Padres agree to deal with first-round pick shortstop Trea Turner

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The Padres announced yesterday that they have agreed to terms with each of their first three draft picks, including first-round pick shortstop Trea Turner.

Turner was selected No. 13 overall out of North Carolina State earlier this month. John Manuel of Baseball America reports that he’ll receive a $2.9 million bonus, which is $177,000 above the slot value.

Jim Callis of MLB.com writes that Turner “has the tools to become a dynamic leadoff hitter with his top-of-the-line speed and his ability to control the strike zone,” though there are questions about his bat. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 171 pounds, the 20-year-old should be able to stick at shortstop, but Callis writes that he needs to improve his consistency.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.

Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.

Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.

Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.