Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the MLB Players Association has filed a grievance on behalf of Carter Stewart, the Braves’ first-round selection (No. 8 overall) in the 2018 draft. The Braves did not sign Stewart in part because of a physical that gave them cause for concern. MLB set the slot value for No. 8 at $4,980,700 million. In order to qualify for draft pick compensation for failing to sign their first-rounder, the Braves would have had to have offered Stewart 40 percent of slot value, or a minimum of $1,992,280. According to the grievance, they did not.
Stewart now faces having to enroll at a junior college before reentering the draft in 2019. He and his agent Scott Boras seek instead for him to be made a free agent, which would be a more lucrative endeavor as he would be able to negotiate personally with any interested team rather than those who have the requisite bonus pool. Per Rosenthal, Stewart is believed to be a long shot to win his case. The case was heard before an arbitration panel in New York last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and will resume at a later date.
Rosenthal also notes that the Stewart situation had a ripple effect on the Braves as they also failed to sign pitcher Zack Hess, selected in the 34th round. The Braves had planned to sign Stewart below slot and Hess above slot.