Tonight (11 pm central) is the deadline for baseball draft picks to sign with teams, and according to Baseball America, 23 of 33 first round picks remain unsigned. That includes six of the top seven picks: Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, Dylan Bundy, Bubba Starling, Anthony Rendon, and Archie Bradley.
The teams and top picks are in a showdown over slotting. It’s apparently not collusion if it comes as a mandate from the commissioner, and according to the Baseball America piece, MLB is asking that teams refrain from offering money over slot for as long as possible, and further, to refrain from revealing bonus information before the deadline, so that it cannot be used as leverage by players in other negotiations.
The biggest story is Kansas City’s 5th overall pick, OF Bubba Starling, because he has the opportunity to also play football as quarterback at Nebraska. Sam Mellinger had an excellent profile of Starling and his advisor, Scott Boras, last week in the Kansas City Star.
Starling provides a different kind of leverage, one that’s right in Boras’ wheelhouse. Boras is putting together charts and studies about Starling’s NFL potential and will argue that any baseball contract needs to account for his giving up on the other sport.
Starling is an athletic running quarterback who would play for Nebraska. I’m assuming Boras’ detailed charts have many pages devoted to top 5 picks of NFL quarterbacks from Nebraska, and also accurately account for the new wage scale.
I say that tongue in cheek, and while Starling has the leverage of an opportunity to do something else and play both sports at Nebraska, his professional future is much brighter. I don’t think he’s giving up a number north of 8 million to possibly get on an NFL roster in four years. Still, Boras likes to also tout the success of players that don’t sign out of high school and get more money when they enter as collegiate players. The current rumored amount from Starling’s camp is 10 million, and the good Selig soldier Royals have not budged off 7.5 million -yet.
Two fan bases wait for one more day. Starling’s been in Nebraska attending summer classes and participating in workouts, but was not part of the 105 man roster when camp opened. Fans there are throwing there arms open. Meanwhile, he’s the local product drafted by the home town team, and fans in the Kansas City area will be prepared to either adore or villify him in a few hours.
[photo via Getty]