Last-minute negotiations surround deadline
Over half of first-rounders were unsigned entering final day
Most of them have been down this path before, but that doesn't make it any easier.
Entering the final 24 hours before the 2010 First-Year Player Draft signing deadline on Monday night (12:01 a.m ET on Tuesday, to be precise), there were 17 players from the first round who had not signed. It will be an extremely busy, and stressful, time around baseball.
Dramatic deadline dealings are not foreign, but that likely won't cut into the volume of hand-wringing that will occur.
All three teams who picked at the top of the Draft know how this works, with a whole lot of nothing happening before a weekend of chaos. The Washington Nationals went through this with top pick Stephen Strasburg a year ago and once again, any announcement about this year's selection, Bryce Harper, will likely come right at the edge of the deadline.
The Pittsburgh Pirates got a respite last year, when they took Tony Sanchez with their top pick and he signed quickly (though they made last-minute deals with some other later-round selections). They know all about first-round drama, however, from going through the Pedro Alvarez saga in '08. Instead of dealing with agent Scott Boras this time around, they're talking to the Hendricks brothers, who are advising both first-round pick Jameson Taillon and second-rounder Stetson Allie.
The Baltimore Orioles are accustomed to this, as well. Last year, they signed Matt Hobgood without fanfare, but in '08 they brought Brian Matusz into the fold at the last minute and went the Boras route with Matt Wieters in '07. They knew exactly what they were getting into when they took Boras advisee Manny Machado with the third pick in June.
|1||Bryce Harper (WAS)||8/16||$6.25M|
|2||Jameson Taillon (PIT)||8/16||$6.50M|
|3||Manny Machado (BAL)||8/16||$5.25M|
|4||Christian Colon (KC)||6/25||$2.75M|
|5||Drew Pomeranz (CLE)||8/16||$2.65M|
|6||Barret Loux (ARI)||DNS|
|7||Matt Harvey (NYM)||8/16||$2.52M|
|8||Delino DeShields (HOU)||8/5||$2.15M|
|9||Karsten Whitson (SD)||DNS|
|10||Michael Choice (OAK)||7/30||$2.00M|
|11||Deck McGuire (TOR)||8/16||$2.00M|
|12||Yasmani Grandal (CIN)||8/16||$2.99M|
|13||Chris Sale (CWS)||6/22||$1.65M|
|14||Dylan Covey (MIL)||DNS|
|15||Jake Skole (TEX)||6/9||$1.55M|
|16||Hayden Simpson (CHC)||6/19||$1.06M|
|17||Josh Sale (TB)||8/16||$1.62M|
|18||Kaleb Cowart (LAA)||8/16||$2.30M|
|19||Mike Foltynewicz (HOU)||6/18||$1.30M|
|20||Kolbrin Vitek (BOS)||6/14||$1.35M|
|21||Alex Wimmers (MIN)||8/6||$1.33M|
|22||Kellin Deglan (TEX)||6/9||$1.00M|
|23||Christain Yelich (FLA)||8/16||$1.7M|
|24||Gary Brown (SF)||8/16||$1.45M|
|25||Zack Cox (STL)||8/16|
|26||Kyle Parker (COL)||8/16||$1.4M|
|27||Jesse Biddle (PHI)||6/10||$1.16M|
|28||Zach Lee (LAD)||8/16||$5.25M|
|29||Cam Bedrosian (LAA)||7/14||$1.16M|
|30||Chevez Clark (LAA)||7/8||$1.08M|
|31||Justin O'Conner (TB)||6/20||$1.02M|
|32||Cito Culver (NYY)||6/18||$954K|
"We're expecting things to hopefully pick up over the weekend, and we'll work our way toward an answer," Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan said. "There's not a tremendous amount going on right now. It's not any different than what I expected."
There's not a whole lot of information out there, even on the rumor mill, with teams clamping down on information. Here's what appears to be happening with the unsigned first-round selections beyond the top three:
No. 5 Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Indians: As the top college pitcher selected, Pomeranz could set the bar for the other college pitchers still waiting. There's not a lot to report from Cleveland at this point, but what happens here could help dictate what happens with Matt Harvey (No. 7) and Deck McGuire (No. 11).
