I wasn’t sure if this was maybe something that we should be careful to not read too much into, but how’s this for a development…

And it does indeed appear to be an actual thing, as Peter Gammons tweets out that Smoral’s aunt is Katie Dannemiller, who is CEO of the Marlins Sally League affiliate in Greensboro, and who happened to work with John Farrell in baseball operations in Cleveland, and that the giant left-hander “agreed with Farrell’s Jays.”

UPDATE: Ahhh, but not so fast… despite Gammons having very clearly saying “Matt Smoral agreed with Farrell’s Jays” (yes, I’m repeating this because people in the comments seem to have had trouble reading it the first time), we’re hearing that isn’t necessarily the case.

“Just talked to Jays 1A pick Matt Smoral, who denied report that he’s agreed to terms with Jays,” tweets John Lott of the National Post. “But sounds like negotiations are going well.”

Has someone told Smoral’s camp to quiet down with the talking to Peter Gammons stuff? Are they afraid to make it look too obvious that a pre-draft deal was in place?

For his part, Smoral says, according to another Lott tweet, that negotiations started almost immediately after the Jays selected him, for whatever that’s worth.

So… was Gammons maybe just pocket tweeting again?

It’s impossible to say definitively right now, but the official word, then, is that there is no deal.

Interestingly, though, Lott has another follow-up tweet, in which he says that he “also talked to Tyler Gonzales, another 1A pick.” Gonzalez “says he will sign at ‘close to’ slot ($857,200),” and both he and Smoral are off to Dunedin for physicals.

So… one’s heading for a physical to sign, and the other’s heading there too, but isn’t? I don’t know about that.

Whatever the case, I think what we’re starting to see is, maybe the draft strategy we’re assuming has been employed– to move money around and nab signability picks like Smoral– wasn’t just some late-in-the-game gamble on the part of the Jays and teams like them? To borrow a line from Parkes, quelle surprise!


That’s an impressive statement, because it sure as fuck isn’t like there was some dearth of pre-draft handshake agreements in the past. And it looks like Smoral may have been one of the guys– which probably bodes well for Anthony Alford’s chequebook too, as some had wondered if he and Smoral were an either-or proposition. If the Jays knew Smoral would sign easily, I doubt they would have drafted Alford as a backup.

As well, as I mentioned in the previous piece, second rounder Chase De Jong told Chris Toman of MLB.com that he was 95% sure *COUGH* *COUGH* that he’d join the Blue Jays.

More impressively from that post, though, is that Keith Law said that he felt Smoral, after going back to college and reestablishing value– and health– “is in contention for the first overall pick.”

Nails much!

A quick calculation of the slot money for the Jays picks from round four onward, based on Gregor Chisholm’s draft primer at MLB.com, and subtracting $5,000 for each pick, leaves the Jays with $1.21-million extra to play with– but there will be money going into the pool from Marcus Stroman’s allotment (he’ll get paid nicely, but as a college senior as well junior, perhaps not the full $1.8-million for his slot), plus the fact that clubs can spend up to 5% over their pool without being penalized a draft pick (though they are taxed at a 75% rate for every dollar between 0 and 5% above), which would add another $441,540 to the allotment.

Interesting indeed…


Image via ESPN. Hat tip to @Chasbo200 for the tweet.

Comments (118)

  1. Huge addition. Can’t wait to hear more about his performance in a Greetings From Dunedin post.

  2. All these draftees will be heading to Dunedin for physicals. Jays get all guys they want to negotiate with to go there prior to talks.

  3. The Blue Jays needed to call up Hutch, but I have to believe that young players seeing that especially high school kids knowing how quick Hutch moved through the Jays system that might be an incentive to sign with the blue Jays and not go to college. Money doesn’t hurt either of course but seeing a 21 year old kid pitching every 5th day couldn’t hurt.

    Expecting the blue jays to draft John Farrels son with one of their last picks in the draft, great story of what he’s been through.

    • Didn’t they draft Farrells son last year, or does he have another?

      • One’s with the Pirates but the one with the tumor was the one I was thinking of, but he could have even more children, I have no idea.
        He didnt get drafted he might not be a senior in college, looks like 2013 maybe is his draft year.
        Remember reading an article on him on sportsnet weppage a few months ago and he struggled since coming back to baseball after being sick and thought they would draft him anyway, but he might be a junior.

      • I recall that too. And Don Wakamatsu’s son too.

    • One thing has nothing to do with the other. Each player develops differently. Ask Deck McGuire about moving fast through the system. Or Sergio Santos.
      Prospects are apples and trains.

