La Velle E. Neal III's Sunday Insider: MLB draft runs teams dry

The cost of signing top young talent took another monumental leap this year, raising more red flags for Bud Selig.

hide

North Carolina shortstop Levi Michael was the Twins’ No. 1 draft pick this year. Like so many other players, he took his negotiations down to the final hours.

Photo: Gerry Broome, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

There's a number being talked about in baseball circles these days. It has nothing to do with Jim Thome joining the 600-home run club.

The number is 17. No, it's not the number of grand slams the Yankees might hit this year, or how many times the Twins might use the disabled list this month.

Major league teams this summer committed $236,059,050 to players selected in the June draft. That easily beats last year's record of $201,832,830. It's a 17 percent increase.

"That's a tough pace to keep up," said Paul DePodesta, the Mets' vice president of player development and scouting.

Within that, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a record $8 million to sign No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole. Then they signed second-round pick Josh Bell for $5 million, a record for a non-first-rounder.

MLB has bonus recommendations for the first several rounds of the draft. Few teams are paying attention to them. That includes the Twins, who went over the league's recommendation with their first three picks.

A chunk of the money was dished out during the final hours of the draft. The Twins, for instance, announced 11 signings after the deadline passed, with negotiations with first-round pick Levi Michael and supplemental-round picks Travis Harrison and Hudson Boyd going down to around the final hour.

Agents know that if their clients wait until the last minute, they can get more money.

So $236 million left MLB bank accounts and went to unproven talent. That has led to plenty of talk about what to do with the escalating signing bonuses.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig wants slotting for each pick as a way to control spending. The league is expected to ask for restrictions on bonuses during negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement, which ends after this season.

Signing bonuses were a topic this past week in Minneapolis, where the 2011 International, Farm and Scouting meetings took place.

Officials point out how scouting is an inexact science, and they have to remember that many prospects will never reach the majors. So, no matter how much is spent, some of their investments will never pay off.

Some have argued that they need the flexibility to keep high school players from going to college, that the Harrisons of the world would go to USC instead of signing with the Twins for more than was recommended. DePodesta argued that, in the end, if a player wants to go pro he will sign as soon as he knows he can't get a higher bonus.

No one is sure how the player's association will respond to MLB's concerns. Indications are that the league has never pushed for slotting the way it is expected to push for it this time.

"It will certainly be interesting to see what happens out of this collective bargaining negotiation," DePodesta said. "I don't know if anyone was terribly happy with the escalation of the signing bonuses."

  • related content

  • Sunday Insider: Central Intelligence

    Sunday August 28, 2011

    Give the Indians credit. They have added Ubaldo Jimenez, Kosuke Fukudome and now Jim Thome in an attempt to make...

  • Sunday Insider: The 3-2 pitch

    Sunday August 28, 2011

    Three observations ...• Everyone is raving about the Yankees' offense, but good pitching can slow down good hitting. The Yankees'...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 47 2nd Qtr 2:04
Houston 44
Golden State 5:00 PM
Boston
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Indiana
Portland 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Orlando
Oklahoma City 5:30 PM
LA Lakers
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Denver
Los Angeles 0 1st Prd 5:44
Winnipeg 1
Tampa Bay 4:00 PM
Florida
Columbus 4:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Vancouver
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 44 2nd Half 9:15
California 51
South Florida 39 2nd Half 9:01
Houston 60
Marquette 29 2nd Half 19:03
Providence 44
Michigan State 15 1st Half 7:48
Wisconsin 19
Siena 3:30 PM
Monmouth
Pittsburgh 5:30 PM
Wake Forest
Oregon 6:00 PM
Stanford
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Colorado
Washington St 8:30 PM
UCLA
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 34 2nd Half 4:00
Drexel 46
Illinois State 42 2nd Half 10:40
Bradley 39
Southern Ill 48 2nd Half 10:30
Loyola-Chicago 41
Northern Iowa 44 2nd Half 6:50
Wichita State 56
Minnesota 56 2nd Half 8:05
(17) Iowa 63
(15) North Carolina 44 2nd Half 13:27
(16) Duke 49
Alabama 44 2nd Half 9:15
Auburn 58
(9) Florida State 38 2nd Half 18:40
Miami-Florida 24
Arkansas 29 2nd Half 6:11
Missouri 47
Georgia 37 2nd Half 11:09
Florida 30
Dayton 65 2nd Half 8:00
Saint Louis 55
Drake 37 2nd Half 9:27
Missouri State 71
Colorado 14 1st Half 6:10
(10) Arizona State 15
(19) Stanford 22 1st Half 6:35
Oregon 23
Marquette 21 1st Half 6:50
DePaul 31
Southern Miss 21 1st Half 7:41
Texas-El Paso 23
Vanderbilt 4:00 PM
(6) Tennessee
(2) South Carolina 4:00 PM
(13) Kentucky
Utah 4:00 PM
Arizona
Ohio State 4:00 PM
Nebraska
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which Twins player are you most interested in during spring training?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close