The White Sox have come to terms on a deal with first-round pick Chris Sale, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America. The pitcher, who was taken 13th overall, agreed to a bonus of $1.656MM.
The bonus figure is surprising as it is equal to MLB's bonus recommendation for his No. 13 slot in the 2009 draft. The Florida Gulf Coast University product was considered by teams to be the first or second-best college pitcher in the draft.
While Sale will get less money than anticipated, Callis writes that he will be given every opportunity to join the big league bullpen, perhaps as early as August. Sale will start off in high-A in Salem with the goal of jumping to Triple-A Charlotte in mid-July.
Sale's agent, B.B. Abbott of Jet Sports Management, conceded that deal will be "perceived in the industry" as a victory for the White Sox, but believes that it is in the best interest of his client.
"While we felt extremely confident that a larger bonus would be available later in the summer, we think Chris not only has a viable opportunity to pitch in the big leagues this year, but a very good chance to do so. As we did with Zack Wheeler last year, we considered the opportunity, the risk and the reward. As clear as it was that Zack should wait, it is equally clear that this is a legitimate opportunity for Chris to pitch in the big leagues in six weeks or less with a contending team. While this was not an easy decision, we believe it is the right decision," Abbott said.
Sale is now the highest-drafted player to agree to a deal thus far. You can keep track of the bonuses that first rounders, supplemental rounders, and other noteworthy picks obtain right here.