2008 Draft Signing Period passes

A fitting end to a bad day
Game 123: Baseball for the fun of it

At the stroke of midnight last night teams forfeited their rights to negotiate with unsigned picks, which is a fancy way of saying the kid is going to/back to college. A lot of young men received a life changing amount of money in exchange for agreeing to play a game for a living, and I envy every single on of them.

As expected the Yankees didn’t sign their top pick, SoCal high schooler Gerrit Cole, who instead choose to attend to UCLA. Apparently it wasn’t so much the money that was a problem, rather Cole and his family just really wanted him to go to college. So be it, it’s his right to choose. The Yanks also didn’t come to terms with their second round pick, RHP Scott Bittle out of Ole Miss. He had some shoulder issues, but refused to cut a deal. I hate too see kids turn down ridiculously large amounts of money like this, for their sake it hope it works out for them.

Sandwich rounder and ex-Stanford ace Jeremy Bleich agreed to a $700,000 signing bonus, which is actually below slot by about $160,000. He did miss time with the elbow strain this spring, but he came back to pitch well in the NCAA postseason. That said, he is a Boras client, and those guys never sign for below slot. That’s a good indication that the elbow might still be an issue.

On to the good news. The Yanks cut a deal with 27th round pick Garrison Lassiter yesterday, forking over $675,000 to sign the talented prep shortstop. Lassiter might have the highest ceiling of any player the Yanks drafted thanks to his picturesque swing and electric bat speed, but just about every aspect of his game needs to be refined. He’s an extremely high ceiling player, but also a very low probability guy.

The Yanks will receive compensation picks for their failure to sign Cole and Bittle, officially dubbed picks #28A and 75A in next year’s draft. Since the Nationals were unable to agree to terms with their top pick, Missouri RHP Aaron Crow, they will receive pick #9A as compensation. The Mariners haven’t signed their top pick, Georgia closer Josh Fields, yet, but because he is a senior with no college eligibility remaining the deadline does not apply to him, and he is free to sign at any point until next year’s draft. He will certainly do that at some point. So what all this means is that pick #28A will essentially be the 30th overall pick. We won’t know the actual spot of the 75A pick until the length of the sandwich round is settled via free agency this winter. It could get pushed back as far as #90-100 overall. The compensation picks are protected, and can not be lost as the result of signing Type-A free agents.

When it was all said and done, the Yanks inked 26 of their first 30 selections, at least five of which received over-slot bonuses. The highest bonus paid was the $850,000 given to 6th rounder Brett Marshall, and this marks the first time since 2002 that the Yankees did not hand out a seven-figure bonus. Overall, it’s a rather mediocre draft class, and a lot is hinging on the status of Bleich’s elbow. You can see all of the Yankees picks here, while BA’s Draft Blog has you covered on all fronts.

Damon Oppenheimer & Co. have had finer moments.

A fitting end to a bad day
Game 123: Baseball for the fun of it
  • Dan

    A perfect time to clean house on the whole staff.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.


      • Andy In Rainy Daytona

        Because the sky is obviously falling. (Tongue in cheek)

  • DaBXBomber

    I agree RAB … this draft just isn’t that exciting. It may be solid, but I think the farm needs a little more than just solid.

  • bill

    the yanks spent less money than the gaints, padres, red sox and reds and other team for thier player procurement/signing this year the and with the underpreforming of some of their top players dark days might be coming faster than we think. i think the yanks are not making the money we think they are. they might be broke.

    • Tim

      I think that this line of thought is misleading. It is not the Yanks fault that Cole would not even talk to them. If he had signed as expected they would have dropped another $4M to $5M on the draft. It was also bad luck that Bittle had shoulder issues, that could have been another $1M or more. I do not see the Yanks as being unwilling to spend money, instead they weren’t given a chance. On top of that I think it is ridiculous to conclude that the Yanks are broke because they were not the highest spending team in this draft.

    • Count Zero

      First of all, define “broke.” You cannot be “broke” when your net asset value is probably in excess of $1B. If you are trying to say they have a “liquidity” problem — i.e., they are cash flow negative at the moment — you’re barking up the wrong tree.

      Think about this rationally for a moment — the Yankees weekly expenses are likely in the seven digit range. What possible difference would spending $5MM more make? Imagine I make $300K a year and I am having cash flow issues due to my profligate spending…and I didn’t have enough money to buy a $2 coffee at Dunkin. It’s not possible — $2 is pocket lint in my weekly budget. My dry cleaning bill alone would be >$50 a week. All I have to do is wear the same shirt twice to come up with enough to buy a coffee and a breakfast sandwich too. My mortgage is probably more than $2,000 a week.

      Well $5MM is close to pocket lint in the Yankees weekly budget. If their liquidity was so bad that they couldn’t come up with $5MM to sign a draftee they wanted, they would already be in Chapter 11.

      The idea that the Yankees failed to sign prospects because they are “broke” is so ludicrous it’s not even funny. Do yourself a favor and don’t go espousing this theory anyplace where you actually care what people think about you.

  • Ivan

    It’s a iight draft at best. Nevertheless Oppenheimer and Co. no what they are doing.

