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August 16, 2010

Will the clock strike midnight on Machado?

By now, the countdown has begun to tonight’s midnight deadline for signing draft picks before losing their rights. Both the Orioles and Scott Boras, the representative for third overall pick, Manny Machado, have predictably said little about the negotiations so I’m not aware of what the Orioles are offering or the amount of the signing bonus Machado is seeking.

However, it’s widely expected that Boras will be looking to eclipse the $6.25 million signing bonus that the San Diego Padres gave Georgia high school outfielder Donovan Tate, last year’s third overall pick. Tate is also a Boras client.

On the other side, I’d imagine that the Orioles are thinking about other comps such as Mike Moustakas, a California high school third baseman who the Kansas City Royals took third overall in 2007. The Royals gave him a $4 million signing bonus. The highest signing bonus the Orioles have ever given out was $6 million to Matt Wieters in 2007.

My feeling is that the Orioles and Boras will find a common ground between Moustakas’ $4 million and Tate’s $6.25 million. It will be a lot closer to Tate’s number and there are going to be some anxious moments today as the clock nears midnight, though my guess is it will eventually get done.

Then again, I was told by an Orioles’ official five minutes before the deadline to sign Wieters that it was a lost cause and the switch-hitting catcher was returning to Georgia Tech. We all saw how that one ended up. Nothing will surprise me today other than this deal getting done hours before midnight.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 6:29 AM | | Comments (35)


There's a big difference between Machado and Tate. Tate had a scholarship to UNC to play football and baseball. And its common knowledge that players with offers from UNC and alike command a premium. Machado doesn't have a BCS-school caliber offer on the table like Tate. Plus, the 2010 market was set by Christian Colon who signed for 2.75M. If the O's offer 4M, leave it to Boras to explain to his client why he has to wait another 3 years to taste the money, or why he's eating fried twinkees in the independent leagues.

Jeff Z's reply: Tate's multi-sport status certainly affected things, Josh. And that's an element we're not talking about here with Machado. But Colon is a totally different story because he's a college guy and he had made it known that he wanted to start his professional career immediately. Machado has committed to Florida International so he has an option as well.

I can't wait until baseball fixes this thing. Paying kids that kind of money before they even step on the feild is insane. For once I agree with Gary Thorne when he said where's the insentive, when the kids are set for life before he even takes the feild.

While they are at it let's get the Salary Cap taken care of for the big leagues too. I know it will force a show down but if they don't get it done then we will forever have this problem where those that have will get all the talent. For me, I want to see the Yankees try to win when they are forced to part with some of their big names when they reach their cap.

You can't have some teams with $250 million payroll and other with $50 million.

Let's if Bud Selig has the guts for it on his way out.

Referring to Wieters, when you say "We all saw how that one ended up," were you referring to the lack of production in 2010? Sounds like these huge signing bonuses can be like throwing a dart. Maybe a better strategy is to pay more to lower ranked draft picks and stop runnning up the prices of the highest draft picks.

Jeff Z's reply: No, I was referring to them signing him a minute or two before the deadline.

Not sure if you guys understand that Machado also has a full ride to FIU. Just sign the kid he is the real deal, we need a solid middle infielder. Everyone compares him to Arod, he is more like Hanely Ramirez. Baiscally a STUD!!

TGC- I don't see what really needs to be fixed about the draft. Well, not the issues you mentioned at least. I think the signing deadline needs to be bumped up again, they need to integrate international free agents, and picks should be traded. But why shouldn't these kids get the money? It's a market. It's not even a free market...they're getting this money in a non-competitive market. Shouldn't that tell you something? It tells us that, on average, they're obviously worth it. In fact, studies have been done that show draft picks are actually incredibly good values for teams. The six years of cost control the O's will get if Machado does turn out to be a good player will completely dwarf the $6 million they'll have to pay him up front. Sure, many don't make it. But those that do more than make up for those that don't.

And besides...where exactly do you think this money goes if we don't give it to Machado. That's what really confuses me about people who complain about money being paid to 'these kids' and want a salary cap. I got news for you: the only person who makes money off that situation is Peter Angelos. You think they're going to lower ticket prices? You think your beer will now cost $3 instead of $7? Keep dreaming. The fans don't get money either way. The choice is either the players or the owners. I'm perfectly fine with the players getting as much of the owners' money as possible, since they're the ones who actually play the game.

Next years draft has more talent than this years draft. So if Manny doesn't sign, O's get the 4th over all pick next year. May be better not to sign Manny.
Josh, Machado can play Junior College ball and go back in the draft next year.

You are right, TGC, changes need to be made. And not just in baseball, but all sports where raw rookies come in making what a ten year superstar makes. It's ridiculous. Look at the Bradford deal with St. Louis.

They also need to move the signing date up a month, maybe to July 15, if not earlier. This waiting until August does no one any good. These kids that sign now basically miss a whole summer of development. Who knows what kind of shape Machado is in? Has he been working out, taking groundballs and swinging the bat? These guys are going to get paid, either now or down the line, so why not get them their money sooner rather than later and get them on the field. If they're any good, their next contract will be for big bucks, their first contract doesn't need to break the bank.

As floor the salary cap, if you implement one, there also has to be a salary floor. All these small market teams get a fair amount of money from the big clubs, yet some seem reluctant to spend it. Put in a floor, maybe two thirds of what the cap is, and take it from there.

The Orioles should think long and hard before drafting a Scott Boras represented players --- they got lucky with Wieters ... lucky only because they paid the pile of Cash Boras pulled out of them at 11:55 or so.... Somebody should whisper one name into his ear --- Sergio Kindle.

