Amateur Signing Bonuses: Cardinals

Next up in our series looking at each team's amateur spending, the Cardinals…

  1. J.D. Drew, $3MM (1998)
  2. Shelby Miller, $2.875MM (2009)
  3. Rick Ankiel, $2.5MM (1997)
  4. Chad Hutchinson, $2.3MM (1998)
  5. Zack Cox, $2MM (2010)

A year before the Cardinals made Drew the third overall pick in 1998, the Phillies took him second overall. Advisor Scott Boras guaranteeed that the Florida State standout would not sign for less than $10MM, and he stuck to his word. After a stint with the independent St. Paul Saints, Drew spurned Philadelphia and re-entered the draft, landing in St. Louis. He was called to the big leagues just a few weeks after being drafted, and made his debut on the night that Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run. Drew hit .282/.377/.498 in five-plus seasons with the Cardinals, making at least one trip to the disabled list in each season. He was traded to the Braves with Eli Marrero for Ray King, Jason Marquis, and a minor league pitcher named Adam Wainwright in December 2003.

Miller was the 14th overall pick in 2009, falling due to bonus demands despite being one of the best high school arms in the draft. In 107.1 career minor league innings, he owns a 3.69 ERA with 11.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. Cox was the 25th overall pick in this year's draft, another top prospect who fell due to bonus demands. His bonus is part of a four-year, $3.2MM major league deal. In 17 plate appearances after signing, Cox hit .400/.471/.467. He will begin his career in earnest next season.

Everyone knows the Ankiel story. The 72nd overall pick and Boras client landed what was then the fifth largest bonus ever given to an amateur player, and he gave the Cardinals no reason to regret it. Ankiel made his big league debut barely a month after his 20th birthday, allowing three runs in five innings against the Expos. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting the next season thanks to a 3.50 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in 175 innings. Of course he then unraveled in the playoffs and returned a few years later as an outfielder. Ankiel's career in St. Louis consisted of a .251/.311/.452 batting line and a 3.90 ERA in 242 innings before he signed with the Royals last offseason.

Hutchinson is a unique case. The Braves took him with their first round pick in 1995, but he chose not to sign and instead attended Stanford. Three years later the Cardinals took him 48th overall and bought him away from the NFL with a huge bonus. Hutchinson worked his way up the ladder and reached the big leagues in 2001, allowing 11 runs and 15 baserunners in just four innings pitched (three appearances). But that was it, Hutchinson called it a career after that season and instead pursued a career in football. He started nine games at quarterback for Dallas in 2002, and all told played in 15 NFL games with the Cowboys and the Bears.

In case you're wondering, the Cardinals drafted some kid out of Maple Woods Community College (Kansas City, MO) with the 402nd overall pick (13th round) in 1999, signing him for just $60K. His name? Albert Pujols.

12 Responses to Amateur Signing Bonuses: Cardinals Leave a Reply

  1. Too bad they didn’t have the balls to make picks like Cox and Miller sooner after the Rasmus ’05 draft . Their middle infield depth wouldn’t be hurting as badly as it is

    • 100% agree! Not that they’re bad players but when we’re conservative in the draft we end up with 1st rounders like Pete Kozma, Tyler Greene and Adam Ottavino. All of them still have good upside but I don’t think any of them will be superstars which we may have been able to find if we drafted a little more aggressively.

  2. Has there ever been a player who maximized more dollars out of a solid but unspectacular big league career then J.D. Drew?

  3. The Braves must absolutely kick themselves every time they see Wainwright pitch for the Cards. They definitely got hosed on that deal. I’m anxious to see the continued development of Shelby Miller; he should be closing in on the Majors right around the time Carpenter’s contract is up.

    • Lanidrac 5 years ago

      Don’t forget that the Cardinals also got 2 good years each from Marquis and King that helped get them to the World Series in ’04 and the NLCS in ’05 after winning 100+ games both years. That is arguably the best trade Walt Jocketty has ever made on a long list of good trades by that uber GM.

      • Very true. The trades for Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen were pretty damn good, too. Not sure how he does it, but Jocketty is one of the best.

        • Ferrariman 5 years ago

          jocketty didn’t trade rolen and edmonds. Mozeliak did. Jocketty was the one who signed them to the bloated contracts(along with mark mulder).

    • KeithLawSucksInStl 5 years ago

      “he should be closing in on the Majors right around the time Carpenter’s contract is up.”

      A la Wainwright, I’d love to see it.

      I like it when younger talent comes up this way, although I didn’t mind seeing Garcia have a ton of success this year either.

  4. Boy wouldn’t the Cards like to sign Pujols for $60k a season again? 😛 I think he would get $60k an AB !

  5. KeithLawSucksInStl 5 years ago

    Just for fun @ Karan’s comment, last year he earned $24,865 per AB… And if he signs for $25M like some people think he will, he’d be getting around $42,589 per AB.

    A crazy amout of money, but in reality, he’s worth every penny IMO.

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