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Angels finally sign Bootcheck

Saturday, September 9

Chris Bootcheck
Chris Bootcheck
Photo: Bob Libby

After months of wrangling and rumors of a transfer, Auburn righthander Chris Bootcheck finally signed with the Anaheim Angels, for a bonus of $1.8 million.

Bootcheck's signing left only righthander Matt Harrington, drafted by the Rockies, as the lone unsigned first-round pick. It also leaves Bootcheck's agent, Scott Boras, with three remaining unsigned second-round picks—shortstop Bobby Hill (Cubs), infielder Xavier Nady (Padres) and righthander Jason Young (Rockies).

"We felt all along Chris wanted to be an Angel," scouting director Donny Rowland told the Los Angeles Times, "and we knew all along we wanted Chris to be an Angel. He fits the profile of our philosophy of high-ceiling, high-reward players."

Bootcheck and the Angels took almost three months to bridge a $300,000 gap in the negotiations. Bootcheck's camp was asking for a $1.9 bonus, while the Angels were offering $1.6. The Angels signed their first first-round pick, Kissimmee, Fla., lefthander Joe Torres, for $2.08 million after drafting him with the No. 10 overall pick.

When both sides budged the deal got done, but not before Boras and company associate Mike Fiore floated rumors that Bootcheck, the No. 20 overall selection, would transfer to schools such as Georgia Tech and California.

The problem with those rumors was both schools already had started classes. Georgia Tech's coaching staff said Bootcheck never contacted the school about transferring.

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