The Rays will announce today that they have signed No. 1 overall draft pick Tim Beckham to a draft-record $6.15 million bonus.
Beckham, a five-tool shortstop from Griffin (Ga.) High, eclipses the bonus record set by Justin Upton, who received $6.1 million from the Diamondbacks as the No. 1 overall pick in 2005. Both Beckham’s and Upton’s bonuses were spread over five years as part under MLB provisions for two-sport athletes. The highest up-front bonus ever is the $6 million the Orioles gave Matt Wieters as the fifth overall choice in 2007.
Tampa Bay, the first team ever to own the top pick in consecutive drafts, gave 2007 No. 1 overall choice David Price a $5.6 million bonus as part of a six-year, $8.5 million major league contract. But Price’s deal was heavily backloaded, and MLB calculated its present value at $4.8 million.
Beckham signed for much more than MLB’s recommendation for the No. 1 slot–believed to be $4 million–and such deals usually aren’t announced until late in the summer. But he apparently will become the quickest top choice to sign since Matt Bush and the Padres agreed to terms on draft day in 2004.
Though the team has yet to make an official announcement, Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (Baseball America’s Rays correspondent) reports that a blue Rays uniform with Beckham’s name on the back is hanging in a locker next to B.J. Upton’s in Tampa Bay’s locker room.
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