Just seconds before today’s 5:00 p.m. eastern time deadline the Nationals and No. 16 overall pick Lucas Giolito agreed to a $2.925 million bonus, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America.
Giolito was in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick before an elbow injury ended his season and questions about the California high school right-hander’s bonus demands likely caused him to drop even further, but the Nationals happily snatched up one of the draft’s highest-upside prospects in the middle of the first round and worked out a deal.
Slot value for the 16th pick was $2.125 million, so drawing things out until the last second earned Giolito an extra $800,000 and by going over their allotted budget the Nationals will have to pay a tax. They will not, however, have to forfeit a draft pick next year, which is something general manager Mike Rizzo insisted all along they were unwilling to do.
Veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon was released from his minor league deal with the Rangers on Saturday, MLB.com’s TR Sullivan reports. Despite his strong showing in spring training, Colon wasn’t considered a lock to make the Opening Day rotation. This may not be the end of his time with the team, however — according to multiple reports, the Rangers have expressed their desire to restructure a minor league deal with the right-hander and could work out an arrangement to keep him on as bullpen and Triple-A depth this season.
Colon, 44, is preparing for his 21st year in the majors. He split his 2017 campaign with the Braves and Twins, posting a cumulative 7-14 record in 28 starts and finishing the season with a 6.48 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 5.6 SO/9 in 143 innings. While those numbers were some of the worst he’d seen since 2009, the veteran righty made a compelling case in camp this spring, holding batters to six earned runs, four home runs, two walks and 10 strikeouts in 18 innings.
The Rangers are expected to open the season with a rotation comprised of Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Mike Minor and Martin Perez. Perez is working his way back from an elbow injury in his non-throwing arm and is slated to miss his first start of the season, which would provide a brief window of opportunity for Colon when the Rangers hit the road in April.