Clinton Hollon

Jim Callis of Baseball America has been tweeting out a wealth of draft-related stuff pertaining to all teams over the last month, but over the weekend, his tweets took a decidedly Jays-related turn, with several tidbids surfacing as the idea of the Jays making a serious run at a couple of big talent late round prep guys who were passed over due to signability concerns and strong college commitments grows stronger.

Don’t believe me? See for yourselves.

Not in there is the fact that, in the middle of last week, the Jays created much of their bonus pool savings when they signed second-rounder Clinton Hollon for 40% of slot due to elbow issues that showed up in his MRI (but were known, to some extent, at the time he was drafted).

I wrote about Hollon’s signing at the time, and in doing so mostly profiled Rowdy Tellez. If he’ll sign for something in the neighbourhood of $1-million, with twice that in flexibility at the moment, the Jays can certainly make a run at him, but only if they can manage to work out something with top pick Phil Bickford.

Taken tenth overall, Bickford’s slot has a value of $2.9-million, but according to today’s Baseball America Podcast with Callis and John Manuel, before the draft Bickford and his people were aiming for $4.25-million– or, as Jared Macdonald of Jays Prospects calls it in his excellent summary/profile of the club’s first selection, “top-four pick” money.

Going there with Bickford, however– assuming he’d actually, seriously turn down $3-million– doesn’t leave a lot of room for Jake Brentz– a projectible left-hander with little pitching experience (he was an outfielder through his junior year of high school) who can hit 96 on the radar gun, according to his own profile from Jared over at Jays Prospects.

“Given that, much like last year, the view of the Jays’ draft this year is high-risk, Brentz seems like a must-sign given his upside,” Macdonald writes. However, he also links to a Patch.com article in which Brentz admits to “holding firm to my number” and therefore turning down “quite a bit of money” during the first day of the draft.

So… it’s going to take some finagling, but the Jays certainly have put themselves in a position to go after all three, which would be a pretty impressive feat, by the sounds of it. And even if they don’t manage to get Bickford signed, perhaps netting the other two, plus a pick next year, wouldn’t be a terrible consolation prize.

As for the already-signed Hollon, he spoke to local Lexington, Kentucky, station LEX 18 not long after being drafted, and among other things, told about how a Texas Rangers scout was at his family’s home on draft night, apparently certain that his club would be taking him, though the Jays ended up nabbing him fifteen picks earlier. Watch:


Image via Kentucky.com.

Comments (49)

  1. Bring on the chuckers. Can’t get enough of em, especially since 60% of ours have had Frankentommy surgery.

  2. If the Jays don’t sign Bickford, people are going to lose it even though they don’t know about the process and what it takes to do it. This is the most annoying thing to me.

    • Yep. There’ll be a lot of fans on twitter calling for everyone to get fired if we don’t sign Bickford lol.

      I don’t even want them to sign Bickford. Seems like we’ll get a much better prospect next year.

    • If the Jays can sign what essentially seems to be two extra 2nd round picks in Brentz and Tellez while getting their 1st round pick back for next year, it would be worth it (at least from the completely uninformed vantage point).
      You’d think that people who get that worked up about the draft can wrap their heads around that.

      • If you don’t sign Bickford you don’t keep the slot money, all that money goes down the drain if you don’t sign him abd cannot be used to sign other guys. Although I believe that AA would be willing to take the fines for being over slot for all of his guys as he was $1 away from losing a pick last year.

        • They don’t lose all of there money, the just lose the slot money for the first-round pick. They would still have all of the under-slot money they saved.

          • Yeah but they would also lose approximately $150, 000 worth of overage leeway.

            • First round pick are protected, so they don’t lose the $150K overslot, they get it next year. The $100,000 free money (ie no impact on Pool amount) for picks over round 10 would be lost.

  3. I have heard that this years draft was rather weak. I know it puts them back a year in development but could the jays be not worried about Bickford signing and instead going after somebody else next year? Kind of “great if he signs but oh well if he doesn’t? Thoughts….

    • This is I thought they were doing all along with the 1st rd. pick. Pick a guy who probably won’t sign, but not too off the radar as to not embarrass the MLB. Then if he doesn’t sign for slot, we get 10 (or 11?) in next year’s more highly rated draft.

      Add in the potential JJ compensation pick, plus our strategy of being a mediocre baseball team and we should be able to pick up some decent guys in the 1st round next year!

      • One Q though. Based on YTD perfomance, do you think AA will offer JJ aprox 14m for one year, because that is rumored to be the MLB number for next year. What if the fucker takes it>?

        • If he takes it, great.

          • agreed

            there are no such things as bad 1 year deals

          • Additionally he’s making 13.75 mill this year so it wouldn’t be much of a raise. JJ and his agent will have to guage what kind of market there will be for his talent. A lot depends on how he pitches from here on in, but AA could make his offer for 1 lousy year and send a very strong message.

        • Yes AA would.

          Johnson hasn’t been any worse than Haren last year and he managed $13 mill on the open market. Qualifying offer money is probably a worst case scenario for JJ if he stays healthy.

          Johnson likely turns it down and if not that’s fine.

  4. Bring him in and get him on the weighted ball program!

  5. I’m of the opinion , as well, that it looks like they might rank the two late picks B&T as really their No 1 and 2 picks of the draft. If they sign those 2 they’ll view it as a successful draft even if they do not sign Bickford.
    As their formal No 1 pick, Bickford is “protected” and the other two are not and that is why the Jays need to sign the other two, for sure.
    They may punt Bickford, take the No 11 pick next year to go along with the pick they get for this years’s clusterfuck, at the moment No 17 and draft 2 college players next year who will have no leverage at all. The jays know what they are doing

  6. Must note that if they go for the n011 pick next year, it becomes unprotected so if they f/up again they lose it. That is why they would choose a college senior with no 11 as he would have no leverage and the chance of him not signing w/b near zero, The 17 pick would be as per normala nd they could go for HS or college

    • Are you sure? I thought they changed that rule last year when the created the “bonus pool” concept.

