Twins sign No. 5 pick Nick Gordon for $3.85 million

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Minnesota and first-round draft pick Nick Gordon have agreed to a $3.85 million signing bonus, which is the slot-recommended amount for the No. 5 overall pick.

Gordon is a high school shortstop from Florida. His dad, Tom Gordon, was a three-time All-Star pitcher who played 21 seasons in the majors and his brother, Dee Gordon, is the Dodgers’ starting second baseman and currently leads the National League in stolen bases.

Nick Gordon is several years away from potentially entering into the Twins’ plans, but Baseball America ranked him as a top-10 overall player in the draft class and the Twins believe he’ll definitely be able to stick at shortstop defensively long term.

Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.

Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.

His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.

The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.