To be honest with you, I wasn’t planning on doing a whole lot with day two of the Rule 4 Draft, save for perhaps an update later on with some of the more interesting names that the Jays selected. But then a funny thing happened on the way the Jays clearing money so they can sign Matt Smoral: they selected Anthony Alford.

“Alford has tools galore and the ability to do a lot of exciting things on the baseball field,” writes his scouting report at ESPN.com (Insider Only). “On the negative, he also has that on the football field and has told teams he won’t want to sign if selected.”

Commenter North York Jays has been following along and adds this tidbit underneath the previous post: “The last 2 guys the Jays have taken have left the MLB guys at a complete loss for words, as if they’ve never heard their names mentioned even once. Both were crappy college relievers. They are probably trying to save as much as possible for Smoral and Alford, and I’m curious to see if they’ll punt all the picks from round 4 on to make sure they sign all the guys at the top.”

It’s certainly an interesting notion, and not necessarily a crazy one, but there are perhaps other possibilities too.

If the Jays don’t sign Alford, they lose $424,400 from their pool of available monies for players selected in the first ten round, so there’s incentive for them to sign him– though not as much as there is with their other potential tough sign, Smoral, whose selection at number 50 added $1-million to the club’s pool, according to a pre-draft primer from Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com.

By selecting Alford the Jays could be hedging in case something with Smoral goes awry– as they did last year, selecting Dan Norris seemingly as a backup to first rounder Tyler Beede. They could be creating some leverage for themselves in negotiations with Smoral by having another player they could just as easily give “his” money to, or they could simply be selecting the best player available.

Alford certainly sounds like he qualifies for that. In a chat earlier this spring at ESPN.com, Keith Law answered Alford and Carson Kelly, when asked who could be “the Mike Trout of this year’s draft-not top 10 regarded, but can significantly outperform his draft position?”

At the end of May, ESPNHS selected Alford their Gatorade Mississippi baseball player of the year. “Anthony Alford is an exceptional player,” said Larry Knight, head coach at rival Sumrall (Miss.), in the report. “He’s absolutely a special talent and he’s just on a level above all the others I’ve seen.”

He was ranked 36th on BA’s pre-draft top 500, and number 47 on Keith Law’s top 100 at ESPN. “He may have been the best athlete available in this year’s draft, and he’s a two-sport guy with a commitment to Southern Mississippi to play quarterback. He’s raw as might be expected, but he has power and speed to spare,” writes John Manuel at Baseball America.

But that’s just it: there’s also this little thing called football.

Alford was the Gatorade Mississippi football player of the year for two years running, and has a strong commitment to Sourthern Miss. He was ranked 95th nationally on ESPN’s class of 2012 recruiting board. In another chat, Law says that Alford had “told scouts to stop coming because he’s going to play football,” and the player himself told the Hattiesburg American at the end of May that he’s committed to college and will be playing both sports there. “I think that’s what’s going to make me happy, going to college. If I go pro, it might be for all the wrong reasons. College is what’s best for me.”

Of course, that’s easy to say before a pro team starts dangling millions of dollars in front of your face– and evidently the Jays are it. ”It will be interesting to see — especially given the new Draft system in place in terms of spending — if any team will be willing to give signing him away from the gridiron a shot,” says MLB.com.

We knew they were going to be interesting, creative, and aggressive. Now it looks like they’ve got to carry the same approach forward if they’re going to get their big draftees actually signed.

Here’s MLB.com’s brief scouting video on Alford’s baseball skills. At the time of this writing (through the seventh round) the Jays have only selected college players in the rounds since taking Alford.

 

Image via the Hattiesburg American.

Comments (75)

  1. There have been a few players mentioned who give the sense that they have no intention of signing with a baseball team for various reasons (going to college, playing another sport etc). Can they chose not to participate in the draft ahead of time or are their names included whether they like it or not?

    If they have ability to not be included in the draft then talk about not signing is a fairly transparent negotiating tactic.

  2. With AA’s history of creativity on the contract and financial side of things,It’ll be interesting to see what the end game is.

  3. Block the plate on that slinky man!

  4. The Alford and Smoral picks are definately gambles, but I am not sure there is really incentive to sign them, or risk losing the 1mil and 424k portion of the pool as you suggest.

    If we assume that if either of these guys sign, it will take more than the slot money, then not signing them will mean they won’t have to take as much away from the other drafted players, and have more remaining to spread around.

    So I guess… bottom line, it is a gamble, but doesn’t really negatively affect their pool if they don’t sign these guys.

  5. As you said, it looks like the jays as loading up on tough signs and scrubs. The new draft rules are a joke. Are other teams doing the same thing?