      • Yes. Bonus pool concept has no bearing on draft order or what happens if you don’t sign the guy. Thier are forfeitures of draft choice if you go too far over alot $$$ for the ones you do sign hence the constant monitoring of how much “pool” money is left

    • You actually get three years now, so if they don’t sign Bickford this year and didn’t sign their pick next year they still get one more shot. I’m pretty confident that changed in the new CBA (too lazy to confirm though).

      • Ummm.not so sure about that-I do not think they added a year for f/ups. Hey can anyone confirm if the team would get an extra year if they don’t sign their first pick next year if indeed they do not sign their first pick this year??
        Liked the old CBA better-it was great to see AA F around with it

        • As I thought. Confirmation. You do get an extra year.

          The contentious topic is if we don’t sign Bickford then we lose the slot allotment for the number 10 pick in our draft pool. It’s not really that big of issue b/c it seems we were never going to get him for under slot. The obvious reason for this is so you can’t just pick an unsignable player, and use his allotted slot money on other picks. As Jays fans, this is something to remember if/when we don’t sign Phil as it kinda blows, but in the grand scheme of things, it actually makes sense.

          • Losing the slot money actually makes the other signings more likely if Bickford was demanding overslot money.

            It’s a net plus/minus calculation. Signing Bickford overslot means less for Tellez/Brentz.

            I know nothing more about Bickford than what I read here, but I’m always wary of fast rising out of almost nowhere prospects.

            Shades of Nestor Molina.

    • They would actually get the 9 or 10 pick next year because they were pushed back by the pirates not signing Appel last year.

      • Pirates have nothing to do with it. We had #10 this year. When your pick does not sign you get the pick back the following year minus one position so 10-1 ==11th pick
        FOR FFS, if you could move upa nothch ( from 10 to 9) many teams would punt so they could move UP!

        • No they wouldn’t.

          • Screw. The incentive w/b there or the perception w/b there FFS. Why do you think you get penalized one slot position? It is to remove any doubt that someone might do it FFS

  7. “And even if they don’t manage to get Bickford signed, perhaps netting the other two, plus a pick next year, wouldn’t be a terrible consolation prize.”

    Could not agree more, especially with Bickford being far from a lock and wanting big time money. I am partial to the idea of saving a bit of cash, landing the other prep guys and having two firsts next year, both potentially in the top 15 of a stronger class.

    • I’d do that yesterday if it was offered. Get it done AA.

    • who the fuck is this guy bickford to demand top 4 money when he’s not even considered to be a top 20 talent. Sure he can demand it, but fuck he aint getting it.

      cant even throw a breaking pitch. yeah. pitchers who can’t throw a breaking pitch have a long history of developing good ones after they are drafted. not.

  8. I wouldn’t shed a tear if the Jays didn’t sign Bickford and got the 10th pick next year. Next years draft is supposed to be better.

  9. Shitty old Jays logo in that video bugs me, but good for Mr. Hollon. Hope to see his name a lot over the years.

  10. apparently if they miss one of those guys Cable is another one of their back up plans

  11. I hate this will he or will he not sign business. Kids should either declare themselves for the draft, and be forced to take money based on where they are taken, or just not declare themselves.
    The best will naturally rise to the top, no more of these eligibility concerns.

    • This would tank high schoolers declaring themselves draft eligible. They wouldn’t have any leverage or certainty about their bonus.

      Now they declare and if they don’t get a number they like they head to school. If they do get a nice number they go pro and more good young players are in MLB systems.

      Frustrating but it makes sense.

  12. I think the fact that not signing Bickford (assuming he will only sign at some amount over slot) actually frees up more money for other signings gives the Blue Jays a fair bit of leverage with Bickford. Kinda clever play by the front office, right?

    • It only frees up the hypothetical money over and above his slot amount. If they don’t sign him at all…then their cap is lower by the slot allotement.

      Of course, they saved lots of money on others. So in theory what it frees up is the fact that they don’t have split the savings/overage amongst Bickford and two late rounders, but instead just split it up amongst the two late rounders.

  13. Wrong Jays logo in the newscast.

  14. I’m wondering what is going on after I read this over at MLBTR (as of right now):


    “..•A scouting director tells Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun that his team considered Phil Bickford to be the top high school pitcher available in this year’s amateur draft but the right-hander carried signability issues. “The family wouldn’t meet with us until 48 hours before the draft and they wanted $3MM,” the scouting director said. The Blue Jays took Bickford with the 10th overall pick, a position that carries an assigned value of a little over $2.921MM, and since the team has saved a lot of bonus pool money, the Jays could afford to meet Bickford’s $3MM asking price…”

    If his slot money (for 10th overall pick) is 2.921 MM what’s the problem, especially if the Jays have saved so much slot $$? They can’t possibly be dickering over 79 K.
    Also, what’s up with BBA saying he wanted 4.25MM before the draft?

    Meh,,,sign him, don’t sign him, whatever!

    • Probably thought he was going much later than 10th.

      A team with a reputation for paying aggressive overslot bonuses takes you much higher than you thought…… Maybe you adjust your asking price.

      • As an incredibly uneducated guess I predict they sign him on the last day for just overslot. $3.1 million or so. And then chuck a million each at Brentz and Tellez to get one of them as well.

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