We’ve already reported that despite MLB slashing bonus recommendations by 10 percent across the board, as well as implementing rule changes it believed would give clubs more leverage, bonuses increased in the first round this year. The 2007 crop averaged $2,098,083 in bonuses, up 9 percent from 2006 ($1,933,333) and trailing only 2001 ($2,154,280) and 2002 ($2,106,793) in draft history. After doing some more number-crunching today, we discovered that bonuses were up through the first five rounds–the rounds completely slotted by MLB. [...] Continue Reading »
One man’s assessment of the winners and losers as the first annual Draft Deadline Day Madness is behind us:
Thaaaa Yankees: No John Sterling call necessary. The Yankees did what many clubs feared they might do: Flex their financial muscle in the draft and sign whoever they want, for whatever they want to pay. The Yankees spent more than $7.4 million in bonuses to sign their picks in the first 10 rounds, with even more committed to first-round pick Andrew Brackman in the form of a major league contract.
That said, giving so much money to Brackman may not work out. But the Yankees are unique in that they can absorb such mistakes with little consequence. Remember Cuban defector Andy Morales ($4.5 million), or Japanese pitcher Kats Maeda ($1.5 million)? Neither do the Yankees. [...] Continue Reading »
We’ve tracked down the bonus on Rangers supplemental first-rounder Neil Ramirez. It’s $1 million. Texas also has signed another of its sandwich picks, Julio Borbon. Borbon received a major league deal that hasn’t been officially announced because it awaits approval by the Major League Baseball Players Association, which will be a formality. Borbon got an $800,000 bonus as part of a four-year contract worth $1.3 million. And despite issuing a press release last night indicating that they had signed fifth-rounder John Gast and 12th-rounder Drew Pomeranz, the Rangers didn’t get those deals done. They retracted the release shortly after issuing it.
Just noticed that of the top 14 picks in the draft, six got better deals and two equaled the bonuses form their slot counterparts in the 2006 draft. Yes, the slots were lowered by 10 percent this year. But it’s still interesting to note that 14 of the 30 first-rounders received above-slot bonuses, compared to just five in 2006. All told, 26 of the players in the first five rounds are known to have signed for above slot this year, and I believe we’ll learn that at least two more (Rangers supplemental first-rounders Julio Borbon and Neil Ramirez) will come to light later Thursday morning. Last year, 28 of the players in the equivalent number of picks (184, which carried through more than half the sixth round in 2006) signed for more than slot. As best as we can determine, 14 players went unsigned through the first five rounds, up from four in 2006. In the first 10 rounds, 28 players went unsigned, up from 20 a year ago. And now I really am off to bed. Though tempted to play a game of Madden 08 . . .
A few quick items before I head off for some much-needed sleep . . .
• Another Scott Boras client signed late. South Carolina righthander Wynn Pelzer (ninth round, Padres) signed for $190,000. Pelzer fractured his left kneecap when he was struck by a line drive while pitching in the Cape Cod League this summer.
• For all the effort MLB put into reducing bonus slots by 10 percent from a year ago and trying to strong-arm teams into toeing the line, the average first-round bonus went up anyway. All 30 first-rounders signed in both years, with the 2006 crop averaging $1,933,333 and this year’s group averaging $2,098,083. The 2007 average is also the highest since 2002 ($2,106,793).
• Matt Wieters (first round, Orioles) received the highest up-front bonus in draft history at $6 million, and the second-highest all-time to Justin Upton’s $6.1 million (spread over five years) from the Diamondbacks.
• New bonus records were set Wednesday for the fourth round (Brad Suttle, Yankees, $1.3 million), fifth round (Jake Arrieta, Orioles, $1.1 million) and sixth round (Jack McGeary, Nationals, $1.8 million). McGeary broke the record set by Cale Iorg (Tigers, $1.4975 million) on Tuesday. Carmen Angelini (Yankees) got the largest 10th-round bonus ever given to a non-draft-and-follow at $1 million, and the second-highest ever behind Luis Cota’s $1.05 million from the Royals.
Before their game Wednesday night against the Royals, the Rangers issued a press release announcing the signings of supplemental first-round picks Julio Borbon and Neal Ramirez, fifth-rounder John Gast and 12th-rounder Drew Pomeranz. Minutes later, the Rangers retracted the release and said it was premature. And by the time the Draft Deadline clock struck midnight, the Rangers issued another release, announcing only the signing of Ramirez and not addressing the status of the other three players. Terms for Ramirez weren’t immediately available. There likely will be at least a few deals that come to light Thursday that weren’t publicly known before the deadline expired. So continue to check in with our Draft Blog, as we’ll be on the lookout for more in the morning.
After signing high school first basemen Anthony Rizzo (sixth round, $325,000) and David Mailman (seventh round, $550,000) earlier on Deadline Day, the Red Sox have announced four more over-slot signings.
Most notably, Boston landed fifth-round third baseman Will Middlebrooks, considered to be a supplemental first-round talent for $925,000. The Red Sox also signed 16th-round righthander Austin Bailey ($285,000), 17th-round first baseman/outfielder Jaren Matthews ($250,000) and 23rd-round lefty Drake Britton ($700,000).
