No. 2 overall pick Byron Buxton was in Minnesota yesterday to undergo his pre-signing physical exam and also took batting practice at Target Field in the same hitting group as Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that Buxton has agreed to a $6 million signing bonus, which is slightly below the $6.2 million slot figure and substantially more than the $4.8 million Carlos Correa got from the Astros as the No. 1 pick. And barring something unforeseen, Buxton will be the highest-paid player in the 2012 draft class.
Buxton will likely be assigned to the Gulf Coast League, which is the lower level of rookie-ball, and if things go well there early on Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that the Twins could move the 18-year-old center fielder up one level of rookie-ball to the Appalachian League by season’s end.
Along with Buxton the Twins have signed 10 of their first 11 draft picks, with only Georgia Tech right-hander and No. 42 overall pick Luke Bard yet to sign.
It used to be that the top dog in a team’s baseball operations department was the general manager. That has changed over the past several years with some combination of title inflation, a genuine addition of supervisory layers and, on some level, employe poaching insurance leading to the top dog now being called, usually, a “president of baseball operations.”
Brewers’ general manager David Stearns is the latest to assume that tile, as the club just announced that he has been promoted to Milwaukee’s president of baseball operations. He has also received a contract extension of unknown length.
Not a big shock given how well the Brewers did in 2018, winning the NL Central title and playing in the NLCS. It’s also worth noting — with a nod to that “employee poaching insurance” item above — that Stearns has drawn some interest from other organizations. It’s thus not unfair to see the promotion is both a thanks for a job well done and a means of keeping other teams’ hands off of him, as employees are generally not given permission to interview for lateral moves, but are given permission to interview for promotions.
The Mudville Nine may have wanted to steal him from Milwaukee, but for Stearns to get a promotion from where he is now would require the creation of some other lofty title.