Friday, June 09, 2006

Slot Money

The good news is that we had a boatload of draftees come out of my area. The bad news is that we had a boatload of draftees come out of my area. Florida had 189 draftees. I nearly ran out of options which made for some tense moments near the 45th round. And believe me, when Logan gets frustrated with the cross-checkers and suddenly shouts out your name over the conference line asking what you have left, you just can't say, "I dunno." I'll get to my response near the end.

Anyhow, the expectations are incredibly high. If I'm not mistaken, we selected more players from FL/GA/SC than any other area across the country. GM Logan and scouting director DeSear wasted no time flying to Florida once they came to a quick negotiating standstill with our two top selections. I saw this happen last year too. All by design. Of course, one of the excuses they use is being "over slot," which requires them to jump through some additional hoops with MLB's chief labor counsel before striking a deal. Bogus excuse. They delay signing the elite players until things shake out with certain signings in rounds 5-20. If signings turn out to be solid, then maybe Logan feels he can be more aggressive in negotiating the elite contracts. If signings are not so robust, then perhaps Logan is more inclined to come to terms and get a deal done more quickly.

Although the number of our draftees from my area was up almost 50% from what I had last year, I still feel pretty good about things. I picked up DeSear in Orlando on Wednesday and we signed one of our top ten picks. Went very smooth. A close family member, who happened to be an attorney, was the kid's agent and admitted he was just there for the family's peace of mind more than anything. Besides, the kid admitted prior to the draft that if he were chosen before the xth round, he would sign for slot money. Can of corn. Don't we wish they were all that easy. One down . . . off to Rookie ball.

At the same time, Goldie (in his expanded role) went solo in signing one of his prospects. Remember the homeless guy loitering around first? Yep. That's him. Logan pulled the trigger on the kid somewhere after the 10th round. This spring, the kid actually increased his OBP to something like .560 and led the conference in walks for yet another year. But you won't see him listed on the official draft boards as a first baseman. No, it seems the kid had some fielding issues at first base and was moved midseason to right field. Apparently he lost some weight and showed some decent arm strength towards the end of the season. I'm not buying it, but at least he's Goldie's pick-- not mine. Another one down . . . off to Rookie ball.

And then there's Logan screaming at the top of his lungs somewhere after the 45th round. You'd swear it was the first couple rounds! DeSear and the cross-checkers were taking too long to produce a short list for the selection when Logan blew his stack. Sleep deprivation if you ask me. But anyhow, he starts shouting the names of several area scouts in California. "What's the best player you have left? 5 words or less why should we take him?" One prospect by one prospect . . . one area scout by one area scout. Just 9 teams away from us having to pick. Each scout talks quicker and quicker knowing that our time is running out. Many of the names go right over the heads of the cross-checkers. Then it happened.

"Cutter?"

The moment of truth was upon me. Go ahead, call me a hypocrite. I answered, "Dallas Parker. 95 mile per hour fastball."

Immediately two cross-checkers objected. "Loose cannon," "Zero makeup."

"I agree," said DeSear. "Not the type of guy we need on our club."

I could start to hear Logan announce the name of another area scout when he was quickly interrupted by a voice I hadn't heard during the entire two days of the draft. But when Angus T. Hunt spoke . . . it was like the old E.F. Hutton commercial (everybody listened). "I'm sure Cutter's already weighed the good with the bad and believes that Dallas Parker is worth the risk."

"He quit on his team," DeSear replied.

"He didn't quit on our team," Mr. Hunt snapped. "Dr. Rakes can work with him. Besides, who else on the board has a 95 mph fastball? I'm inclined to agree with Cutter on this one."

Silence. It was suddenly our turn to select. What else could Logan do?

Thanks to Mr. Hunt, I'll be having breakfast tomorrow at the Parker trailer in little Sorrento, Florida, to get a certain signature on a certain minor league contract. After that, I'll make my way up to middle Georgia to hook up with Goldie. Although we missed out on Shawn Bankman and Jackson Savard, Logan was able to snag one of Goldie's picks (pitcher Rio Cabrera - a guy who I thought had some major mechanical flaws) and one of the few picks we actually agreed upon, catcher Mac Thomas.

6 Comments:

Anonymous southwest brewer said...

So the Wildman was a 46th rounder?

Did he sign? How much?

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gotta say im glad you guys got dallas, really do wish him the best of luck. too bad the astros didnt draft a pitcher 45th, was really hoping you were a scout for our org! wonder if you heard paul riccardini's (sp?) statements on what the astros were looking for in draft picks. 7 day work weeks, character, etc etc, very similar to your '6th tool'.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Cutter said...

sw brewer-

Oh he signed alright. 15 minutes after I sat at the kitchen table. Just long enough for me to go over the terms. He didn't care about the contract and wasn't too concerned about the bonus. He just wanted to sign and play ball. As you probably know, signings are rare at such late rounds. Bonuses aren't why you sign at that level. Dallas had zero leverage. Zero. But at least I was able to get him enough money to repair their leaking (trailer) roof from Hurricane Charlie two years ago.

If I had a nickel . . .

8:07 AM  
Blogger Cutter said...

Astro-

Don't assume I gave the correct rounds. It would be too easy to work backwards. I saw Max Sapp play at least a half dozen times. Really hard woker and excellent makeup. He projected high on my list for average and power, but I don't think he'll stay behind the plate. I really liked Perez (I clocked him at 93) and think the world of Chris Johnson (pro genes, raw power, will probably move to 1B).

As far as Ricciarini, the Stros Director of Player Personnel, I wouldn't be too crushed if he ever took DeSear's place. But then again, DeSear has just recently become the posterboy for our GM's statistical-based philosophy. Whose to say Ricciarini wouldn't cave-in if Tim Purpura weren't the GM? There once was a time when DeSear would've said the same things as Ricciarini.

If I had a nickel . . .

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

astro again...
good to hear about max sapp and perez, and yea, i went and looked at the 45th round, something tells me you dont work for the mets or the angels, tricky tricky. wish your organization the best of luck, especially dallas, is he going to rookie or ss-a? probably rookie. great job getting him the money to fix his place, hopefully karma can come around and do something nice for you.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous MLB Standings said...

Good blog, maximum of my searching is ending here.

7:09 AM  

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