After a few recent deals hit the books, the Marlins were left with the two top remaining unsigned players from June’s Rule 4 amateur draft. Fourth overall choice J.J. Bleday and #35 draftee Kameron Misner have yet to agree to terms, though it seems there’s general optimism — for the former, in particular — that they’ll end up signing on.
The deadline for reaching agreement is July 12th at 5pm eastern. It’s not at all infrequent to see a few nail-biters, though this signing season has been notably free of drama. After Bleday and Misner, the loftiest selection that isn’t yet in the books is 67th overall pick Josh Smith (Yankees).
President of baseball operations Michael Hill did not express any concern with the two key draft pieces, both of whom were star collegiate outfielders. “We’re encouraged with both, and hope to get it taken care of and get them out as soon as possible,” he tells MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.
In the case of Bleday, who just wrapped up a championship run with Vanderbilt, it seems it may only be a matter of time before he’s under contract. Frisaro tweets that a deal is “getting closer to being finalized” while MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says in his own tweet that the sides are “moving toward a deal.” Both indicate that the bonus is likely to be right near the slot value of $6,664,000.
As for Misner, a competitive balance round A selection who hails from the University of Missouri, there seems at least to be a bit more uncertainty. Heyman says that the Marlins are “believed” to have made an at-slot offer of $2,095,800. Misner and his reps may be running the clock in hopes of commanding more, but it’s not clear whether that’s even a realistic possibility. There’s no indication at present that he’d consider returning to school; as Frisaro rightly notes, that’s a risky option for a college junior.
By my count, the Marlins have spent to the limits of their existing bonus pool. They saved on several players but went over slot for second-rounder Nasim Nunez and fifth-rounder Evan Fitterer. Teams can exceed the allocated values by 5% without sacrificing any future draft picks; tallying the MLB.com tracker bonuses and adding that padding to the already signed players puts the Fish at about $7K shy of the line. In other words: there’s no room to pay one of their two remaining unsigned players more than their slot value unless the other takes less.