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08/17/10 12:30 AM ET
Tribe beats deadline to ink top Draft picks
Pomeranz, Washington, Wolters signings go down to wire
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- As expected, the final day before the Draft pick signing deadline was a busy one for the Indians, and it was not all talk. There was plenty of ink on paper and plenty of money trading hands. The Tribe agreed to terms with No. 1 pick Drew Pomeranz ($2.65 million), No. 2 pick LeVon Washington ($1.2 million) and No. 3 pick Tony Wolters ($1.35 million) mere minutes before the midnight ET Tuesday deadline. It was an impressive accomplishment for the Indians, given speculation heading into the day that they might have to settle for signing just one or two of those highly touted picks. And that wasn't all. Earlier in the day, the Indians came to terms with No. 4 selection Kyle Blair ($580,000 ) and No. 8 pick Alex Lavisky ($1 million), a local product. Needless to say, the coffee was brewing and the calculators were churning in the Indians' front office. The main objective, of course, was to sign Pomeranz, who, at No. 5 overall, was the Tribe's highest Draft selection since Paul Shuey was taken second overall in 1992. Pomeranz, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound lefty, is coming off his junior season at Ole Miss, where he was 9-2 with a 2.24 ERA, 139 strikeouts and 49 walks in 100 2/3 innings over 16 starts this year. At the time he was drafted, Pomeranz, who opted to go to college after the Rangers drafted him out of high school in the 12th round in 2007, made it pretty clear he felt ready to turn pro. And all along, there seemed to be little doubt the Indians would find common ground with him on a signing bonus. But as was the case with several other top picks (only three of the top 10 overall had signed, heading into Monday), negotiations with Pomeranz didn't truly heat up until the final hours, and a deal didn't get consummated until the final minutes. Pomeranz was not expected to pitch for a Minor League team this season, so his holdout likely didn't cost him any true developmental time. Last year, top pick Alex White signed minutes before the deadline and officially began his professional career with a short stint in the Arizona instructional league in the fall. Washington, a product of Chipola (Fla.) Junior College, is a Scott Boras client who was the 30th overall selection by the Rays in the 2009 Draft and opted not to sign. Now that he's in the fold, the Indians, who took Washington 55th overall, hope to groom him into a potential leadoff hitter. Washington is speedy and athletic. Wolters, a shortstop who recently finished playing for Team USA's 18-and-under national team, had committed to the University of San Diego but will instead begin his pro career with the Tribe. The 21-year-old Blair, a right-hander out of the University of San Diego, is coming off a junior season in which he went 8-4 with a 2.84 ERA over 15 starts, striking out 126 and walking 28 in 98 1/3 innings. His 126 strikeouts were tied for the 10th most of any NCAA Division I pitcher. Blair was named West Coast Conference pitcher of the year and selected as a third-team All-American. The 19-year-old Lavisky, a catcher, just graduated from St. Edward's High School, only a few miles from Progressive Field. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, he batted .450 (36-80) with nine doubles, 13 home runs and 40 RBIs while scoring 33 runs for the OHSAA Division I State Champion Eagles. He had signed a letter of intent to attend Georgia Tech. All told, the Indians signed 26 of their 50 selections from the 2010 Draft.