picking near the bottom of the first round if the season ended today.
However, according to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times the team has ruled out that possibility and “under no circumstances” will give up next year’s first-rounder to sign Giolito. Of course, as the mid-July signing deadline approaches we’ll see if sharing that stance with reporters is partly a negotiating tactic.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.