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Philip Clarke Signs With Toronto

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We only got 2 years with The Hitman, but they were an impactful 2 years.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Phil “The Hitman” Clarke helped power us to our 2nd National Title. Today, he got paid for it, as the Toronto Blue Jays backed up the Brinks Truck to sign Clarke away from his final two years of eligibility at Vanderbilt.

Jon Heyman reports on the signing bonus:

For those who don’t follow the numbers as closely as I do, that $500K is top of the 4th round slot money. The slot number for where Clarke was actually picked (9th round, pick 267 overall) is $154,900. Simply put, the Toronto Blue Jays clearly valued Clarke well above where they picked him, and paid him accordingly.

We can’t fault Clarke for forgoing his junior and senior seasons (let’s be honest... had he come back, it would just have been for one year), but had he come back, there was a legitimate shot he would be the best college catcher in next year’s draft. As such, there were both emotional, educational, and potential financial incentives for Clarke to return, work on his pop and throw times, and likely get to see more of Omaha, Nebraska—The Jewel of America’s Geographical Center. Still, $500K is $500K.

This potentially opens up the full time 2019-2020 catcher role for Ty “Duvy” Duvall. Duvall, of course, may sign with the Oakland A’s in the coming weeks, as they chose him in the 25th round. If he’s gone, as well, expect Dominic Keegan to battle it out with freshman Max “Cesar” Romero, Jr.

Of course, it’s not a good look to complain about losing one of your top players to the draft less than a week after they won the College World Series. To wit, I will simply congratulate Clarke, and move onto discussing the incoming and returning players who...

...wait...

Oh... our other draft eligible sophomore, Runs-DMC, is likely gone, as well?

Again, it is wise to remember just how deep we are. With JJ Bleday, Stephen Scott, and DMC (likely) heading to the minor leagues, two of the three starting OF spots will likely be filled with: Cooper “The Ontario Barrel-Maker” Davis and Isaiah “No, not that Isaiah Thomas” Thomas—the former, who started most of the season before injuring his hip, and the latter who stepped in admirably at CF when both DMC and Davis were injured.

As for the 3rd OF, a lot of that hinges on what we do with Austin Martin. My early thoughts are that we may move A-Mart to CF—as Corbs has repeatedly said Martin is, in fact, the best CF on our roster—which would open up third base for power hitter Jayson Gonzalez. If we do this, we will basically have an all CF defensive outfield. Good luck getting a hit in the gap on that. Of course, there are tons of different options here, and I will run them down as we get closer to fall ball. Still, I predict Corbs will opt for strategery here, so as to get Gonzalez’s power bat in the lineup, and to help A-Mart’s positional versatility heading into his draft year.

Lastly, SS Ethan Paul signed with the Pirates. Let’s just say they’re pretty happy with the Vanderbilt players they’ve taken in recent years.