      • I didn’t say every high school player develops the same all I was saying is seeing that a 21 year old pitcher is in the majors doesnt hurt alot of teams that arent the blue Jays regardless if Hutch was ready or not would not call him up at 21.
        From what I remeber everyone thought the blue jays shouldnt have called up Hutch, needed a breaking ball and work on his changeup, but they called him up anyway going by their scouting reports which they should so yeah a high school kid may feel the blue jays unlike other teams will call them up no matter how young they are if they feel they can perfom at the Major league level, while other teams wont regardless if they feel they’re ready.
        Worrying about super two and all that and age.

  4. So, Gammons has said the two sides have agreed?

  5. Farrell

  6. How does Smoral compare to Dan Norris? Who’s better?

  7. Based on your and others’ calculations, the Jays will have about $2M to add to the slotted amounts. Put all toward Alford, that’s $2.42M. But let’s not forget about Smoral, who, despite signing early, does not mean he signed at slot. Allot an extra $400K for Smoral and $200K for DeJong (not total guesses but basically bullshit estimates)… and that’s about $1.8M total for Alford, or, incidentally, the same as the #22 pick’s slot value. Would that do it?

    • The $2M to play with is assuming $1.2M from “punting” and a savings of about $0.3M from Stroman, adding in a $0.45M of luxury taxable 5% overage.

  8. and with the 300th pick the toronto blue jays select uhhhh 5foot 6 150lb right hander guiseppe popodopolous from the danforth…

  9. This reminds me of that commenter who posted here in the offseason that they were the neighbor of some players sister in Florida and she told him that he’s definitely signing with Toronto.

    • Yes, that’s totally the same as Peter Gammons saying it.

      • I get that, but there are just too many things to be skeptical about when you hear this kind of statement, like:
        - why would Smoral tell his aunt this quickly?
        - why would she tell Peter Gammons, knowing that this is information that isn’t supposed to get out, especially considering she works in in baseball?
        - why would Smoral sign this quickly? So of all draftee’s, Smoral is the first to sign? (I say this only because I haven’t heard about any other signings, not that it isn’t possible)
        - why would the Jays sign Smoral before a physical

        I think a little common sense tells you that this story isn’t real.

        • You’re not wrong to ask those questions, but they don’t necessarily lead you to the conclusion you make, because they’re overridden by the fact that Gammons says it. Maybe in retrospect we’ll agree that those were signs that the story was false or misunderstood, but you act like I should have not even bothered, as though it isn’t news. I’m sorry, but that’s way false.

          • has anyone confirmed Gammons’ account? he seems a little geriatric to be using such gadgets and whatnot

          • No, I think it’s worth reporting, but I also think it’s worth stating the unlikelihood of the situation being true.

            I really don’t mean to come off as arrogant as your portraying, just stating my two cents. I quite enjoy reports like this, keep up the good work.

        • The answer you are looking for to all those whys is: a pre-draft agreement.

          • I don’t take it seriously until I see it on Bleacher Report!

          • And if you have a pre-draft agreement, why not a pre-draft physical?

          • “And if you have a pre-draft agreement, why not a pre-draft physical?”

            Handshake agreements don’t leave paper trails the way that physicals (which necessarily involve paid physicians) do and pre-draft negotiation is still nominally banned by MLB.

  10. John Lott’s twitter says that he’s spoken to Smoral, and says that they haven’t signed yet. Whether that means anything beyond it not being official yet, I’m not sure.

    • Butttt John Lott’s Twitter better not get in the way of the DJF Commentariat’s wet dream of all the top talent signing quickly!

  11. Should give the Jays a nice 1-2 punch in good lefties with Norris and now Smoral if it ends up being true and they sign him. Nice little wave after Syndergaard, Sanchez and Niccolino. Just a pity the wave ahead of those guys in McGuire and Jenkins is starting to be such a bust.

    • The Jenkins/McGuire situation is another reason to like the Stroman pickup. He kinda just plugs in where one of them might have – granted, we ddon’t know if hecan stick as astarter, but we’lthere’s as good a chance, if not better than for McGuire it seems (.

      • from what i understand his stuff plays so much better out of the pen. keep him there. not every guy needs to start. we’ve seen the value of a fruitful bully….or lacktherof

    • Is it really looking like such a bust? That “wave” was always advertised as McGuire, Jenkins and Hutch. Hutch is in the bigs and the other two were never supposed to be anything more than mid-back of the rotation guys.

