Cards optimistic they can sign Miller
Top Draft pick flies to St. Louis for Monday physical
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have scheduled a Monday physical for top Draft pick Shelby Miller and the righty is on his way to St. Louis, but general manager John Mozeliak insists that the sides have not yet agreed on a contract for the 19th overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
He does, however, feel good with the way negotiations are going as Monday's 11 p.m. CT signing deadline approaches.
"The most important thing is that we have dialogue going," Mozeliak said. "I'm optimistic, I hate handicapping myself. I do feel good about it, but I'd hate to wake up tomorrow and find out that we just couldn't dot an I or cross a T and then not get it done.
"We still don't have a deal in place, but the fact is, I have a sense of optimism and I think they do, too."
Miller, a right-handed high school pitcher from Texas, was regarded as possibly the top prep hurler in the Draft. Although he fell to the Cardinals at No. 19, a source close to the negotiations made it clear that any deal between Miller and the Cardinals will include a signing bonus higher than the "slot" money for the No. 19 pick recommended by the Commissioner's Office. The recommendation is $1.386 million.
"[We are aware] of the industry and what's trying to be accomplished," Mozeliak said on Saturday. "But I think you have to do what's best for the organization."
Miller has a commitment to play college baseball at Texas A&M, but said when he was drafted that he strongly preferred to sign and play professional baseball. Thus, it's a matter of finding terms sufficient enough to coax him to the pros without making the Cardinals or the industry blanch.
"College can come later," Miller said on Draft day. "Right now, I'm definitely looking to sign a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. It feels good. That's just something we're going to have to sit down and do with the Cardinals staff and work the contract out. Ultimately, my goal is to play professional ball and to play for the Cardinals as soon as I possibly can."
Mozeliak cautioned that the scheduled physical doesn't mean that a deal is close to getting done, but things look good for the Cardinals as the deadline nears.
"Anytime you do a deal, its pending a physical," Mozeliak said. "We do this for all players. Say this is June 10, we could have the physical after. In this case, you can't, because you have to have everything in place by the deadline. Do I think he wouldn't hop on a plane if he thought there was no chance? You'd have to ask them, but you're probably right."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Associate reporter B.J. Rains contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.