Sources told ESPN’s Keith Law that University of Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray, who was widely expected to go at the top of the first round in Thursday’s MLB draft, sampled positive for Adderall during a predraft test.
One source with MLB that the positive test won’t result in a suspension, but will result in additional testing after he begins his pro career. Only those players with a prescription and a waiver are allowed to use Adderall in the majors and minors, and Gray reportedly had neither.
Expectations were that the Astros would take either Gray or Stanford right-hander Mark Appel with the first pick in Thursday’s draft and that the other would go to the Cubs second overall. However, that has changed in recent days; many now believe the Astros will go with a position player at No. 2 and that either Gray or Appel could slide to Colorado with the third pick or Minnesota with the fourth pick. If teams choose to shy away from Gray because of the news, he could slip to the Red Sox at No. 7 or the Pirates at No. 9.
Gray, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound Junior, is 10-2 with a 1.59 ERA and a 138/22 K/BB ratio in 119 innings for Oklahoma this year. He’s expected to face LSU in regional play this weekend.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.