Astros Fail To Sign Aiken, Nix, Marshall

The Astros did not sign first-round pick Brady Aiken or fifth-rounder Jacob Nix, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (on Twitter). Aiken becomes just the third No. 1 overall pick ever to not sign, per Callis (Twitter link). Nix had previously been reported to have agreed to terms, which Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter) was by way of a verbal agreement.

The two young pitchers are both reportedly advised by Casey Close. Houston also ultimately failed to reach terms with another well-regarded arm, 21st-rounder Mac Marshall, Callis adds. That confirms Marshall’s own announcement that he would instead attend LSU.

The Astros will receive the No. 2 pick in next year’s draft, Callis further notes, meaning that Houston did at least offer Aiken 40 percent of his slot value ($3,168,840), which Aiken did not accept. In fact, Houston ultimately upped its offer to $5MM, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). “We tried to engage Casey Close three times today,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow tells Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter), but “there was no interest.” Ultimately, the team made three offers today, Heyman tweets, the second of which came with 30 minutes left on the clock. The final, $5MM offer was made with just five minutes to go. Aiken did not counter any of the offers.

Aiken and the Astros had reportedly agreed upon a $6.5MM bonus, with Aiken heading to Houston for his physical and an introduction. But things took a turn when a dispute arose over the interpretation of MRI results regarding Aiken’s elbow.

In many ways, the news represents a disappointing result for both Houston and the two players who had been expected to sign. The club will of course have an opportunity to choose another top-end player next year (along with the team’s regular first-round choice, which should be a good one), but will have to wait to get that player started. And Houston will miss out on a pitcher who Luhnow himself called the “most advanced high school pitcher” he’s even seen. Not only that, but the team has now foregone the opportunity to sign Nix, and could even face some form of grievance proceeding as a result of the handling of Nix’s negotiations.

Meanwhile, Aiken will need to perform at rather a high level to beat the $5MM that he ultimately was offered, and will need to wait some time for a check to cash. It is not yet clear where he will go, though presumably he will either enroll at UCLA (where he was committed) or else choose the junior college route. Of course, the very public nature of the recent negotiations regarding Aiken and Nix might conceivably have some ramifications for those players’ future collegiate eligibility, which would obviously be an unfortunate byproduct of a difficult situation.

Needless to say, the situation has led to quite a bit of chatter around the game. As MLB.com’s Jim Callis explains, speculation arose that Houston was hoping to drive down Aiken’s price in a bid to make a last-minute run at Marshall, who had long before said he was going to college. Of course, it was never certain that such a possibility was realistic, let alone that the club would ultimately pass on the chance to add Aiken (and with him Nix) without some genuine concern.

Indeed, the apparent medical dispute regarding Aiken, and its impact on Nix, have led to indications that fallout may be yet to come. The Astros released a statement, saying that the club’s final offer was “extremely fair considering all the factors involved in this case” and insisting that the team “approached these negotiations in good faith and with the best interests of the Astros organization in mind, both short-term and long-term.”

But the MLB Player’s Association sees things somewhat differently, stating the view that Aiken and Nix were wronged. “Today, two young men should be one step closer to realizing their dreams of becoming Major League ballplayers,” said executive director Tony Clark. Because of the actions of the Houston Astros, they are not. The MLBPA, the players and their advisers are exploring all legal options.”

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


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275 Comments on "Astros Fail To Sign Aiken, Nix, Marshall"


Jim Low
1 year 1 month ago

Feel bad for Astro fans here man…

Kennon Riley
1 year 1 month ago

Good. If Aiken has a UCL injury in the next 11 months, or in the future, he will never be selected in the top 5 again.

Slow Poke
1 year 1 month ago

he does not have a UCL injury. Astros did not claim thart he did.

section 34
1 year 1 month ago

Good? You think that’s good? You are not a nice person.