      • I considered it a wave because Hutch being a high school kid was supposed to be a year or two behind so he really wasn’t in the conversation for me. I would have put Molina in with Hutch more than anything else. Hutch has surprised even the Jays management imo.

        Jenkins and McGuire being college pitchers (both 4 year I think) were drafted so they could get to the majors quicker even if their ceiling was no more than a 3rd or 4th starter. Hell even if they cut them down to good two pitch relievers that would have been a bonus. Obviously, they’re not complete write offs at this stage being 22 and 24 but as first rounders I’d say they’ve been if not a bust then certainly a rather large disappointment.

        • The second part of what you’re saying misses the point of the first part, though. They were easily signable, safe picks. Out of the whole draft, all 50 rounds (then), you’re going to get, what, 150 guys who play in the Majors if only just once?

          So, getting guys who are safe projections to play on a MLB roster isn’t nothing, even if they’re not major contributors. And if it saves you some budget (which did exist for teams, even under the old CBA) to take a shot at prying high ceiling guys out of college committments later, then it’s not really so bad.

          I mean, they kinda got exactly what they expected out of those guys, and they only reason they feel disappointing is because we put the “first rounder” tag on them. You could argue that your club should be picking higher ceiling guys in the higher spots, but that just isn’t how the strategy works.

          • The fact that they are first rounders is exactly why I am disappointed. I know they probably saved some money on those picks but I also understand that the lower upside is balanced out by the higher degree of certainty that those picks will contribute at the major league level sooner rather than later. The opportunity costs both represent in terms of the resources spent and missed opportunities on higher ceiling players shouldn’t be forgotten or taken so lightly. The Jays spent $2 mil on McGurie and $1.4 mil on Jenkins. You also have to remember that the Jays farm system was relatively barren when both were drafted. Management knew that while they were cutting budgets at the major league level they were going to need replacements sooner rather than later.

            I have to believe that the way management has talked about both players in the past and the plans they had for them this year either as players on the major league roster or as trading chips, they probably are very disappointed by the large step back both have taken. I don’t think management saw this kind of regression coming especially after the springs both had.

            So even though they knew they weren’t getting a Strasburg I am pretty sure they’ve received far from what they expected. Of course I’m probably writing them off quite early all things considered and you’re probably right that if they weren’t first rounders I’d be cutting them more slack. It’s just that after seeing that chart about the WAR produced by pick or round it’s obvious there had to be bigger expectations for these guys.

  12. Post is updated with info from Lott’s twitter.

    I have a suspicion that Gammons was correct, and that maybe someone wasn’t supposed to say so, and now they’re claiming there isn’t an agreement so soon to avoid making it look like they had a pre-draft deal in place, but that’s 100% pure speculation on my part and could very, very easily be dead wrong.

    Either way, Lott’s tweets aren’t bad news– sounds like the negotiations are going well, at the very least.

  13. Everytime I see the name ‘Smoral’ I think of John Smoltz

  14. Stroman is a college junior, not senior. I wonder if they’ll be able to save money by guaranteeing him he’ll spend September in the big leagues, which is worth around 80k + the benefit of knowing you’re closer to the majors with an option being burned automatically in 2013.

    • Shit. Thanks.

    • That’s a really good point. I also wonder if they find other ways to pay these players and make their signing bonus lower (i.e. rush em to the bigs, purchase them a golden calf)

  15. how can anyone actually sign for over slot without all the others signing first below slot. you don’t have the money available until the underslot guys sign

  16. Could be a deal in place, but agreement not to announce until Jays have negotiated with other picks. If they announce Smoral is signed for say $1.5 mill, then Alford knows how much money the Jays should have to give to him. Smarter for Jays to keep this close to their chest if possible.

  17. Correct me if I’m mistaken, but didn’t the Jays go through this with Beede last year? That it was speculated the Jays had a pre-draft deal in place?

  18. Incidentally, Stroman is a college junior, so he does have some leverage, although I can’t imagine he’ll be a tough sign.

    • The said he might be a tough sign the night of the draft. I think DJ Davis will be the easy below slot signing.

      • I don’t think he grows from 5’8 and that was the only think holding him back from top 10. Can’t see why he would want to re enter the draft next year to get an extra 100K or 2 instead of pitching in a major league bullpen

  19. If the Jays sign Smoral, and he develops into a nice prospect, then how amazing it is that the Jays got him as compensation for Frank Francisco signing with the Mets?

  20. I just spoke to John Dank’s cousin and he confirmed that everyone is signed and they will be in Dunedin by tomorrow.

  21. did jake elioplous ever get drafted again?

