When I saw this press release — it said “Tampa Bay’s Sale Suspended” — I said to myself “wait, who is buying the Rays? I didn’t know they were on the market.” Then it all became clear:
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Tampa Bay Rays Minor League outfielder Joshua Sale has received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension of Sale, who is currently on the roster of the Single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League.
You may remember Josh Sale from such films as “I verbally berated and humiliated a stripper and thought that was something to brag about” and “I received a 50-game suspension in 2012 for testing positive for meth.” I remember him from an evaluator familiar with Sale once telling me that he was perhaps the single most immature prospect he has ever seen.
Seems like things are going just great for the guy who was the 17th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He’s doing great things to help make all that he can out of his career. All on top of a 2014 line of .238/.313/.344 as a 22-year-old at high-A ball.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.