As mentioned here the other night, today is the deadline for major league organizations to come to terms with the players they selected in June’s First Year Player Draft. Call me crazy, but this strikes me as one of the more exciting days of the summer. According to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, thirteen first-rounders remained unsigned as of early this afternoon:
Stephen Strasburg (No. 1, Washington); Dustin Ackley (No. 2, Seattle); Donavan Tate (No. 3, San Diego); Zach Wheeler (No. 6, San Francisco); Jacob Turner (No. 9, Detroit); Tyler Matzek (No. 11, Colorado); Aaron Crow (No. 12, Kansas City); Grant Green (No. 13, Oakland); Matt Purke (No. 14, Texas); Alex White (No. 15, Cleveland); Shelby Miller (No. 19, St. Louis); Kyle Gibson (No. 22, Minnesota); LeVon Washington (No. 30, Tampa Bay).
Most of those are likely to agree to terms before midnight, which means that the next seven hours should be very busy for all parties involved and very interesting for casual observers such as myself. I plan on following along throughout the night (or trying to, at least) and trying to keep Bus Leagues updated as much as possible.
Rumor has it that Baseball America is tracking all unsigned picks in the first ten rounds. Unfortunately, Firefox does not seem to like Baseball America (or vice versa), so I’ll have to take Alex Pedicini’s word for it.
Update (5:24 PM): Rangers Blog at the Dallas Morning News web site reports that Matt Purke has been in town for about a week (he’s preparing to attend Texas Christian University if a deal can’t be worked out with the Rangers) and negotiations are ongoing. Jeff Wilson compared and contrasted Purke’s situation with that of Justin Smoak:
That’s about on par with the Justin Smoak negotiations from last year. That ended well for both sides. Purke, though, seems to have a genuine fondness for TCU, and the Tom Glavine fan has been given No. 47 for next season.
Via the comments section of Nationals Journal at the Washington Post, Baseball America’s Jim Callis is reporting that Donavan Tate has been seen in San Diego and could be close to signing with the Padres. (How’s that for hearsay?) Tate is a Scott Boras client and outstanding athlete who held a football/baseball scholarship offer from North Carolina as negotiating leverage.
Update (5:41 PM): Saw this somewhere a little bit ago, maybe in that Mayo column linked above, but it also just came to me from CBS Sports via Baseball Musings. The Tampa Bay Rays do not expect to sign either their first or second round picks. As David Pinto said in his post, “Losing out on two picks has to hurt.”
Update (5:56 PM): Via Yahoo’s Kendall Rogers on Twitter (@ysportsncaabb) about 45 minutes ago, Shelby Miller passed up Texas A&M to sign with the Cardinals. Rogers also reports that the Aggies also lost K.C. Hobson, Butch Hobson’s son and Toronto’s sixth-round selection.
Update (6:04 PM): Maury Brown is tracking the remaining draft picks and their bonuses at The Biz of Baseball. He started with seventeen names, including three supplemental first rounders, and has updated two: New York’s Slade Heathcott ($2.2 million) and St. Louis’s Shelby Miller ($2.875 million). Both signings are well over the recommended slot for their draft positions.
It is noted in the comments that Heathcott announced his signing on his Facebook page.
Update (6:49 PM): LeVon Washington’s willingness to sign with the Rays has changed greatly from Draft Day to Deadline Day.
Update (7:22 PM): Kendall Rogers hears good things about Kyle Gibson’s chances of signing, bad things about Alex White’s.
Update (9:38 PM): Jon Heyman says that the Padres are close to close to a deal with Donavan Tate (via MLB Trade Rumors). Gammons apparently sees that news and raises him: picks two through ten have agreed to terms. No attribution beyond that, so take it with a grain of salt.
Update (10:47 PM): Alex White WANTS to sign with Cleveland. The two sides just haven’t been able to agree on a deal.
Maury Brown has three players signed – Miller, Heathcott, and Davis – and I’ve seen stuff here and there that says Tate has also reached an agreement. Just outside one hour to go – this will either be one hell of a finish, or an amazing cluster you-know-what for next year’s draft.
Update (10:57 PM): By the way, I forgot to mention that I totally friended Slade Heathcott on Facebook earlier (me and hundreds of others, no doubt). So now I have a friend named Slade, which is really all anyone should want out of life.
Update (10:59 PM): RumorsandRants on Twitter – “Padres officially just announced signing of No. 3 overall pick Donavan Tate”
Update (11:06 PM): ysportsncaabb – “The Tigers also have signed first-round pick Jacob Turner, who was committed to play at North Carolina.”
Update (11:12 PM): The folks at USS Mariner are offering to sweeten any prospective deal for Dustin Ackley. The Nationals would like to do the same for Stephen Strasburg, according to Jon Heyman. One of those “sweeteners” involves actual money.
Update (11:28 PM): Donavan Tate is officially a Padre.
Update (11:41 PM): Twenty minutes, ten first-rounders still unsigned (or at least unannounced). Maury Brown noted on Twitter earlier this hour that news of Aaron Crow’s failure to sign last year didn’t emerge until after 1 PM EST.
Update (11:46 PM): Seattle has scheduled a teleconference with general manager Jack Zduriencik for 9:15 Pacific time. Announcing a deal, Mr. Z? I’m sure he hopes so.
Via Twitter: Will Carroll, Aaron Gleeman, and Kendall Rogers note that Kyle Gibson has signed with the Twins.
Eleven minutes to the deadline.
Update (11:51 PM): And there goes Zach Wheeler. Picks three through ten are now official.
Update (12:00 AM): Tracy Ringolsby breaks the news that Tyler Matzek signed with the Rockies. Supposedly, the Nationals were very close with Strasburg as the deadline approached, still awaiting final word.
Update (12:04 AM): Ackley and Green have signed. Strasburg might have signed for more than $15 million over four years. Crow, Purke, White, and Washington are left from the first round. Of those, Crow has the ability to continue negotiating because he is not eligible to return to college. Purke will go to TCU, White will either return to North Carolina or hit the independents, and Washington, I believe, was heading to Florida.
Update (12:10 AM): As soon as I wrote that, I flipped back over to Twitter (that’s where all my info is coming from at the moment) and saw that Baseball America’s Jim Callis is reporting that Alex White has signed with the Indians.
Update (12:19 AM): I usually hear nothing but good things about the MLB Network, but what little coverage I’ve seen tonight has dropped the ball. They “broke” the story of Strasburg’s signing at almost 12:15, nearly ten minutes after I saw repeated mentions of it on Twitter, were very late on the Tyler Matzek signing, and for some reason teased Zach Wheeler’s deal before unveiling it as though it was the biggest signing of the night.
And maybe I’m just biased because I think this whole signing deadline thing is kinda fun, but couldn’t they have devoted more in-studio attention to the deadline as the clock wound down? Showing the late innings of a meaningless Yankees-A’s game and going to commercial at 11:59? I expect better.
Update (12:29 PM): Well, that’s all for me. After seven hours, it’s time to call it a night. My brain can’t handle all this stress, and I didn’t even do anything – guys like Keith Law and Jon Heyman and the guys from Baseball America, who do this for a living and know everything that’s going on and keep it all straight, they amaze me.
All I know is that everyone that was supposed to sign, did sign. Matt Purke clearly wanted to attend college (and who can fault him for that?) so Texas was in a tough spot to begin with. It was obvious early today that LeVon Washington wasn’t going to become a Tampa Bay Ray. And I’m sure we’ll be hearing from Aaron Crow and the Kansas City Royals before too long.