In an entirely expected development, Jared Miller signed with the Diamondbacks early yesterday on the last day of the signing period. He signed for a reported $150,000, which makes it a clean sweep of Vanderbilt Juniors who were drafted signing with the teams that drafted them, and every one did so for an over-slot deal (which is nice, when you think about it).
...and we salute him for it.
As for the fear that John Norwood's monster post-season would cause a team to sign him as an undrafted free agent, well put that fear to bed. He'll be back, looking to end next year with another improbable home run in Omaha.
For further fear-soothing, none of our remaining recruiting class will be slogging through the minor leagues (until three years from now). That means Will Toffey and Jeren Kendall, two late-round picks who few expected to sign, chose to honor their commitment to Vanderbilt, and will come to title town for 3 shots at another championship.
But something else happened yesterday...
As the clock winded down on the signing period, a historic bungled negotiation was in the works. The Houston Astros, who had agreed to a pre-draft deal with Southern California lefthander Brady Aiken - a pitcher who has drawn comparisons to Cole Hamels and Clayton Kershaw - got cold feet at a medical report. Not only were unable to sign Aiken, but as they lost the $7.9 million alottment due to MLB's new draft pool rules, they didn't have the money to sign 5th round UCLA commit RHP Jacob Nix (offered 1.5 million), or 21st round LSU commit Mac Marshall - a Georgia lefty who they offered late first round money to yesterday.
This is, without a doubt, the biggest draft bungle in years. And here's how it happened. According to Baseball America's John Manuel:
It’s just the third time in draft history (which began in 1965) that the No. 1 overall pick has not signed. Previous unsigned picks Danny Goodwin (1971) and Tim Belcher (1983) both went on to become first-round picks again and eventually major leaguers.A lefthander out of San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic High, Aiken and the Astros had agreed to the parameters of a $6.5 million signing bonus in June, and Aiken traveled to Houston. But his actual signing never materialized amid media reports that the Astros found an issue with his elbow during a physical examination.