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.
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.