Editor’s note: Though he agreed to terms that were submitted to the commissioner’s office, Matthews later changed his mind about signing. No word on how this will affect his NCAA eligibility, as he plans to attend Rutgers. [...] Continue Reading »
The Angels’ loss is North Carolina’s gain. Righthander Matt Harvey, out of Fitch High in Groton, Conn., did not come to terms with the Angels and instead will honor his commitment to North Carolina. Harvey was Los Angeles’ second pick, coming in the third round and 118th overall.
Harvey entered the year as the top-ranked high school prospect in the country and threw well for most of the season, with a heavy 91-94 mph fastball and power curveball, as well as a promising changeup. However, Harvey’s stock slipped a bit late as he lost velocity, and his Scott Boras Corporation representation didn’t help matters either, making his signability difficult. The Angels didn’t have consistent contact with the Harvey family and made a late offer–said to be in the $1.5 million neighborhood–to sign him that proved too little, too late.
Less than 20 minutes after signing his new deal, the newest Cub, No. 3 overall draft pick Josh Vitters, was on WGN during the Cubs-Reds game to talk about turning pro.
Vitters was understandably excited about his new deal, but he also seemed somewhat relieved to see it actually get worked out.
“A lot of people were waiting for the deadline because of these new deadline rules. I’m glad for how it worked out,” Vitters said. “I didn’t sleep good last night. I was worried it wouldn’t get done.” [...] Continue Reading »
All 30 first-rounders are done. No. 5 overall pick Matt Wieters signed at the last second with the Orioles. He received a straight $6 million bonus.
Wieters’ bonus amount isÂ the second-highest in draft history,Â behind Justin Upton’s $6.1 million as the No. 1 overall pick in 2005. However, Upton’s bonus was spread over five years under MLB provisions for two-sport athletes, so Wieters’ $6 million is the highest up-front bonus payment in draft history.
Contributing: John Manuel.
TheÂ Cubs have signed No. 3 overall pick Josh Vitters for a $3.2 million bonus.
This just in . . . Jack McGeary (sixth round) just signed with the Nationals. McGeary gets a $1.8 million bonus, which is a record for his round, and Washington will allow him to attend Stanford as a full-time student and play baseball in the summers until he graduates. The Nats are also picking up the cost of his education, with $200,000 via the college scholarship plan.
Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star just got word that Mike Moustakas signed with the Royals. Moustakas will get a $4 million straight bonus.
Contributing: John Manuel.
The Diamondbacks have signed No. 9 overall pick Jarrod Parker for $2.1 million, up from his MLB recommended slot of $1.89 million. As with the three players taken directly behind him (Madison Bumgarner by the Giants, Phillippe Aumont by the Mariners, Matt Dominguez by the Marlins), Parker successfully held out for 2006 slot money rather than MLB’s 2007 recommendation.
With 45 minutes to go, three first-rounders remain unsigned: Mike Moustakas (No. 2, Royals), Josh Vitters (No. 3, Cubs) and Matt Wieters (No. 5, Orioles).
The Orioles announced a seven-figure signing of a Scott Boras clientÂ . . . but no, it’s not Matt Wieters. Baltimore landed Texas Christian righthander Jake Arrieta for a $1.1 million bonus.
That’s a new record for a fifth-rounder, surpassing the $900,000 that the Braves gave Matt McClendon in 1999.
To this point on Draft Deadline Week, we’ve refrained from speculation and only reported confirmed signings (or definitive non-signings, as the case may be). But with a little less than two hours before the deadline, we’re going to reveal the latest gossip we’re hearing on negotiations. Remember, this is gossip, not hard facts, and it comes from industry sources but not the clubs or agents involved.
The Royals reportedly have upped their offer to No. 2 overall pickÂ Mike Moustakas from MLB’s slot recommendation of $3.15 million to $4 million. Moustakas, advised by Scott Boras, appears to be seeking $7 million.
The Orioles reportedly have offered No. 5 choice Matt Wieters a major league contract worth slightly less than the guaranteed $8.5 million deal that No. 1 pick David Price got from the Devil Rays today. Wieters, also advised by Scott Boras,Â apparentlyÂ isÂ looking for more than $10 million.
The Red Sox have signed another slugging high school first baseman to an above-slot deal. David Mailman, a seventh-round choice, has agreed to terms for $550,000.
The Marlins have signed California high school third baseman Matt Dominguez, the 12th overall pick, for $1.8 million. His draft slot was $1.62 million, while his bonus represents the 2006 slot figure.
Four hours before the midnight deadline for signing draft picks, 23 players selected in the first five rounds have yet to come to terms. Teams are negotiations with several of those draftees, but according to BA sources and reports by correspondents, these players have no chance of signing:
Second round: RHP Joshua Fields (Braves), 1B Hunter Morris (Red Sox).
Third round: RHP Tommy Toledo (Padres).
Fourth round: OF Kyle Russell (Cardinals).
Fifth round: RHP Kyle Blair (Dodgers).
The Red Sox are expected to be major players in above-slot signings, though they’ve been mostly quiet on that front. Their first of the day has just been announced, however, as sixth-rounder Anthony Rizzo has signed for $325,000. A Florida high school first baseman, Rizzo stands out most for his power.
Boston also is working on deals with Texas high school third baseman Will Middlebrooks (fifth round) and North Carolina prep first baseman David Mailman (seventh round). Middlebrooks was considered a supplemental first-round talent but scared teams off with a seven-figure price tag. The Red Sox aren’t expected to sign second-rounder Hunter Morris, an Alabama high school first baseman, but could make a play for several late-round picks who were high-ceiling prospects with signability questions.
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