Braves

Braves win grievance filed on behalf of top draft pick Carter Stewart

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The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, the Braves gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical (draftees cannot be given medical examinations by MLB clubs before being picked). Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.

The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent and to prevent the Braves from getting a compensation pick in the 2019 draft, which all teams who offer a sufficiently high bonus to a draftee yet fail to sign him receive. The grievance was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance has now been rejected, reports David O’Brien of The Athletic.

For Stewart, this means that he is not a free agent. Presumably knowing he would lose, Stewart recently enrolled in a Florida junior college, where he will play baseball this spring. Since it is only a two-year school, he will be eligible for the 2019 draft. If he had gone to a four-year school — he had been offered a scholarship to Mississippi State — he would’ve had to have waited until after his junior year to re-enter the draft.

For the Braves, this means that they will receive a compensation pick for not signing Stewart. It will be the ninth overall pick in the upcoming draft. They will also have their regular draft pick, which is the 21st overall slot.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.