Tigers Draft Report
Tigers Land Tar Heels Lefty
DETROIT--If Andrew Miller
turns out like Justin Verlander
and Cameron Maybin
, the Tigers won't care how long it takes to get him signed.
It could take a while. The whole reason the Tigers were able to take
Miller with the sixth pick in the first round is that the North
Carolina lefthander made it known that he won't be an easy sign.
Reports before the draft suggested Miller would want a big league
contract worth as much as $8 million.
The Royals, who had been expected to make Miller the first-overall
pick, turned away from him. So did Colorado, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and
Seattle. That left him for the Tigers, who never believed until two
hours before the draft that Miller could be theirs.
"I was stunned," scouting director David Chadd
Stunned, but pleased. The Tigers grabbed Miller, and prepared for whatever lies ahead.
"I don't want to have a long, ugly negotiation," Miller said. "I'll just hope for the best."
So will the Tigers, who are used to this kind of thing by now.
Two years ago, they publicly pulled their offer to Verlander, before
signing him (to a big league contract for a guaranteed $4.5 million) in
late October. Last year, they publicly cut off negotiations with
Maybin, before signing him in late September for $2.65 million.
Maybin got off to a good start this year at low Class A West Michigan,
before he was sidelined by a contusion on his knuckle. Verlander is in
the Tigers rotation, and he's a leading contender for American League
Rookie of the Year.
"I just look at it as getting the best player with the pick," Chadd
said. "I'll take on challenges. The bottom line is Andrew Miller wants
to play, and wants to play for the Tigers."
Chadd didn't talk to Miller or his representatives before the draft, but he called Miller soon after the Tigers picked him.
"I'm happy to be a Detroit Tiger," Miller said. "It certainly sounded like they were excited. I hope they're happy."
• Chadd said the Tigers didn't set out to draft a ton of college
players, but as it turned out they didn't take a high schooler until
the 11th round. "We don't set up the board one way or the other," Chadd
said. "It just worked out that way." Among the college players the
Tigers took were the players of the year in both the Southeastern
Conference (Ryan Strieby of Kentucky in the fourth round) and the Big
10 (Ronnie Bourquin of Ohio State in the second round).
• Similarly, the Tigers didn't particularly focus on position players,
but after Miller they didn't choose another pitcher until the seventh
• With few top catchers in their system and few top catchers available
in the draft, the Tigers were happy to get Western Kentucky's Jordan Newton
in the sixth round. "We like his athleticism and his catch-and-throw qualities," Chadd said.
• A year after drafting Sacramento City (Calif.) CC catcher Ben Petralli
in the 15th round and not signing him, the Tigers drafted Petralli in
the 17th round this year. Petralli is the son of former major league
catcher Geno Petralli