James Solomon
1 year 1 month ago

Apparently 21 other people are not nice either

Nathan McCarthy
1 year 1 month ago

Good? You are hoping for a kid to get injured, and loose out on millions for some organization? You don’t deserve to call yourself a sports fan. All he asked for was a fair offer

Kennon Riley
5 months 24 days ago

he did get a fair offer. dickey signed for 10% of his original offer. aiken was offered 40% +

Nathan McCarthy
1 year 1 month ago

Good? You are hoping for a kid to get injured, and loose out on millions for some organization? You don’t deserve to call yourself a sports fan. All he asked for was a fair offer

fdterr
1 year 1 month ago

Do you really think Aiken’s not going to take out an insurance policy?

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

Question is would an insurance policy even cover him now with medical questions

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

Question is would an insurance policy even cover him now with medical questions

fdterr
1 year 1 month ago

Do you really think Aiken’s not going to take out an insurance policy?

Colin Christopher
1 year 1 month ago

You tell ’em, man. Nobody has ever come back from Tommy John surgery.

Tesseract
1 year 1 month ago

Not back to the top 5 in the draft

DieHardMsFan
1 year 1 month ago

Should have just given him the 6.5 mill and signed either Nix or Marshall. Now they lose three picks this year and a years worth of development for each of the picks to get the number 2 pick next year. I don’t think you get a consolation pick in the 5th round….Really questioning this move. I know his UCL may potentially go out but the key word here is potentially.

teddy
1 year 1 month ago

most likely Aiken is hurt, and the astros wanted to sign him at a discount, he said no and they were to far apart to get deal done.

Seamaholic
1 year 1 month ago

Umm … that’s been reported actually. No need for “most likely”!

teddy
1 year 1 month ago

It could be worse than reported though like imminent TJ etc.

DieHardMsFan
1 year 1 month ago

I thought it was just reported that his UCL is abnormally small? Higher chance to get hurt in the future and as a result they wanted the discount?

jb226
1 year 1 month ago

That has not been reported. Aiken is NOT hurt.

What his medicals turned up was a congenitally small UCL — ie, his ligament has been small since birth. It is not an injury, he is healthy and able to pitch exactly the way he was pitching when he got drafted.

The Astros’ concern is: Does this make it more likely that he gets hurt in the future? And if he DOES get hurt at some point, does it complicate reconstructive surgery and make a healthy return less likely?

I’m not entering into the medical debate or he debate about whether it was a good-faith negotiation. The simple facts are that the Astros wanted a discount over the concerns, Aiken’s camp refused, and here we are.

cyberboo
1 year 1 month ago

Bottom line – Aiken turned down a 5 million offer out of high school, knowing the fate of Nix and Marshall depended on his signing and he showed his selfishness and threw both players to the wolves. He will now be labeled for life as a spoiled brat that had zero interest in the game and everything hinged on dollars and him getting the most he could get through greed and arrogance. Fortunately, he now has four years and 7 million lost dollars to think about before he is even eligible again. If he is drafted, providing his arm isn’t the the risk the top doctors in the world said it is, he will never come close to recovering the lost 7 million within the next ten years. It is totally possible now that Houston will have the top 2 picks in 2015 and Aiken will become a distant memory if both of them make the majors while Aiken is still throwing in college ball, watching them on his television, instead of participating.

Ed
1 year 1 month ago

Most of these kids have been spoiled brats because of the fact they think the world will turn because of skills they offer.Playing basebal.LOL

mnrunleft
1 year 1 month ago

If this is the case shouldn’t we label all players who don’t take significantly under slot “brats”? What are we going to call guys who want over slot like Nix and Marshall? $6.5 for Aiken was already well under slot and was the agreed upon deal, Astros are the ones who cost all 3 not Aiken.

Kennon Riley
1 year 1 month ago

Marshall was a top-tier talent who fell to the 21st round due to a strong collegiate commitment. The Astros were never going to sign him.

mnrunleft
1 year 1 month ago

I agree, just pointed out that cyberboo’s idea that it’s Aiken’s fault Marshall and Nix didn’t sign is a complete joke. Aiken was willing to accept less than slot which was going to allow the Astros to go over slot for Nix. The only one at fault are the Astros for agreeing for an overslot contract with Nix and working on an overslot contract with Marshall when they didn’t have the deal done with Aiken to allow for them going over slot in the first place.

