It’s not every day a team sends down two former No. 1 draft picks.
Reliever Matt Bush, the first overall selection in the 2004 draft, and shortstop Tim Beckham, the first pick in 2008, were both demoted as part of the Rays’ roster cuts on Sunday.
Both moves were expected. The more surprising demotion was that of outfielder Brandon Guyer, who looked like he had a shot at a bench spot before going 4-for-25 with no extra-base hits or walks in Grapefruit League play.
Bush, a shortstop when he was drafted first by the Padres eight years ago, pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings this spring. Unfortunately, he put himself into a hole before the exhibition season even started. In an intrasquad game, he threw the pitch that left Evan Longoria with a badly bruised hand and knocked the All-Star out of competition for two weeks.
Beckham didn’t impress. He was 1-for-24 with eight strikeouts and one walk in camp.
Both players are expected to open the season at Triple-A Durham, Beckham as the team’s regular shortstop. Bush will probably work in a setup role.
The Rays’ other notable cut today was reliever Dane De La Rosa. He was demoted despite striking out 11 in 5 2/3 scoreless innings this spring.
SAN DIEGO — Aaron Judge has agreed to return to the New York Yankees on a nine-year, $360 million contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press because the deal had not been announced.
Judge will earn $40 million per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history.
Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5 million over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.
The 6-foot-7 Judge bet on himself — and won.
Judge set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.
New York was swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
Judge, 30, was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat.
A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.