  6. Everybody dreams of being a millionaire, but so few dream of attending Southern Miss. Please Ontario Jays, let me have this young man.

  7. In the first day they went for couple of safe picks and in the second day they decided to go big or go home. Considering the fact that it wasn’t a very deep draft, I think they did the right thing.

  8. Love it! AA you Ninja you.

  9. Anyone know if Tyler Beede has been drafted yet this year?

  10. I think its time the rules were revamped (again) so these kids have to declare.

  11. To expound on your leverage-Alford/Smoral idea: it’s not “his” (Smoral’s) money they are threatening to give to Alford instead of Smoral, because you don’t get to spend the money if you don’t sign the player. It’s all the money they are saving in rounds 4-10 by taking college seniors who will all be signed for underslot deals. Smoral and Alford’s agents will know that the first player who steps up to the table will get all this money earmarked to go overslot on somebody; it’s quite possible the Jays can save some money on Davis & Stroman as well to help with Smoral, Alford, & Gonzales.

    • I think that was what Stoeten meant. Alford and Smoral being the two hard signs in the latter rounds, they may be competing for the same pool of “saved” money. Smoral obviously has an advantage as that his opportunity cost to the Jays of not signing is $1 mill versus $425K for Alford.

    • Yes, was waiting for this to be written. Too many people still believe you can just not sign players and use that money on others.

    • Written more clearly that is. I realize Stoeten understood that, but the wording was a bit vague.

    • I understand the confusion, but I used the quotation marks precisely because I meant “his” (Smoral’s) money in the sense you suggest– that there’s the slot money plus the savings from going under on the other picks. I get that they don’t get to use the money alloted to Alford’s slot to pay other people if they choose not to sign him, and I said as much.

    • Plus, given the lower caliber of the arms they selected in the lower rounds, there may well be some more savings there.

  12. In other news, tonight’s lineup. Um, holy shit.

    Lawrie
    Rasmus
    Bautista
    Johnson
    Escobar
    Cooper
    Arencibia
    Vizquel
    Davis

  13. Random, totally uneducated guess, but I think the Jays sign Smoral while Alford goes to College.

    You’re welcome for sharing this insight.

  14. A Smoral Dilemma.

  15. Think the Jays will be willing to go over slot by a bit (not enough that they would lose a pick) and pay just the luxury tax?

  16. I love how this is going to be a great draft year if you are a middling relief pitcher in his senior year! I see it as a long due reward for the unsung heros of college baseball.

    • except those guys are only ever going to be saying they were drafted in the 6th round.

      Then they will leave out the part where they decided to sign a contract with a bonus of $20,000 and a blow job from a hooker. So the organization could go sign someone they actually wanted on their roster.

  17. So assuming EE isn’t ready to go that leaves them with a bench of Mathis and the scrappy little Irish guy. I feel really good about this.

  18. Anyone listening to Rosenthal on PTS. Just said that he didn’t report the Jays are after Garza. He said he reported the jays have enough talent in the farm to go after Garza. How is that news? He is against the Jays making a deal by the way.

    • Well if that’s the case I’ve seen at least a dozen misquotes on various sites and blogs today.

    • i saw it too. just goes to show you the bullshit press, interfering editors and the lack of quality stories and writing material. as i read way to much of this fucking garbage daily to sort through to find the truth. the fucking national enquirer has more truth in it. and then watch pts and the boys are talking fuckin haircuts or nicks puppy.fuck off already.if its going to be a made up soap opera put some hot fuckin women in there.and that stuttering fat fuck on the score is driving me nuts.i cant take more than a minute of him before im snapping at the fuckin tv

  19. Wow, the jays have now taken 5 College seniors. These guys dont even have scouting reports. For some reason I just find this awesome.

    • I would expect two more in rounds 9 & 10, and then use the overdrafts from rounds 4 – 10 to gather extra money for the guys you’re gonna have to pay big bucks to.

    • I agree, it exposes the colossal joke the MLB has turned the draft into by implementing such ridiculous spending limitations on drafted players. I hope they change the rules for the next CBA to stop this nonsense. I agree, I think its awesome too. Its such a blatant loophole in the system, and its awesome that AA is using it, I hope a ton of other Gm’s are too.

      • Bang on Frank. It’s like they got together and said how can we chase the best athletes away from baseball? Stoopid.

  20. Another senior!

  21. you dont even save that much from the last few rounds. 100,000 g’s a pick or so?

  22. I highly doubt a guy is going to give up a QB position at a big school to sign for 400k. the jays would have to come up with 2 mil at least. is that even possible?

