MLB.com’s prospect guru Jonathan Mayo is quoting an unnamed source familiar with negotiations between the Toronto Blue Jays and their first round draft choice (21st overall) Tyler Beede, who believes that the young Massachusetts prep school right hander will not be signing with the team, and will instead honour his commitment to Vanderbilt University.
There are a few ways of looking at this.
The hopeful homerish way will recall that shortly after the draft, rumours began to spread that a pre-draft deal had been arranged between the Blue Jays and Beede, ensuring that he would sign with the team before the August 15th deadline. It’s certainly not far fetched, despite what Alex Anthopoulos or Beede’s father might try to tell you (in capitol letters).
It was widely reported that Beede’s advisors made it clear to interested teams that he wanted something in the neighbourhood of $3 million, and by selecting Beede 21st overall, the Blue Jays, at the very least, acknowledged that they would be willing to go over slot to sign the young pitcher.
It seemed like no coincidence then, that Beede wouldn’t show up for his summer classes at Vanderbilt, and that it was only a matter of manners to wait until closer to the signing deadline to announce that the inevitable deal had been struck.
Of course, Major League Baseball would have to investigate the claims that there was something worked out between the prospect and the team before the draft, and the relative ease with which negotiations went probably wouldn’t help the organization’s claim that they don’t even understand why it would be beneficial to negotiate a pre-draft deal.
So, maybe, if I can delude myself enough, I might be convinced that this report is about optics more than anything else, or merely a negotiation ploy, and that despite it, we’ll still see Beede sign with the Blue Jays ahead of midnight on August 16th. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have all of the information on hand ahead of time and select the player without being willing to give up what he’s already made clear it will take.
However, the realist would remind me that Beede wasn’t the only prep arm that the Blue Jays drafted in June. There was also a left handed one from Science Hill High School in Tennessee named Daniel Norris who was selected in the second round. Several pundits felt at the time that Norris, referred to by some as the best high school left handed pitcher in the draft, was insurance in case the Blue Jays couldn’t sign Beede.
In order to keep Norris from fulfilling his commitment to Clemson University, it’s likely going to cost somewhere around $3.9 million as a signing bonus. Even though unsigned first and second round picks do get compensated for next year’s draft, again, I find it hard to understand why you would select players so aggressively at the draft who have already made their asking price clear, without a willingness to meet that asking price.
As Mayo relays the message from his source that talks between Beede and the Blue Jays have broken down with no plan for future discussions, he reminds us that “there remains a small glimmer of hope that the two sides could resume discussions and Beede could become a Blue Jay. That certainly has happened in the past, with plenty of movement occurring with the pressure of the deadline looming.”