Mark Appel

2013 MLB Draft: Day one winners and losers


It’s a tradition here at Hardball Talk to pick the winners and losers from the draft, even though we’re years away from having any idea who came out on top. And we’re not ones to mess with tradition, no matter how silly it may make us look in the end. Let’s rock.


Mark Appel: Appel turned down $6 million in a predraft deal with the Astros that would have made him the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft and then declined a $3.8 million offer from the Pirates after being picked eighth overall. This year, it seems likely that the Astros and Appel were able to find common ground prior to the draft; the Astros had too many alternatives with the first overall pick to have drafted Appel without knowing what it’d take to sign him. Count on it being at least a bit more than the $6 million Appel turned down last year. That doesn’t truly make him a winner — he might already be in the majors collecting service time right now had he done a deal with the Astros last year — but it’s certainly the best-case scenario for Appel given the choices he made.

Marlins: The Marlins are so far away from contending that it was kind of a surprise to see them take the most polished college bat in the draft with the sixth overall pick, particularly in light of their typical high school preference. In fact, when they selected North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran, he became their first college position player taken in the top 30 since Mark Kotsay in 1996. Moran isn’t going to offer the power one tends to look for from third base, but he projects as an excellent OBP guy and perhaps an ideal No. 2 hitter. The Marlins also got pretty good value with high school left-hander Matt Krook at No. 35 and college right-hander Trevor Williams at No. 44. Their final pick of the day, right-hander Colby Suggs, is a college reliever who could help next year.

Pirates: High school outfielder Austin Meadows figured to be off the board by pick seven, but he was still sitting there for the Pirates at No. 9. They’re not going to need him in center field, but he has plenty of power potential and a terrific arm for right field. That No. 9 selection was the Pirates’ compensation for failing to sign Appel last year. With their own first-rounder, they got the top prep catcher available, Reese McGuire.

Yankees: With three picks at the end of the first round, the Yankees could have gone for it and drafted Indiana State left-hander Sean Manaea, a top-five talent with injury questions. However, to sign Manaea, the team may well have had to skimp on the other two picks and draft lesser talents. Instead, the Yankees played it straight up, taking three guys at Nos. 26, 32 and 33 who should all sign for around slot. Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo has power and questions about his defense and Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge has big-time strength that hasn’t quite turned into as many homers as hoped, but the best pick was probably the last: high school left-hander Ian Clarkin possesses the makings of an excellent three-pitch arsenal.


Giants: GM Brian Sabean’s Giants teams have had quite the knack for finding undervalued pitchers in the draft. The offensive track record, on the other hand, is very bleak indeed, with Buster Posey, who most everyone viewed as a stud, surrounded by a number of busts like Tony Torcato, Todd Linden and Wendell Fairley. So, there’s certainly no reason to give Sabean the benefit of the doubt when he drafted shortstop Christian Arroyo 25th and third baseman Ryder Jones 64th on Thursday. Neither high school player made’s top 100 for the draft. Arroyo placed 97th on the list of ESPN’s Keith Law, while Jones was absent. Sabean thinks he’s sees something others don’t, but he probably felt that way about Jackson Williams, Emmanuel Burriss and Arturo McDowell, too.

Nationals: Because of the Rafael Soriano signing, the Nationals didn’t make their first pick until 68th overall. When they did finally make their first choice, they took a guy in Jake Johnasen who had a 5.40 ERA in 88 1/3 innings for Dallas Baptist University this year. For what it’s worth, Law had Johansen ranked 66th in his top 100, so he doesn’t see it as an overdraft. Still, as a big right-hander with inconsistent mechanics and a poor track record, he’s quite the project.

Nepotism picks: With the sons of Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte and Torii Hunter and Jamie Moyer all available, there was reason to suspect an MLB team might reach for a name, much as the Dodgers once did for Preston Mattingly and the Brewers did for Cutter Dykstra. Alas, the names all remain on the board as we head into round three. The only sons of major leaguers picked  so far were Orioles’ first-rounder Hunter Harvey, the son of former All-Star closer Bryan Harvey, and Riley Unroe, the Rays’ second-round selection. His father, Tim Unroe, got 95 at-bats in the majors from 1995-2000.

Jon Denney: Denney, a high school catcher committed to Arkansas, was expected to go in round one and actually showed up at the draft, waiting for his name to be called. It never was, not after 73 picks.

Kyle Serrano: Serrano might have scared teams off with his commitment to play for his father, Dave Serrano, at the University of Tennessee. The 17-year-old right-hander was thought to be a likely late first- or early second-round pick.

Marlins have begun extension talks with Dee Gordon

Dee Gordon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.

Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of

As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.

“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”

The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.