Blue Jays sign first-rounder Marcus Stroman for $1.8 million

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Duke right-hander Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays have agreed to a $1.8 million deal that’s the exact slot amount for the No. 22 overall pick, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America.

Baseball America ranked Stroman as the 10th-best player in the draft and ESPN.com rated him 17th, and he’s a very intriguing prospect because his mid-90s fastball comes from a 5-foot-9, 185-pound frame.

He started at Duke and put up huge strikeout totals, but the Blue Jays may be tempted to move him to the bullpen and if that happens Stroman could reach the majors in a hurry.

The Red Sox to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.