No. 1 pick Carlos Correa and No. 2 pick Byron Buxton signed almost immediately and are both already playing in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners are close to coming to terms with No. 3 pick Mike Zunino.
Last week Zunino was named Baseball America‘s college player of the year and the University of Florida catcher was unable to sign until the Gators were eliminated from the College World Series, so the delay is nothing out of the ordinary and, like most picks, he’ll be under contract long before he would’ve been under the old collective bargaining agreement.
Slot value for the No. 3 pick is $5.2 million, so it’ll be interesting to see if Zunino can get that full amount after both Correa and Buxton took below-slot deals from the Astros and Twins.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.
Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.
When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.
The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.