Kennon Riley
1 year 1 month ago

Great post.. the problem is that the condition is rare enough that the Astros wanted to try and minimize their financial risk. There is simply not enough evidence to show that Aiken’s UCL will be more likely or less likely to injury in the future.

Derpy
1 year 1 month ago

No, Aiken is not hurt. If you trust the opinions of orthopedic specialists, guys like dr. James Andrews, then you would be forced to believe that he is completely healthy. The only doctor here who thought there was a problem with Aiken was the team doctor. All of the other opinions claim he is totally healthy and without issue. The team doctor claims he has a congenital abnormality in his UCL. All the other doctors claim his UCL is within the normal limits.

Joshua Davis
1 year 1 month ago

Finally someone who knows what they’re talking about. Too many people are spoon fed by the media without understanding the facts. All the experts commented before the draft that Houston’s draft success was being able to sign players at the bottom end of their slot average which has allowed them to sign more players each draft. I suspect they tried with Aiken as well, using the ‘abnormality’ with his UCL as their last resort.

Pike
1 year 1 month ago

There is a difference between being healthy (which is what people are saying) and risk of complication in a procedure that is becoming entirely commonplace for pitchers (what the actual holdup was).

Derpy
1 year 1 month ago

Nobody actually thinks his risk of injury is higher.

Pike
1 year 1 month ago

can you provide any proof of that? The interviews have asked if he is healthy NOW, not if there is a greater risk of injury or recovery in the future.

Derpy
1 year 1 month ago

If anyone thought he had an increased chance of injury, they would have said it. Nobody credible ever did.

Pike
1 year 1 month ago

Again, any proof? Only thing i have found is stuff saying he’s healthy NOW.

Derpy
1 year 1 month ago

Show me the quote from Dr. James Andrews saying he has increased risk of injury. I can’t prove a negative. You go prove to me that you’re correct.

Pike
1 year 1 month ago

burden of proof is on you. You posited that nobody thinks his risk of injury is higher. I can offer similar anecdotal evidence to my position. R.A. Dickey.

Derpy
1 year 1 month ago

I say nobody credible ever said he had increased risk of injury. If you disagree, provide the credible person who said he had increased risk of injury.

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

The doctors said he was currently healthy but with his small UCL there were no guarantees in the future if a tommy john could fix a problem

jb226
1 year 1 month ago

That’s not true. It’s a violation of federal law to disclose medical information without the patient’s consent. None of the doctors are going to be saying a word unless Aiken and Close send them out to do exactly that. In fact, if you look closely, the Astros have never officially commented on what was wrong with Aiken or their assessment of him. The only tidbits we got was a leak form an anonymous team source and a rebuttal from people associated with Aiken.

The only legitimate statement we have on the matter was the orthopedist who did not examine him, and who said a small UCL by itself shouldn’t increase injury risk, but that other factors would have to be considered.

Ed
1 year 1 month ago

The Astro’s didn’t want to throw big money at a guy that may never play in the MLB.
They drafted the kid in good faith and found out he is a risk.
We don’t have all those lawyer jokes for no reason.

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

Actually that is not true. The Astros can’t legally say what their thoughts are of his condition without a lawsuit. So Close can say whatever he wants and Astros can not counter. They might of said he is in danger of a huge injury risk in the future if they could legally do so.

Tesseract
1 year 1 month ago

If Dr. Andrews turned him down he must be 100% healthy!!

Kennon Riley
1 year 1 month ago

Hey, where was the controversy with Balfour and the Orioles?

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

Not if his future is cloudy and might never see the majors. There has been reports that even TJS might not fix the problem. Really want another Dickey for a 1-1?

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

Not if his future is cloudy and might never see the majors. There has been reports that even TJS might not fix the problem. Really want another Dickey for a 1-1?

DieHardMsFan
1 year 1 month ago

I don’t understand how his future is “cloudy” if his UCL is not damaged. The only concern is that it is smaller than usual so they are not sure how it will respond to a potential tear.

Key word their is potential. If the Astros viewed him as the best talent in the draft a potential injury scare should not deter them from signing him.

Every individual’s body is different so no one is sure how their body will respond to different things like TJS for example. For all we know he will never tear his UCL and will be completely healthy.

