MLB’s attempts at holding down draft pick bonuses again resulted in a wave of signings announced just after the midnight deadline. This year, all but one first-round pick, the Blue Jays’ Tyler Beede, got a deal done.
Top overall pick Gerrit Cole of the Pirates was one of 23 first-round picks to sign just prior to the deadline, agreeing to a deal with an $8 million bonus. Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen, the No. 2 overall pick by the Mariners, did just about as good, getting a major league deal worth $8.5 million over five years.
The Orioles’ Dylan Bundy received a four-year major league deal worth $6.25 million. He was the fourth overall pick. No. 5 pick Bubba Starling, an outfielder who had the option of playing quarterback for Nebraska, received a $7.5 million bonus from the Royals. No. 6 pick Anthony Rendon got a major league deal worth $7.4 million from the Nationals.
(Trevor Bauer, the third overall selection by the Diamondbacks, was the only top-nine pick to sign prior to Monday’s deadline. He got a major league deal worth about $7 million on July 25.)
The biggest surprises Monday were that the Pirates managed to sign 61st overall pick Josh Bell and that the Nationals got a deal done with their third-round pick, Matt Purke. Bell, who told teams not to draft him because he was planning to go to the University of Texas, was viewed as a mid-first-round talent. He got a top-10-type bonus of $5 million. Purke, a first-round pick by the Rangers out of high school, entered 2011 as a likely top-five overall pick, only to slip because of arm problems. He fell in the draft, too, but the Nationals inked him to a major league deal worth $4.4 million.
Besides Beede, the 21st overall selection, only one other top-60 pick failed to sign. That was supplemental first-rounder Brad Austin, a catcher taken 54th by the Padres.