Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MLB Draft Signing Deadline: Zach Lee Edition

The MLB draft signing deadline has come and gone with only 3 of the top 50 picks not signing. It was not big surprise that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado signed at the very last minute. But Zach Lee, that one I didn't see coming. Let's take a look at some of yesterday's highlights while I try to reign my Dodger hatred in a little...

In no surprise, the Nationals were able to sign Bryce Harper right before the 11:59 p.m deadline last night. It's the second straight year the Nationals have signed once-in-a-lifetime prospects according to Super Agent Soctt Boras. Harper got a 5-year deal worth $9.9 million including a $6.5 million signing bonus. The power hitting 17-year-old will be transitioned to the outfield from catcher to expedite his arrival to the majors. Keith Law Tweeted that the Nats might even send Harper to the AFL in October.

The Nationals also signed 2nd round pick left-handed pitcher Sammy Solis for a $1 million bonus and 4th rounder right-handed pitcher A.J. Cole for a $2 million bonus. Quite the nice haul for the Nationals who are putting together a good core of young players. I've technically been a big fan of theirs since they signed Vladimir Guerrero in 1993 so I don't want to hear any lip about hopping on the bandwagon.

Pittsburgh continues to be the biggest spender come draft time. It helps if you're constantly one of the worst teams in baseball but that's just a theory I'm working on. The second overall pick right-handed pitcher Jameson Tallion signed for around a $6 million bonus. Fellow right-handed pitcher Stetson Allie tumbled all the way to the second round before the Pirates drafted him. Allie probably has the most uside of any pitcher in the draft other than Tallion and the Pirates opened up their wallet and paid out $2.25 million for him. Impressive draft.

Baltimore gave a $5.25 million bonus to short stop Manny Machado minutes before the deadline.

The Diamondbacks reached a deal with 6th overall pick pitcher Barret Loux but his physical revealed arm damage. The D-Backs were able to void the contract and, it turns out, Loux will become a free agent. Loux will be able to sign with any team (Diamondbacks?) and the Diamondbacks will receive the 7th pick in next year's draft as compensation.

The Padres reportedly offered 9th pick overall pitcher Karsten Whitson a $2.1 million bonus but Whitson held out for more and never signed. $2.1 million with a chance to eventually live in San Diego and pitch in a massive pitchers park? Doesn't seem bad to me but I live in New Orleans where the temperature is Fire but with a lot of humidity.

The 14th overall pick Dylan Covey declined to sign for a different reason. The pitcher was on his way to signing when his physical revealed Covey has Type 1 diabetes. The Brewers were still interested in signing him but Covey decided it would be better to attend the University of San Diego which is close to home. I wish the kid the best of luck. And if he ever wants to have me out to watch a game and maybe hit a party, my email is on the right of the page.

The Halos were able to reach a deal with 2-way star Kaleb Cowart. They'll likely give him a chance to play third base before moving him to a full time pitcher.

The 26th pick in the draft struck a deal right before the deadline. Outfielder Kyle Parker signed a $1.4 million contract allowing him to still quarterback the Clemson Tigers. By choosing to play football, Parker probably left close to $1 million on the table.

Buckle in kids, I have a lot of venom built up for this one. It was already a bad day for LSU when Anthony Renaudo and LSU commit Lucas LeBlanc ended up signing with Boston. But it got worse when future quarterback, Zach Lee signed with the Dodgers. I was convinced the Dodgers had a near zero percent chance of signing Lee away from LSU as I wrote here and more recently here.

It took $5.25 million to buy Zach Lee out of his LSU commitment and love for football. Where did the Dodgers, tied up in the McCourt divorce, get that kind of cash? I can't be certain, but this has Alyssa Milano written all over it. Lee was already enrolled at LSU and even practiced with the football team that afternoon before signing. Lee might have even had a shot at starting by the end of the season considering the track records of incumbent QBs Jarett Lee and Jordan Jefferson. Of course, the LSU baseball team also suffers losing Lee from their rotation.

The Lee bonus more than doubles Clayton Kersaw's $2.3 million in 2006, the Dogers' former largest bonus. Despite the fate of the franchise being in limbo because of the divorce, the Dodgers both added payroll at the trade deadline and gave out one of the largest bonuses of the draft. I have a feeling this will make me angry for quite some time. Or until Thursday, my attention span isn't very...oh my god, that dog is wearing a hat.

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