  22. It’ll be interesting to see the timelines on the signings.

    I think there’s a chance signing the expensive guys early could backfire. If the guys they drafted in rounds 6-10 realize the Jays earmarked their slot money already, they could hold out knowing they need their allotment in order to keep draft picks next year. I could see one of them deciding to play bigshot and instead of signing for $10,000 so the Jays avoid the tax for being over, they hold out for $200,000 or more. That might push the jays into the higher tax limit, but let them keep the picks. If they don’t sign, they lose the slot allotment and go way over, possibly losing muliple picks.

    Anyone else see that as a possibility?

    • Possibility but if it pushes the Jays over they don’t bite. Remember the guys they made these deals with aren’t prospects and don’t have agents. Basically the Jays called them and said otherwise you won’t get drafted but we will take you here give you 5-20K and release you so you can start your career as (engineer/acct/etc).

      Not a bad way to make 5-20K if you ask me. May even be allowed to play in one of the short season leagues for the summer.

      • i think your a bit off there stanley…while some of those guys may not necessarily deserve their draft slot i dont think they’re resigned to already pursuing life after baseball. the strategy was to find talented seniors who still have a shot to help the club (albeit an outside one) …but who are easy signs. they’re not signing real estate agents and accountants…they’re still ballplayers.

        lots of guys come from that end of the draft…. think kemp, pujols, dykstra, piazza…its a long list.

        just bc your not drafted in the first 5 rounds doesn’t mean the dream is dead.

        this draft system is a joke…and the players absolutely knew what they were doing when that negotiated that last cba….throw college seniors under the bus to secure a slightly sweeter deal for the guys already in the show..

    • I think teams are reasonably certain *cough* that the guys they drafted in rounds 6-10 will sign.

  23. That isn’t going to happen.

  24. Five minutes ago:

    Matthew Smoral ‏@MSmoral23

    @Wilnerness590 hey I’ll have to do it tomorrow getting physical done tonight.

  25. In other news: The Baltimore OriLOLes sign Jamie Moyer, http://bsun.md/KSOQ9K, the same pitcher who couldn’t hack it in the NL West.
    Might Jamie Moyer soon set the record for the oldest pitcher to give up a homerun to Jose Bautista? OR To drag down a formerly first place franchise into it’s basement home? Stay tuned.

  26. @LottOnBaseball: Tinnish: If a player is sent for a physical, “it doesn’t mean you have an agreement in place.”

  27. More Tinnish: “We feel like we’ve got a good chance to sign all of our players in the top 10 rounds.” #bluejays

  28. Looks like a very good draft though according to Jim Callis, Mayo, Goldstein, Law and others.
    Even the college seniors who will sign for far less, I have to believe that even with those picks the blue jays see something in them and are hoping they’re a diamond in the rough.
    Myabe Tinnish and scouts see these seniors as having upside and believe that maybe one of these guys has a chance of being a very good relief pticher in the big leagues.
    Sounds like alot of these guys will sign early, Astros pick Correa might sign by tomorrow.
    Teams were definitely negotiating before draft, There’s nothing wrong with that seeing how hard it is for teams to not go over the money pool for the first ten rounds.

    • These Seniors are org guys at best.

    • I’d take the 4 or 5 guys with real upside everyday over the 1 or 2 and a bunch of middling to roster filler types especially if the draft starts to work the way it supposedly should and all the high end guys go at the top.

      As for coming to an agreement before the draft, it should be just allowed plain and simple considering you lose the money if you can sign. To me that just counteracts the premise of talent going where it should.

  29. Ugh… I went searching for info on Anthony alford, to see if he had commented on being drafted.
    He has: http://www.wdam.com/story/18712787/alford-surprised-by-blue-jays-draft-choice

    and it ain’t good:

    -”I wasn’t expecting to go in the top three rounds,” said Alford, selected 113th overall, “I got a call earlier that they wanted me to be their number one pick, but I turned it down.

    -”I told them I wanted to go to college, and I thought they’d pick me probably the tenth or eleventh round…I was surprised.”

    -”I’m going to sit down with my family and talk about it,” said Alford, “We’re going to discuss the pros and cons, but we’re not really going to make a decision. I mean, I’m still going to school regardless.”

    -”Alford also said many times he’s simply not ready to stop playing football, and that to keep playing while he still can is what will make him happiest. ”

    So, I know minds can change and everything, and he doesn’t want to talk out of school (no pun intended), but it sounds like the young man has made up his mind already, and it’s not going to be playing for the Jays.


