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.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.