Baltimore 6, Tampa Bay 9
Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Summary
The Rays took two of three from Baltimore this weekend, including an extra-inning victory on Saturday after a blown save by Kevin Gregg. Yesterday afternoon Brian Matusz had difficulty commanding any of his offerings, and fluttered around 4-5 mph shy of his typical fastball velocity. It is still early in Matusz's season, and it can be expected that it will take several starts for him to once again get fully comfortable on the mound to the point that he can let things fly. If we are still seeing these results at the beginning of July, it will be time to worry.
Of interest to me this morning is the fact that Baltimore has announced that they have come to terms with 5th Rounder Matt Taylor (lhp, Middle Georgia Coll.). While it isn't uncommon for a 5th Rounder to sign this quickly, the fact that Baltimore is inking a JuCo player to a slot deal in the early rounds is solid news. It isn't uncommon for JuCo talents worthy of high round consideration to hold out for overslot deals, as more often than not they will have a chance to transfer to a 4-year school and increase their value significantly for the following year's draft. With Taylor's deal announced now, we can be certain Baltimore is getting him for slot (overslot deals cannot be announced without approval of MLB, and they would not give such approval this early). That means more money for some of the later potential overslot guys, including TCU's Jason Coats (lf).
Further heightening my excitement for Baltimore's slot pull is the fact that conversations with Area Scouts this weekend revealed a number of 4th and 5th Rounders who have stated overslot demands after claiming they would sign for slot pre-draft. Ultimately these deals will all get done, but it is certainly preferable to have the player and the drafting organization on the same page. The harder either side digs in, the more confrontational the other side must be in negotiating. Put another way, the greater the distance between player/organization demands, the greater the likelihood that someone is going to get their feelings hurt during negotiations. Great job by Joe Jordan and the signing scout (and will give a nod to Lady Luck, as well) for reading the situation correctly with Taylor and getting this deal done quickly.
Part 1 of our review of the Depot Shadow Draft and the O's top ten picks will post around 1pm, with a look at Rounds 1 through 5.