39th pick Anthony Ranaudo wants top-10 cash from Red Sox

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LSU junior Anthony Ranaudo entered this year as Baseball America‘s top-ranked college prospect, but the 6-foot-7 right-hander fell to the Red Sox with the 39th overall pick because of an elbow injury and major struggles once he returned.
Boston’s financial advantage allows them to take draft-day gambles on high-upside prospects like Ranaudo when other teams shy away based on the risk or above-slot bonus demands, and sure enough he’s asking for first-round money to sign.
In fact, LSU coach David Grewe told Amanda Comak of the Cape Cod Times that Ranaudo won’t sign unless he’s “treated and viewed as one of the top 10 picks in the draft … in terms of their financial commitment.” Grewe added that Ranaudo “wants to come back to LSU and prove that he can be that guy.”
It’s an interesting decision for Ranaudo, because the Red Sox would no doubt be willing to give him at least $1 million (and perhaps quite a bit more) to sign. For a 20-year-old pitcher coming off an injury wrecked season that sounds pretty good, but the flip side is that returning to LSU with a healthy, dominant performance next season would almost surely make him a top-five pick in line for a bonus closer to $5 million.
Do you take $1 million now and get a head start on your pro career while setting things up for a life after baseball if the elbow problems prove serious? Or do you pass up $1 million for a chance to make several times that at the risk of ending up with a blown out arm? It’s probably a moot point, because Ranaudo is represented by Scott Boras and he surely won’t be advising him to take the guaranteed cash now unless the Red Sox cave in with lots of “extra” money.

Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.

The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.

Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.

Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.

The rest of the voting: