Draft Notes: Bonuses, Astros, Aiken

67 players in this year’s draft signed for at least $1MM, Clint Longenecker of Baseball America writes. Many teams signed two players to deals worth at least $1MM, although the Indians, Pirates and Royals, who all had extra Day 1 picks, signed four players each to deals worth that much. The Orioles, who didn’t have a selection until the No. 90 overall pick, were the only team without a $1MM signing. Here are notes on the draft.

  • The Astros‘ failure to sign Brady Aiken is baffling, MLB.com’s Richard Justice writes. The difference between the Astros’ final offer of $5MM and the $6.5MM to which the two parties initially agreed is tiny in terms of MLB talent. Meanwhile, another draft pick, Jacob Nix, saw his own deal disappear as the Astros lost the bonus pool allotment for the first overall pick. Justice also argues that it will take time for the Astros to repair the damage to their reputation the Aiken decision will cause.
  • Nobody wins” in the Aiken/Astros snafu, Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.ca writes. Nix, in particular, loses out through no fault of his own. Nicholson-Smith cites an agent who notes that the current system forces teams to prioritize balancing their draft budgets, even when that means they lose out on talent — because the Astros didn’t sign Aiken, they couldn’t sign Nix, even though Nix and the Astros had previously agreed to a deal.
  • Aiken advisor Casey Close ripped Astros GM Jeff Luhnow on the phone for leaking the results of Aiken’s physical, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes. Close also reportedly suggested that other teams dislike dealing with the Astros because of their approach in negotiations.


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20 Comments on "Draft Notes: Bonuses, Astros, Aiken"


Federal League
1 year 1 month ago

I guess the argument would be that the $5MM offer would have still allowed Houston enough pool money to sign Mac Marshall [as well as Jacob Nix] to an overslot bonus. The idea being that the Astros valued Aiken/Nix/Marshall > 2015 1.2 draft choice > Aiken/Nix.

jb226
1 year 1 month ago

Random question:

Why do the rules treat college and junior college so differently? If Aiken/Nix commits to UCLA, he can’t be drafted for three years. If he goes to junior college instead, he can be in next year’s draft. What is the reasoning for that rift?

mstrchef13
1 year 1 month ago

It is an archaic rule trying to protect college baseball programs.

jb226
1 year 1 month ago

Well that’s a terrible justification. I can’t believe nobody has gone after this rule in recent CBA negotiations.

Federal League
1 year 1 month ago

Generally it tends to work itself out. There are quite a few prospects who end up significantly increasing their stock after three years of a college program’s strength training and the better level of competition and end up making more than they did coming out of high school.

Those that don’t, at least they have nearly completed their degree.

jb226
1 year 1 month ago

Whether or not it works out is secondary to me to whether or not there is any good reason to treat the two kids differently, and based on the explanation I’m not seeing one. There are a lot of good reasons to go to a four-year college, but it should be a choice, not be penalized.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
1 year 1 month ago

Oh, you also get different rules if you are from South America, Latin America, the Dominican Republic,or Cuba. Those players don’t get drafted at all. And there’s a lot of unsavory things that happen to those players (at least the non star players).

Cubstein
1 year 1 month ago

CBA negotiations are by current players. They have little incentive to obtain benefits for players that are yet to turn pro.

petrie000
1 year 1 month ago

because JuCo’s aren’t governed by the NCAA, which only makes players commit to 3 years minimum to justify the cost of fielding the team in the first place.

JuCo’s don’t have the travel expenses, stadium expenses or equipment expenses of the major colleges, and having a big name even for 1 season more than offsets the cost, so they’re perfectly fine with the arrangement.

Mike1L
1 year 1 month ago

The college deferral rule is archaic, and seems to punish the wrong people. First, we all know that major college athletics is anything but amateur–except for the kids. But second, we also know that most of the high school players never make it to the big leagues–in fact, most of the don’t even make it to the minors. Why shouldn’t these kids have a chance at an education–if they want it, and I’m not naive–as a fallback for the real world? If a top HS player recruited at a quality college wants to play baseball and study, and after his sophomore year has so advanced that he’s offered many millions–fantastic for him. Why should he be forced to choose community college to have eligibility sooner? It’s not as if he would be the only kid who didn’t complete college in four years. And aren’t we giving a far harder choice that he should have to be making–take the bonus (and most are a lot smaller that than Aikens) or take the risk for three years?

timpa
1 year 1 month ago

MLB should just blow-up the draft and gradually convert to the NHL draft.

The NHL draft is inclusive of worldwide players at 18 years of age and then Canadian and American players as well. No reason why MLB can’t stop letting teams sign kids at 16 from Venezuela, Dominican Republic, etc… and put them into a draft at 18 like everyone else.

Kid gets drafted out of HS, if they want to go to college they go to college. The team retains their rights. Do away with the bonus system and come up with a standard max offer that any player can sign for.

You’d find teams actually drafting the BEST TALENT at each pick and not worrying about if they can blow them away with an offer or not.

SFGiantsfan_10
1 year 1 month ago

I like the idea of every player from every country being included into one draft, especially with as many rounds as the draft is, it gives more teams the chance to acquire high quality players in earlier rounds.
To solve the issue of bonuses, theoretically the system could be made so that if a draft pick decides not to sign, the team doesn’t lose the money tied to that slot.
In the case of Aiken and the Astros, if Aiken doesn’t accept the team’s revised offer of 5 million, then the Astros don’t have to worry about penalties for signing Nix and Marshall because the money is still available to them, and Nix’s and Marshall’s bonuses wouldn’t cost as much as Aiiken’s one bonus.

Cubstein
1 year 1 month ago

Astros still get that money in next year’s draft when they get the 2nd overall pick (in addition to whatever money allocated to their other high draft pick from this year). Allowing them to keep that allocation this year would give them that money twice which would be a huge advantage.

SFGiantsfan_10
1 year 1 month ago

Didn’t think about that. Maybe they still get a compensation pick in 2015 through the theoretical system above, it just won’t be as high to balance out the additional money, so the pick should be between the 1st and 2nd round, which isn’t worth a ton more money.

Cubstein
1 year 1 month ago

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the system the way it currently is. The team will get a second chance next year, If Nix or Aiken really wanted to sign they still could have for less money. Aiken had to be offered at least 40-50 % of his slot for the Stros to keep their pick next year.

Aiken will likely be sorry for turning that down. 3+ million is still more than the average person makes in their lifetime, he reportedly turned down 5 million. Only the top 3 spots are allocated more than 5 million, players make that kind of money in their signing bonus and with concerns about his arm, he’s not likely to go that high again, not to mention if something happens and he either doesn’t perform and/or his arm does get injured, he will be lucky to get a 1 million signing bonus.

Cubstein
1 year 1 month ago

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the system the way it currently is. The team will get a second chance next year, If Nix or Aiken really wanted to sign they still could have for less money. Aiken had to be offered at least 40-50 % of his slot for the Stros to keep their pick next year.

Aiken will likely be sorry for turning that down. 3+ million is still more than the average person makes in their lifetime, he reportedly turned down 5 million. Only the top 3 spots are allocated more than 5 million, players make that kind of money in their signing bonus and with concerns about his arm, he’s not likely to go that high again, not to mention if something happens and he either doesn’t perform and/or his arm does get injured, he will be lucky to get a 1 million signing bonus.

mstrchef13
1 year 1 month ago

First, why is Baltimore still the “failed physical” joke team? Balfour has been terrible for Tampa, perhaps because of the injury concerns the O’s had (remember, Balfour insisted his shoulder was fine, but the O’s apparently had issues with his knees and elbow). Arroyo turned down the O’s offer because he didn’t want them to see his medicals, and now he’s on the DL and out for the year after TJ surgery.

Second, why aren’t teams in general not allowed to not like the results of players’ physicals? This isn’t the NFL or NBA draft where teams get to work out, examine, and interview players ad nauseum before the draft. Maybe the Astros didn’t handle things properly, and should have dropped their offer to $5M instead of $3M then raising it to $5M. They definitely shouldn’t have leaked the results of the physical, if in fact they did. However, they should be entirely justified to not like those results and adjust their offer accordingly.

It is unfortunate that Nix (and Marshall to a lesser extent) got caught up in the drama. The whole “draft pool” concept was mind boggling to start with, and this is an example of how it works against both team and draftee. I hope a solution is worked out before next year’s draft, but I doubt it.

Karkat
1 year 1 month ago

Baltimore isn’t, that’s why we need a new one 😛

Teufelshunde4
1 year 1 month ago

Maybe the league ought to get physicals for any players projected to be in the top rounds of the draft?
Could give both players and teams peace of mind when beginning negotiations.

Federal League
1 year 1 month ago

I wonder if it would cause any eligibility issues. In the NBA and the NFL, players have to specifically declare for those drafts and the act of declaring is a forfeiture of their amateur status. Thus agents can extend credit for trips and showcases, etc, and the league itself can cover expenses for those it invites to the combines.