Roy Baker
1 year 1 month ago

As an Astros fan, I’m not at all angry or disappointed. I’m just like…”oh, well, that’s…bad, I guess, but oh well”.

Alex
1 year 1 month ago

You must be a diehard fan.

Roy Baker
1 year 1 month ago

Extremely die-hard. Not exactly the one that gets angry about it. Simply no less than even-keel when it comes to the teams I root for.

Karkat
1 year 1 month ago

Good job, Astros.

W.G
1 year 1 month ago

They better do their research with the first two picks next year then, because if it goes the way it has been…

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

they just won’t pick a high school senior early. To many unknowns. You can do all the research you want but with no pre draft medicals you just never know

Ed
1 year 1 month ago

It’s crazy that you can’t have a medical done before you draft.
High school pitchers are a big risk.How many have made it to the big show and done anything.

W.G
1 year 1 month ago

Yeah especially as you invest millions of dollars in these players, and a great number of ‘top’ prospects don’t go one to become what they were touted to be.

To be eligible for the MLB draft, a player must submit a physical available to all 30 teams. Also the doctor/physician conducting the physical should be an independent third-party, to limit bias results. The whole Aiken-Astros controversy wouldn’t have been a problem if they at least at some minor, pre-draft physicals. I just feel bad for the Astros, because they could have gone with Rodon, Kolek ect., instead of wasting a pick.

Bob Jung
1 year 1 month ago

Wow what a waste of a first pick. They should have better scouts and drafted kolek or the guy from cws

Kennon Riley
1 year 1 month ago

Scouts cannot see something without symptoms.

Bob Jung
1 year 1 month ago

true but they need to do some research

Mark
1 year 1 month ago

They aren’t allowed to do medical checks on players b4 the draft.

Bob Jung
1 year 1 month ago

They got to start now. Pitchers now are getting tommy johns, tearing ligaments like crazy. I think it would be safer now to draft hitters than pitchers

Bob Jung
1 year 1 month ago

They got to start now. Pitchers now are getting tommy johns, tearing ligaments like crazy. I think it would be safer now to draft hitters than pitchers

Seamaholic
1 year 1 month ago

Hmm … wonder when Luhnow loses his “genius because he likes stats” rep. Probably never.

King Kyle
1 year 1 month ago

Why would this incident make him lose his rep as “genius because he likes stats?” Did he indicate that he didn’t sign these players because their WAR didn’t project to be high enough, or that their wRC+ wouldn’t be league average?

Seamaholic
1 year 1 month ago

No, I meant he should lose his status as a genius because he’s so obsessed with stats he doesn’t see a kid who doesn’t want to get signed by them.

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

That does not make sense at all. He wanted to get signed but had a medical issue. Which no team would of seen since there are no pre draft medicals

Seamaholic
1 year 1 month ago

No, I meant he should lose his status as a genius because he’s so obsessed with stats he doesn’t see a kid who doesn’t want to get signed by them.

Joe
1 year 1 month ago

given how poor Mark Appel has been in the minors, the Astros needed this one. Oh well, they’ll have the 1 and 2 picks next year (probably)

asovermann
1 year 1 month ago

I wouldn’t say that’s a given, there a lot of teams with the same record as them and Texas has an even worse record.

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

very true. # 2 for sure. You can bet they will draft a position player next year though

agureghian
1 year 1 month ago

Don’t they get a compensation pick next year for losing Aiken? The 2nd pick next year?

Bill
1 year 1 month ago

Did you read the post that you’re commenting on?

Slow Poke
1 year 1 month ago

yes but it is a sign or lose so whoever they take will be an overdraft

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

Most players picked #2 would sign. That is a lot of money that they might never see again. Close was upset which is understandable, but how many players will have this condition. Boras never seemed to have a problem dealing with them.

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

Most players picked #2 would sign. That is a lot of money that they might never see again. Close was upset which is understandable, but how many players will have this condition. Boras never seemed to have a problem dealing with them.

teddy
1 year 1 month ago

If you are an Astros fan, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering now they have the #2 and probably the #1 pick next year, if two guys really come out as superstar potential that weren’t in this draft, its a huge win.

