No. 1 pick Mark Appel has already signed, as have 3-4-5 picks Jonathan Gray, Kohl Stewart, and Clint Frazier, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that No. 2 pick Kris Bryant is “nowhere close to a deal” with the Cubs.
July 15 is the deadline for the Cubs to sign the San Diego slugger who nearly lapped the field with an NCAA-leading 31 homers this season and Heyman says he’s asking for more than the slot recommended $6.7 million bonus.
Bryant is represented by agent Scott Boras, who not surprisingly thinks his client should receive the draft’s highest bonus. As a junior Bryant has the same leverage as Mark Appel last season in that he can go back to school for his senior year, but the big difference is that Appel fell to No. 8 last year and passed on a $3.8 million offer from the Pirates. Bryant doesn’t have nearly as much to gain and a lot more to lose.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.