  • bkight13@hotmail.com

    Cole was 3-4 years away from helping anyways, so we can just draft him again in 2011 if he stays healthy and effective. The draft is always a crapshoot, at least we get the picks back next year.

  • greg

    Mike, who do you think the Yankees would have taken had they known Cole’s plan?

    • Ivan

      No way if that was the case.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      I dunno, I probably would have taken Melville.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

        The fact that the Royals were able to ink both Eric Hosmer and Tim Melville is great for baseball, but still makes me wonder why the Yanks didn’t feel the need to scoop up Melville.

        The Red Sox have signed Ryan Westmoreland also, ugh.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

          Sox are the believed to be the first team to ever spend $10M on a draft. With that come great expectations.

          • JimT

            That article in BA was a bit misleading in the respect that he didn’t count the money paid to the lower rounds by Arizona a few years ago but did project and add the numbers to this years Sox total. It seemed to me likely that Arizona went over the $10M mark on an earlier draft. But that aside, The Red Sox certainly spent a lot of money on this years’ draft. We will know two or three years from now if it was money well spent.

            There is no doubt that the Red Sox are intent on building thier future teams primarily via the farm system.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

      I had read that the Yanks were heavily eying Arizona’s first rounder and southpaw reliever, Daniel Schlereth.

  • rafael

    Damon Oppenheimer & Co. have had finer moments.

    Just a question: how was the “quality” of their opportunity to have a “fine” moment?

    That is, I remember hearing that it was a mediocre draft overall…did they screw things up, or were they never that great to begin with? I figure they didn’t know that Cole wasn’t going to sign, but how much of this do we hold against Oppenheimer?

    (no sarcasm intended, by the way)

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Signing Cole is pretty big screw up. Someone in the org has to take the blame, naturally it’s going to be the guy that put the draft together.

      • rafael

        Fair enough.
        Thanks for the answer!

      • Ivan

        would this make the yanks gun shy next year drafting tough signability players like Cole?

        • THE Dread Pirate Roberts

          depends on what you mean by signability … the yankees were led to believe that signability in this case was a matter of the right deal, *not* whether the kid in question was even open to going pro …

  • A.D.

    Its a shame what happened to the top picks, and a bit worrysome on bliech signing under slot, hopefully Marshall, Lassiter & co. can reach potential and make us forget about the picks that didn’t sign

  • Mike W.

    Did the Red Sox sign all of their signability guys? What a week for the Yankee universe…. Terrible.

  • Sal

    How would you rank as the top 5 pitching signees and top 5 hitting signees of this draft:

    My top 5 pitchers from this draft that signed are:
    Jeremy Bleich
    Brett Marshall
    D.J. Mitchell
    Matt Richardson
    (don’t know who to piut 5th)

    Top 5 hitters from this draft that signed:
    Kyle Higashioka – C
    Garrison Lassiter – SS
    Addison Maruszak – SS
    Corban Joseph – 2B
    Chris Smith – 1B/OF

    What do you all think and any projections/comps?

  • Mulls

    this years draft makes not going after inoa even worse. the yanks didnt go nuts spending this year in international free agency either ,what are they thinking ? its to early to tell but im not happy with this draft ,i like corban joseph and brett marshall. but out of our first 4 picks we end up with david adams and bleich ???

  • yanks99

    I hope Cole blows out his arm. I know some of you don’t think this way but if he had no intention of signing he could’ve decided that before the draft.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Please don’t do that. It’s not right to wish injury on someone.

    • THE Dread Pirate Roberts

      stay classy yanks99, stay classy …

    • bklynJT

      I think he is just saying what everyone is feeling deep down inside. Human nature boys, human nature.

  • Reggie C.

    Kyle Higashioka is hitting well in the GCL. Of course its a small sample size but its good to see a kid’s enthusiasm at signing translate into some production from the get-go. I’m glad he’s not overwhelmed. ‘Shioka is probably raising a few eyebrows.

    Brett Marshall could be a Roy Oswalt type. Physical similarities aside and both featuring great FBs , i’d love to see Marshall face some GCL hitters before the season is out. If anything, some success will wash some of the bad taste the Cole non-signing has left.

    No Cole. No Inoa. Hmm…. I’m in a better mood now than last nite so i regret that “F** Cole, F*** his daddy” comment. My bad.

    One thing. Brackman is gonna pitch in Hawaii. I simply cannot wait to see what he can do. Remember that Joba debuted in Hawaii in grand style.

  • Alan

    This is pretty disappointing, but in reading/listening to interviews with Cole he seemed like a real immature kid. Let him goto college, looks like the Yankees are going to have a monster draft next year what with all of the compensation picks we’ll be getting.

  • Bonos

    That’s supposing that 2009 is a talent deep draft.

  • Baseballnation

    It’s said to be weak…as in the weakest in a couple of years type of weak.

  • felixpanther

    they better spend the money they save this year on next year’s draft, 15m maybe?

  • Hitman

    The yankees almost deserved to lose their second round pick. You mean there was nothing better than a so so relief pitcher??

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