The Yankees agreed to terms with their first round pick and would-be-shortstop-of-the-future Cito Culver. He’ll receive a signing bonus of $940,000, which is reportedly the Bud Selig-recommended slot.
Why are the Yankees suddenly paying slot? A couple of reasons. The main one is that the 17-year-old Culver wasn’t
projected as a first-round pick by many scouts and he’d probably accept whatever you threw at him.
If that doesn’t explain it all this might: right after the draft Culver went to his high school prom in a white tux with Yankees-blue pinstripes. I’m guessing after that show of enthusiasm Brian Cashman knew that Culver had no intention of taking that scholarship
from the University of Maryland and thus not much in the way of negotiation leverage. Never let them know what you’re thinking, Cito.
In other news, the current Yankees shortstop is old enough to be Culver’s father.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.
Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.
Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.
Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.