Slow Poke
1 year 1 month ago

biggest issue for the Astros is Nix who will undoubtedly file a grievance. If he were to win the Astros would have to pay him his bonus and forfeit 2 first round picks for going too far over their allotment.

DieHardMsFan
1 year 1 month ago

Oh because he agreed in principal to a deal? Has their been any precedent of such a grievance? If so their GM should get fired on the spot.

DieHardMsFan
1 year 1 month ago

Is next years draft considered a better draft than this years? If so than it may be for the best. If not I kind of question this move as they miss out on three highly regarded prospects and a years worth of development for each.

Slow Poke
1 year 1 month ago

that ends up being known only in hindsight

cyberboo
1 year 1 month ago

I know that Aiken isn’t even eligible to be drafted again for four years, due to him being drafted out of high school, but I’m wondering what the status is for both Nix and Marshall? Were they college draft or high school draft. College and they are available again next year, high school and they wait four years.

DieHardMsFan
1 year 1 month ago

That is not the case regarding Aiken. If he goes to UCLA he will be draft eligible in three years. However if he goes to a community college he will be draft eligible next year (although I think the Astros cannot draft him). I am not sure regarding Nix and Marshall. Just look both of them up and check if they were high school draftees or if they were college guys.

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

Astros can not draft him without his consent although I doubt the Astros would ever bother or try. Nix and Marshall were also high school guys. Marshall is already enrolled in college as a freshman and Nix will go to UCLA as freshman.

richardb21
1 year 1 month ago

So the front office tells us how valuable these top picks are and we are obviously tanking to get them AND WE CANT EVEN SIGN THEM?? Ive supported Luhnow and this organization throughout the rebuild, but I’m done with this rebuilding project. What good is it when they can’t even sign the players. All that losing was for nothing. All they want is to make a profit. Appel isn’t even an issue because AT LEAST HE SIGNED. Complete joke of an organization and I cant believe I wasted my time and money on them. The front office showed their true colors today. Never thought I’d want Ed Wade back.

Tesseract
1 year 1 month ago

Finally Astros fans getting tired of all the mumbo jumbo

Tyler Jedrzejak
1 year 1 month ago

how are they a joke? The kid has a tiny UCL. If he looks like he is going to be injury proned then good thing the Astros didnt sign him…They get the Number two pick next year as compensation. Did you think Aiken was Strasburg and filling in next year? It really isnt the end of the world.

don
1 year 1 month ago

That is the way the Astros do business. Not really sure what this does for the bonus pool in next years draft but I doubt it does anything but save them 5 million this year. why draft the kid #1 overall if you REALLY did not do your homework?

Tyler Jedrzejak
1 year 1 month ago

what homework did they not do? There are no pre-draft medicals. Is “do you have a tiny UCL?” a typical question to ask and would the player answer that truthfully?

Slow Poke
1 year 1 month ago

supposedly Stros tried to get a predraft agreementfor $5M but Close would not go for it and so there was no agreement. They may pick 2nd next year but it will be an overdraft.

Mike1L
1 year 1 month ago

Maybe that’s the key to the whole thing. They wanted to pay $5M, had to bid up, then got the medical results and saw an opportunity to pay minimum slot (and send a message to future picks that the first offer is the best one)

1 year 1 month ago

What a disaster

1 year 1 month ago

What a disaster

1 year 1 month ago

What a disaster

fisk72
fisk72
1 year 1 month ago

I assume Aiken has committed to a college, not sure where. A big blow to his ego (and no doubt his “advisor”) but might the $3.2MM not look like a pile of money down the road if he indeed runs into arm trouble? Not absolving the Astros of how they handled it but it’s not like he’s a position player with less concerns about injuries & likely to build his value for the 2017 draft.

Slow Poke
1 year 1 month ago

committed to UCLA. Could also play JuCo for one year and be drafted next year.

tmengd
1 year 1 month ago

If he is even still NCAA eligible we will see

Slow Poke
1 year 1 month ago

committed to UCLA. Could also play JuCo for one year and be drafted next year.