Despite several rumours that the two sides had worked out a pre-draft agreement, the Toronto Blue Jays and first round draft pick Tyler Beede failed to come to terms on a signing bonus, meaning that the young right handed pitcher will be attending Vanderbilt University this fall. The final whisperings before this evening’s deadline passed were that the Blue Jays had upped their offer to $2 million, then $2.3 million, and finally $2.5 million, but the Beede camp didn’t move away from their initial $3.5 million asking price.
Speaking of $2 million offers, that’s exactly how much it took to sway left handed pitcher Daniel Norris away from Clemson University and into a pro career in the Blue Jays organization. Before rumours of a pre-draft agreement with Beede had emerged, it was largely assumed that Norris was selected by the team, in the second round, 74th overall, as insurance against not signing Beede, as both were considered to be tough signs for any team drafting them.
Far from a consolation prize, many pundits considered Norris to be the best left handed prep arm in the 2011 draft. According to ESPN:
He’ll show 93-96 early in outings but hasn’t held that velocity, sitting more 88-92 by the third inning, with a sharp but long mid-80s slider up to 88, a big low-70s curveball with tight rotation, and good feel for a 75-78 mph changeup. Norris lands on line but because he starts on the third base of the rubber he comes slightly across his body. His delivery is a little unusual, with only a cursory leg kick but a big shoulder tilt, and so much arm acceleration that on some pitches his landing foot will fly off the ground.
Also signing with the Blue Jays moments before the midnight deadline tonight was right handed pitcher Kevin Comer, who like Beede was committed to Vanderbilt, before coming to terms with Toronto on a $1.65 million bonus.
Overall, the Blue Jays signed 11 of top 13 draft picks. The only exclusions being Andrew Chin, who had Tommy John surgery a month before the draft, and Beede who appears to be the only first round selection not to agree to a contract. The Blue Jays will now receive a compensatory pick in the first round of the 2012 draft, largely believed to be not as deep as the 2011 version.
According to Beede:
I’m Vandy-bound. I’m couldn’t be more excited to play under some of the best coaches in the country. I’m not only going to get better as a player, but as a person. They were still far off. They ended up getting to $2.5 million, but that still wasn’t what we valued the Vanderbilt education at. It was obviously the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I’m tremendously excited.
It will be interesting to see what Beede projects to sign for when he reenters the draft in a couple of years.