Angry Anthopoulos

The National Post’s John Lott reports that Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos “angrily denied” suggestions that the team had arranged a deal with their first round draft pick Tyler Beede prior to selecting him 21st overall in MLB’s first year player draft.

As mentioned yesterday, both Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus and Keith Law of ESPN hinted at the possibility of the Blue Jays having an agreement in place with Beede.

According to Law, the Vanderbilt committed player is expected to sign for around $3 million, more than doubling the $1.3 million slotted for a 21st pick overall. Meanwhile, Goldstein flat out tells us he’s heard rumours that the Blue Jays had actually worked out a pre-draft deal to sign Beede if he fell to them in the first round. He points out that such agreements, while technically against the rules, happen a lot.

When asked in a recent chat about the industry rumours, Law replied:

I heard that story last week, which is why I said right after the draft that I believed Beede would sign. However, I didn’t mention the predraft deal story because it would have triggered an MLB investigation. Cat’s out of the bag now, though.

According to Anthopoulos:

It’s ridiculous. It’s a joke. I’m amazed at all the false rumours about everything. I’m just sick of reading lies and rumours that people make up about us all the time. I’ve had enough of it. Why would someone have a pre-draft deal to pick someone 21st overall in the draft? I’d like someone to explain it to me.

Well, allow me. The “false rumours about everything” that Anthopoulos speaks of are a result of gaining a reputation for refusing to comment on potential player acquisitions. It’s often beneficial for agents and clubs to create media buzz over false interest, and if a team is unwilling to confirm or deny that interest, guess what club is an easy target to use by agents and clubs looking to increase potential salary or a return in a trade.

As for asking why someone would have a pre-draft deal to pick a player 21st overall, it’s a bit like eating an entire batch of cookies, and then refuting accusations of the gluttony by suggesting that you could never eat that many cookies.

Having an agreement in place with a 21st overall pick makes perfect sense. Beede was of interest to several different organizations, and while the player was drafted earlier than expected, it wouldn’t be crazy if Beede, ranked as the 35th best prospect available by Baseball America, was selected between the 21st and 35th picks, especially considering that the Boston Red Sox had another pick at 26.

The whole idea of selecting a high school pitcher who may be ranked higher than he’s being taken is that the team believes that not only is he worth a bonus above slot, but that he would be taken earlier in the draft when he reenters it after two years of college.

If Beede was the player that the team wanted, and all indications, from the video below to what we heard on our podcast last week, are that this is the case, it’s not absurd at all that the Blue Jays would’ve discussed terms and come to a verbal agreement before selecting him.

Of course, deal or no deal, we’ll have to wait to find out. Teams that sign draft picks to bonuses over slot don’t announce their agreements until just before the deadline, as it would allow other unsigned prospects across the league to use the dollar figures to create additional negotiation leverage.

Update:

Walter Beede, Tyler’s father, has taken to Twitter to refute any claims that the Blue Jays discussed a potential deal with his son and his advisers.

If you had any doubts, capitol letters!