No. 6 Barret Loux, RHP, Diamondbacks: Yes, he's the next college pitcher on the board, but a failed physical has made this one much more complicated. There were some rumors that Arizona was planning on walking away and taking a compensation pick next year, but there was also some word that dialogue has continued between the two sides.
No. 7 Matt Harvey, RHP, Mets: One of four Boras advisees on the unsigned list, the University of North Carolina product may want to see what happens with Pomeranz, but the Mets knew when they took him that it would likely take until Monday.
No. 9 Karsten Whitson, RHP, Padres: The picks right before and after this one more or less signed for slot, so the position here is pretty well laid out. That being said, Whitson is looking for a deal well above his slot, so there's a pretty wide gap to bridge this weekend.
No. 11 Deck McGuire, RHP, Blue Jays: Toronto has talked financial generalities and it appears the team has set its value for McGuire. The Jays claim they are prepared to walk away if McGuire balks at signing. McGuire would likely wait to know what's going on with Pomeranz and Harvey.
No. 12 Yasmani Grandal, C, Reds: The Reds have worked with Grandal's advisor -- Greg Genske and Legacy Sports -- before, when they signed Yonder Alonso right at the deadline in '08. Alonso got a Major League deal; will Grandal need the same to enter the fold?
No. 14 Dylan Covey, RHP, Brewers: It's been well-publicized that Covey is seeking an above-slot deal to sign. With slot for No. 14 believed to be around $1.7 million, the Covey camp has said $2 million should get it done. Look for this one to be finalized by Monday.
No. 17 Josh Sale, OF, Rays: While Tampa Bay was able to quickly sign its other first-rounder -- Justin O'Conner -- things haven't been moving when it comes to Sale. The sides have continued to talk, so this one should heat up over the weekend. Tampa Bay has six players in the first 10 rounds who are unsigned.
No. 18 Kaleb Cowart, 3B/RHP, Angels: Los Angeles knew he'd be a tough sign and expected it to go right up to the deadline. The Angels have no problems being aggressive when it comes to signing picks and there were reports recently that the two sides were close to an agreement.
No. 23 Christian Yelich, 1B, Marlins: The Marlins went down this road in '07, negotiating with a high school hitter from California right down to the wire. That worked out well, as Matt Dominguez signed right at the deadline (they inked lefty Chad James at the deadline last year as well), so there's optimism Florida will once again get their guy.
No. 24 -- Gary Brown, OF, Giants: Brown missed the end of his season at Cal State Fullerton with a broken finger, but should be healthy by now. The Giants hope that means he'll be able to sign his contract by the time the deadline arrives. Brown is the fourth Boras client on this first-round list and he may want to see what kind of bonuses some of the other hitters get.
No. 25 Zack Cox, 3B, Cardinals: There was buzz about St. Louis and supplemental first-round pick Tyrell Jenkins nearing an agreement. Cox, many believed, would be a last-minute deal. He's a Draft-eligible sophomore, which gives him a bit more leverage, and there were rumors following the Draft about a high bonus demand.
No. 26 Kyle Parker, OF, Rockies: Signing two-sport athletes can often be tricky and that's likely why things between Parker and the Rockies haven't gotten anywhere. There have been reports that Parker has turned down the Rockies to continue playing football at Clemson, but don't think this is done just yet. Instinct says the Rockies figure out a way to get this done, perhaps thinking outside the box and allowing Parker to play for Clemson this fall and then come to Spring Training in 2011.
No. 28 Zach Lee, RHP, Dodgers: As the Draft approached, word was that Lee was virtually unsignable due to his commitment to play quarterback at Louisiana State. The Dodgers took a shot, but reportedly there has been no communication between the sides since Draft day. That doesn't mean it can't happen in the next few days, but if there was one first-rounder who seems unlikely to come to terms, it's Lee.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.