    • He will def not sign for 400K. But what about $1mill guaranteed? That can buy a few college educations. But maybe he values being a big shot college QB in his home state higher than I would.

      • yeah but if his agent is telling him that if he’s an nfl draft pick he’ll get 3mil then 1 mil is not enough to sway him is it?

        • The NFL has hard slots in the draft. Plus, it’s hard to get drafted in the NFL as a QB. Only 11 were drafted in 2012, 12 in 2011, 14 in 2010 (10 of them in the 5th round or later). He’s also not going to a football factory. Southern Miss is hardly a college that pumps out NFL draftees on the regular (although they did produce Brett Favre eons ago).

          This guy’s football future is hardly made. Guaranteed millions will be something he’s gotta think long and hard about.

          • good points, I guess alex took this into consideration, but then why didn’t alford just say hey I might be interested in baseball if I’m a high pick so that he’d get more slot money. it seems to make no sense to lower your value in mlb unless you really want to play football

    • Southern Miss isn’t a big football program.

      This isn’t like Bubba Starling getting a scholarship @ Nebraska.

  23. one thing that people assume is a given is that these underslot players will just sign for 50k. their agents know the teams need that slot money so are they just going to help them out? I think not. they know if you don’t sign the pick you lose the slot allowance so they have leverage. if a pick is worth 300k and you offer him 50k, what’s to stop him from saying hey I want 200k or I’m not signing? it’s not just the GM’ s who are going to manipulate the system. EVERYONE will

    • Thats not how it works.

      The teams talk to the scrubs & agents before drafting them.

      The player will accept ‘just’ 50k because the other 500 scrubs on the list will be willing to accept that. If they want to hold out for $200k bonuses the teams just drop them off their board and move on to the next guy.

      No shortage of senior relievers in the college ranks.

      • maybe I’m wrong but once the player is drafted all bets are off. just because he agreed to the 50k before doesn’t mean he has to agree to it after. but then the agent would lose all credibiltiy

        • That’s why you draft college seniors. They don’t have the leverage of going back in the draft. Their alternative to a shitty bonus offer is holding out and being an undrafted free agent, where they aren’t guaranteed a job, let alone any money.

          • Just what Brumfield said. If you have a choice between a 50K payday or nothing, you probably don’t give a shit that you’re merely a pawn in Alex Anthopolous’ master game of chess.

    • Not every player has an agent, and $50,000 is probably a little high for some of these guys. With agents you need to pay them a fee and many of the lower round picks do not have one. If they decide not to sign with the Jays then they will probably not get any bonus or a guaranteed position on any team and their career could be over before it starts.
      I would start with a bonus offer around a traditional 20-30th round pick of $5-20,000.

  24. Im available to be drafted by the Jays..I will only ask for some dome dogs..that will really free up money for them

    • You may be onto something there. Drafting bums, paying them $20 for a hot meal. Then you create a community slo-pitch team for them to play on, affiliated that team with the club so you can fulfill your obligation of a minor league contract offer.

      I would volunteer to make a farce out of these new rules.

  25. While Alford has mentioned his preference to play football, he has chosen a baseball school in Ole Miss for his committ, instead of a premier football school like LSU or Nebraska (both of whom recruited him heavily).

    So there’s that….

  26. Hereèsa tricky thing……with all these unknowns who are drafted to ostensibly free up money to sign the “real” players…..they’re all going to have to be signed first. Because if th “names” sign first for their big money, that gives all the lesser players a shit ton of leverage in the negotations. For example, let’s say the Jays sign the top 3 draftees for $6 million, that leaves only $2.2 to sign everyone else…..but the agenst know that if they DON’T sign the other guys, then some the pool of money becomes seriously compromised by penalties for going way over the limit….and if the Jays DON’T sign them, then what they THOUGHT was an $8.8 million pool when they inked the big names could become a $4 million pool (or some other low number) and could result in the Jays paying penalties as well as (most importantly) losing picks.

    So the agents could say “we know that if you don’t sign our guy you lose his slot money, NS thus, dragt picks, so you need to sign him for XX amount of dollars”

    ould be tricky.

    • My response to the scrubs would be, We are offering you money you will not find elsewhere, we are also offering you a chance to play professional baseball. This is your only real option buddy.

  27. Also, I’m quite shit faced right now. It’s entirely possible that my post doesn’t make near as much sense in print as it did i nmy head.

  28. [...] $424,400 — less than half the amount of a compensation-round pick. Andrew Stoeten over at Drunk Jays Fans did a great job yesterday amalgamating a lot of the formalities concerning Alford, so make sure to [...]

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