The Tampa Bay Rays are reportedly set to break the draft-pool era signing bonus record when they finally come to terms with Louisville slugger Brendan McKay. The Rays selected McKay with the fourth pick in the draft earlier this week, and when his college season finally ends, the left handed first baseman appears set for a huge pay day.
The bonus record was set early on Friday morning when the Atlanta Braves agreed to terms with Vanderbilt pitcher Kyle Wright for $7 million. Wright was the fifth pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. McKay is reportedly in line to receive $7.025 million, just above Wright’s record haul.
Both Wright and McKay were mentioned as potential No. 1 overall selections, but the Minnesota Twins opted to go with high-upside high schooler Royce Lewis. Lewis will likely sign for far less than Wright and McKay.
While Wright and McKay won’t set the all-time draft signing bonus record, their new deals will be the highest since Major League Baseball instituted the bonus pool system in 2012. The highest bonus of all-time went to Pittsburgh Pirates righty Gerrit Cole, who was the No. 1 pick in 2011. Cole received $8 million. Stephen Strasburg received a $7.5 million bonus by the Washington Nationals as the No. 1 pick in 2009, but his deal was worth $15.1 million overall, as it was part of a four-year major league contract.