    • Well you never know. If you wanted to negotiate as a player, that’s pretty much every thing you’d want to be saying to the other side. Then again he could easily play both sports and still chose baseball in 4 years.

    • If this is true, why the fuck did the Jays waste a pick on him? For as much good people are talking about Anthopolous in this draft, this seems incredibly, incredibly dumb on his part. If he doesn’t sign, that slot money is forfeited. This isn’t a matter of using that money on someone else. Everything I’ve read about this kid suggests he might be the toughest sign in the entire draft.

      I still think AA did a great job on the whole with this draft (at this point) but when he also makes egregious, bonehead moves like this he deserves to be called out for it.

    • if they wanted to make him a 1st rd. pick then they’re in love. let mr. alrord see what 1.75 M dollars looks like laid out in 5 shiny briefcases presented to him by supermodels and lets see if his definition of happiness changes.

      if he doesn’t take it good on him kids got character.

      personally i think its a terrible move to turn down cash like that to play football…where every play could be your last…and even if he does go pro the money made on a first contract would be small and the odds of a long and fruitful career are NOT in your favour.

      the window to capitalize on athleticism and potential is smaller than Parkes’ johnson…no small feat…so the kid better think on it.

      • just to respond to and elaborate on my own post…

        i wonder to what lengths pro teams go to when convincing these tougher signs to take their cash..

        if i want him to be my 1st rd pick im not just presenting him with a number and twiddling my thumbs…i am wooing him like an ugly billionaire woo’s a supermodel. jets, women, cash both official and unofficial….cars…sex…whatever it takes.

        if he likes JayZ…i pay JayZ a million dollars to hangout with him for a day and convince him that pro baseball is where its at.

        im thinking aloud here but you don’t take no for an answer if you really want a guy. and i understand the component that if you do this for 1 guy it opens up the door and you’ll have to do it for others…but so what.

        get this kid to sign on the line that is fucking dotted…yah…i want alec baldwin to lead this wooing endevour.

  30. I cant blame him, would like him to sign, but he’s one of the best quarterback prospects in the country.

  31. Keith Law just said:

    Yes, around $2MM. RT @AZivkovic74: @keithlaw Have you heard anything about this supposed deal between the Jays and Smoral? #mlbdraft

    That’s a pretty big figure if it’s true. That’s $1 million over slot. If they really are in on all their top guys I wonder if they’re not going to sacrifice their first rounder next year. Probably not but if you put the 5% overage towards that $1 million you’ve still got to come up with roughly another $580k right off the bat.

    • Until it’s announced, I wouldn’t worry about it at all.

      Law is the same one who announced that Beede had a pre-draft agreement and had signed for $3M last year.

      Probably the only change to the draft that I like is that the signing deadline has been moved up which makes this whole negotiating/waiting game shorter.

  32. If I were AA, I would have drafted 2 or 3 middle-of-the-pack college seniors in the first round, and sign them for 10 or 20 thousand each, which would then allow us ALOT more spending $$$ to go over-slot on our other major picks. Bold maybe, and effective?

  33. The Alford pick could be a complete McGuffan – they may just want another pick next year (as gaining extra picks is going to be A LOT harder under this new system), the extra pick will give them more money in their bonus pool next year – they know Alford wants to go to school so that may have been the plan all along – 3rd round is a last chance to get a replacement pick.

    • +1

    • Entirely possible. Just doesn’t seem like the money is there for them all.

    • This would only make sense if they believe next years draft is deeper. otherwise why not just a draft a guy you like, who will sign, now?

      or are they of the mind that they have so many picks this year, that for year to year balance, it will be more valuable to have more picks next year…sort of to spread out the developmental time line of players?

    • Well observed. Patricularly: “3rd round is a last chance to get a replacement pick” which I had forgotten.

    • naw…you never prolong the pick by choice. don’t over think it. you take a flyer that he’s a young kid from a small town who might be swayed by a huge bag of cash and if he doesnt bite you move on. you don’t punt the pick on purpose because you want another pick next year.

      • Best case scenario – Alford signs and we have another potentially high impact OFer in the system.

        Worst case scenario – we get the pick back next year in a supposedly better draft class and we lose the slot money for this year’s signees.

        I don’t think that it’s a punt by any means. It seems like more of a calculated gamble. And who knows… perhaps the Jays knew what his number to sign was prior to drafting him.

  34. for what it’s worth it appears it boras who was the agent…er adviser who was complaining about the new system — because appel was a number one pick who could sell seats in a stadium since that is what harper and strasbourg have done….or something like that

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