CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Marlins have signed No. 2 overall pick Tyler Kolek to a $6 million bonus. The terms were first reported by Jim Callis of MLB.com.
Kolek actually signed for $821,000 under the slot value for the pick, so the Marlins have extra draft pool money to use elsewhere, but Callis notes that it’s still third-highest bonus ever for a high school pitcher. Brady Aiken, who was selected No. 1 overall by the Astros this year, and Pirates prospect Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon each received $6.5 million.
Checking in at a sturdy 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Kolek is an 18-year-old right-hander out of Texas who is best known for his 100 mph fastball. Not surprisingly, he still has some work to do with his command and secondary pitches, but the upside is immense.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.