The Nats' first round pick will sign quickly

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While the Stephen Strasburg negotiations could be long and nasty, the Nats apparently aren’t going to have any trouble with their second first round pick:

The
Nationals, who took San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the
No. 1 overall selection, couldn’t resist taking another pitcher early.
[Drew] Storen was 7-1 with a 3.80 ERA and seven saves with 66
strikeouts in 42.2 innings this season . . . Storen, a draft-eligible
sophomore who could return to school, made it clear he won’t.

“It’s a done deal,” he said. “I can’t get a better situation than this. It’s a perfect situation for me.”

Note
to the Nats’ players: don’t make Storen your union rep once he makes
the big club, because tough negotiations aren’t exactly his forte

I
kid Storen. He may not have been the best player available when the
Nats’ picked him, but based on everything I’ve read, he’s a “finished
product,” as they say, who, as Matthew notes,
could very well be in the Nats’ bullpen very, very soon. If I was him
I’d (a) thank the Nats’ profusely for taking me where they did; and (b)
sign on the dotted line and get my butt throwing live pitches for money
ASAP. If he does that, he could get a nice political boost within an
organization that will no doubt be in Strasburg-related agony for the
next two months. Indeed, the Nats are going to have every incentive in
the world to showcase Storen, both to placate fans and to tease
Strasburg with all that he’s missing.

So good for the kid from Indianapolis, who will very likely benefit from the Boras-inflicted ugliness to come.

Report: Hanley Ramirez “eyed” in federal and state investigation

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Former Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez is reportedly being “eyed” in an ongoing federal and state investigation, per Michele McPhee of ABC News. McPhee did not elaborate on the exact nature of the investigation itself, but provided a few more details during an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday:

“Obviously, I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime,” McPhee said. “And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”

McPhee further clarified that she thinks the suspect — who was reportedly transporting 435 grams of fentanyl and a “large amount” of crack cocaine — was tied to “a sweeping federal case involving a substantial ring that’s being operated out of Lawrence, Massachusetts.”

Ramirez, the Red Sox, and Major League Baseball have all denied knowledge of any current investigation. According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Red Sox VP of media relations Kevin Gregg insisted that Ramirez had been dropped from the team for baseball reasons alone and had not been made aware of an investigation at the time of his release.

“Hanley has no knowledge of any of the allegations contained in this media report and he is not aware of any investigation,” the infielder’s agent, Adam Katz, added Friday.

The 34-year-old Ramirez was designated for assignment on May 25 and became a free agent on June 1. Prior to his release, he batted .254/.313/.395 over 195 plate appearances, 302 shy of the 497-PA threshold he would have needed to cross in order to activate his vesting option for 2019. He’s still owed the remainder of his $22 million salary for 2018.