Two first-rounders agreed to terms Friday. Boston College catcher Tony Sanchez, the No. 4 overall pick, accepted a $2.5 million bonus from the Pirates. Indiana righthander Eric Arnett, the No. 26 choice, will receive a $1.197 million bonus from the Brewers.
Sanchez’ deal was slightly higher than MLB’s bonus recommendations, estimated to be $2.475 million at No. 4, while Arnett’s equals MLB’s guideline at No. 26. The commissioner’s office decided to reduce all slot recommendations 10 percent from a year ago, when the industry spent a record $188 million on the draft.
Pittsburgh’s decision to pay a full-slot bonus to Sanchez is stunning. The top talents on the board at No. 4 all had asking prices significantly higher than $2.5 million, so the Pirates decided to choose a lesser player and spend more money later in the draft. Sanchez is a defensive standout but several clubs questioned his offensive potential, and Baseball America rated him the 30th-best player available in its final predraft rankings.
The only other team known to consider Sanchez in the top half of the first round was the Royals at No. 12, where the slot recommendation is an estimated $1.719 million. Bonus recommendations at the bottom of the first round, where Sanchez was projected to go, average about $1 million.
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