Aaron Crow, the 12th overall pick in the 2009 draft, and the Royals have agreed to terms on a three-year major league contract that includes a $1.5 million bonus and $3 million in guaranteed money. If he spends the duration of the deal (which runs from 2010-12) in the major leagues, he’ll earn just short of $4.5 million.
The deal will be finalized in time for Crow to attend the opening of Kansas City’s instructional league program, which begins Saturday in Surprise, Ariz. It’s possible that he could pitch in the Arizona Fall League afterward.
Ranked as the top righthander available in the draft in 2008, when he pitched at Missouri, Crow went ninth overall that June to the Nationals. But the club and Crow’s agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks, couldn’t compromise on a deal, and the signing deadline passed with Crow seeking $4 million and Washington offering $3.5 million. Rather than return to Missouri, Crow signed with the Fort Worth Cats of the independent American Association.
Though his deal with the Royals offers less guaranteed money than the Nationals would have paid him, Crow placed a premium on being able to pitch for the big league club closest to his hometown of Wakarusa, Kan. Kansas City is about 75 miles away from Wakarusa.
Crow was the second American Association pitcher to sign on Thursday. Supplemental first-round pick Tanner Scheppers received a $1.25 million bonus from the Rangers.
Crow has one of the best fastball packages in recent drafts. At his best, he commands a hard 92-96 mph sinker and maintains that velocity into the late innings. His slider is also a plus pitch at times. He shouldn’t require much time in the minors, though some scouts have wondered if the effort in his delivery and his size (generously listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds) will make him more of a closer than a frontline starter.
The Royals spent heavily to lock up their top three picks in the 2009 draft, all of whom had signability issues. Kansas City committed $6.45 million in guaranteed money to Crow, third-rounder Wil Myers and fourth-rounder Chris Dwyer.
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