While some outsiders have concerns about Carlos Rodon’s signability given he’s represented by Scott Boras, the White Sox don’t sound too worried.
Echoing amateur scouting director Doug Laumann’s confidence the White Sox will sign Rodon, the team’s first top-5 draft pick since 1990, general manager Rick Hahn said Monday he is upbeat about the situation.
Saying they wanted the best player on the board no matter what, the White Sox drafted the top collegiate pitcher with the No. 3 overall pick on Thursday despite the presence of Boras. Even though Boras has gained a reputation for driving a hard bargain on his clients’ behalf, Hahn said Monday — in his first public statement since Rodon was drafted — he’s keeping positive thoughts.
“I tend to be an optimistic guy,” Hahn said. “I never anticipate problems. Look, in reality, we have a history with Scott, a positive history with Scott. He had Joe Crede, he’s got (Dayan) Viciedo. We had Andruw Jones here. A fair amount of this concern, or discussion on how this could be difficult, I think is unnecessary and really not significant to us determining what’s going to happen here.”
There’s some thought among baseball analysts that Rodon would ask for a signing bonus similar to what the No. 1 pick is expected to receive. Though top pick Brady Aiken signed with the Houston Astros for $6.5 million, the suggested slot for the No. 1 was roughly $7.9 million.
The suggested slot amount for the third pick is $5.72 million and Rodon could try and command somewhere in between those two amounts. That might hurt the White Sox chances of signing other players as, even though they have a franchise-record $9.5 million bonus pool, Rodon could eat a significant chunk of that money.
One way the White Sox can offset a larger bonus for Rodon, and how they have operated in the past, is to pick players in earlier rounds than they may have been projected to be selected in exchange for below-slot deals.
Last year, the White Sox drafted senior pitchers Nick Blount and Brad Goldberg in the ninth and 10 th rounds and signed them for $10,000 each, far below their slotted values.
This year, the White Sox drafted similar-type players in the sixth (OF Louie Lechich) and eighth (SS John Ziznewski) rounds. While neither has officially signed, their slotted signing bonuses are $272,000 and $162,000.
“We’re gonna make sure we put ourselves in position to sign as many players as we’re capable of signing,” Hahn said. “We did not take any of these players without the intent of being able to sign them.
“The way the pool works, what you pay one player does influence what you can pay another. We knew going in what our plan was. We hope it plays out.”
One addition the White Sox can include in their package to Rodon — though it’s not a guarantee — is potentially a faster path to the majors. The White Sox could hypothetically tell Rodon, who is perceived to be nearly major league ready, they would bring him to Chicago this season if he signs.
The White Sox did that with Chris Sale after they took him No. 13 in 2010. They don’t want to pressure Rodon and put Sale’s meteoric timeline on him but they won’t rule out the path, either.
“As we enter into this we intend to be aggressive, be fair and make an offer that, hopefully, convinces him it’s time to begin his professional career,” Hahn said.