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.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.