No. 4 overall pick Kevin Gausman broke the news himself via Twitter right at the 5:00 p.m. signing deadline, as the LSU right-hander announced that he agreed to a last-second deal with the Orioles.
Earlier this week Gausman’s hometown New Orleans Times Picayune reported that he’d be turning down the Orioles and going back to LSU for his senior season, but they quickly backtracked on that story and he ended up getting $4.32 million compared to the slot value of $4.2 million.
The top pitcher taken in the draft after position players Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, and Mike Zunino went 1-2-3, Gausman should move quickly through the Orioles’ farm system and projects as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter with a mid-90s fastball and plus changeup.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.