About the only thing that will get fixed is the date of the deadline maybe to july 15.. The rest is dreaming, Most of these kids will sign close to midnight and next year midnight at the new date.. LOOK in the mirror and try to be honest for once most of these kids love baseball and want to play but if your agent tells you in june to take a couple months vacation just stay safe and you can make an extra million you would take it too. I really don't know why they came up with the dumb slot figures more to keep some teams from lowballing than upper figures.. Jordan has the financial backing to do what he needs to, I expect Machado late tonight and am still hoping for Brywater too.

Here's what they should tell Manny:

If you nix us, we'll just draft you again next year and the year after that and the year after that until you're 30 years old. We will always have one of the best draft selections, so you can run but you can't hide. Sign now and get it over with, kid.

Maybe we can get it done an hour earlier so boras can concentrate on Harper.

Can't do that Bryan, while I assume that you are joking....
If the O's lose their draft pick, the player (Manny Machado) has to sign a waiver saying that he's willing to be redrafted by the same team. And the O's would lose their compensation (2011 - pick #3b) if they don't sign the player drafted. So it would be an epic fail.

The fact that you don't hear about the negotiations, I believe that it will get done. We all know that baseball doesn't like over slot deals being leaked. So the fact that its THIS quiet, means that either its worked out and just waiting to be announced, or they have no interest in signing Manny..

I just would like to say that I agree with Ben. These kids have a special talent that our society values highly, and I have no problem with them getting some money rather than owners, etc.

And the draft is the "purest" place in baseball, where poorer teams like the Orioles can compete, basically, with richer ones. I agree that there are problems on the major league level, but these should be solved with greater revenue sharing, not a salary cap. And speculating on prospects in the draft is still the cheap way to go, an avenue that allows poorer teams to compete.

That being said, I don't think the Orioles should go crazy overslot to sign anyone unless there are very good reasons.

If Machado is so great, why wasn't he recruited by the University of Florida? FIU is an okay school, but it's not like playing for the Gators.
Anyhow, one bubble blower seems like quite enough, thank you.

Machado has committed to Florida International so he has an option as well.

Who in the hell wants to go to FIU?

Thats a fake commitment. Not like he's going to UNC, Stanford, FSU, etc. He just said yes to them so he has something to fall back on.

Tossing $5mil plus at a HS kid seems pretty insane to me. I would rather take my chances with the #2 and #4 pick in next year's draft. Also I have not ready anywhere where Machado is the second coming of Hanley or ARod. That is absurd.

I see some of you knocking Florida International, I wouldn't if I were you. It's an outstanding athletic school, befitting Florida's unofficial state motto that if they can hit, run, throw, or catch, we don't care if they can read.

UF is not noted as a top baseball school, they have more important things to worry about in the SEC. So, choosing FIU is not a step down in class. They won the Sun Belt conference and acquitted themselves very well in the CWS.

And don't forget that Golden Panther's 2B Garrett Wittels has a 54 game hitting streak, four away from Robin Ventura's record.

I'm not sure if you can compare Wieters to Machado. Arguably Wieters was unlikely to perform better in his senior season. So there was some leverage with the Orioles. As a high schooler, Machado can spend some years in college boosting his stock even further.

Of course we paid a catcher $6 million that's being outperformed by his backup.

"Machado can spend some years in college boosting his stock even further."

I don't really know how much further he can boost his stock, considering he was the #3 overall pick. There's really no way for him to go but down.

If he re-enters the draft next year he will most likely fall on the draft board and make less money. If he happens to get drafted 1-2-3, I bet the dollar amounts that we hear about will be very similar to this year's $6m.

The money has gotten completely insane with these high first round selections, but I'm not sure there's anything they can do about it that would actually take. Boras is a greedy, greedy man.

They will sign him so they can announce it at the game tonight.

The Orioles have more leverage than usual here. Next year's draft is supposed to be far stronger than this one. If the O's don't sign Machado, they'll likely have two of the first four picks. In fact, they might even want that MORE than Machado.

I'd like to see them sign him, but for that reason I won't weep if they don't.

BTW, I have nothing but admiration for Scott Boras. If I were Manny Machado, or any other young talented player, I'd want him as my agent. Who wouldn't want the most money possible?

High school players are a real long shot. When such a player has done very well, it has occured while under near constant supervision by coaches, teachers and parents. Hard to predict what such a undeveloped personality will do when on their own for the first time. Will he maintain good discipline or begin some major league partying?

It's also not a good sign that Machado intends to go to FIU. The natural inference is that his grades and SAT scores are so abysmal that he couldn't be accepted by a UNC-like college.. Such a young player is even less likely to be disciplined in his personal work habits.

It's a sad commentary on our socieity that young players and, more generally, pop culture stars earn huge incomes while our top young talent in science, math and engineering settles for just a tuition waiver at a good university. I don't think this frivolous allocation of resources is going to end well for the USA. Competition from around the world is looming on the horizon.

As a high schooler, Machado can spend some years in college boosting his stock even further.

You dont get much higher than 3rd overall.

He will take the money, unless he wishes to get swept up in a sea of talent next year and possibly fall in the draft.

So, does he really hold out for $6, when offered $5 and take a chance of getting hurt and getting $0.

He takes the $$$. Late tonight, but he does it.

Also-FIU ShmeFIU. They aren't a power conference. If he was serious about college, why didn't he committ go to Miami, FSU, etc? They probably didn't offer.

The people whining about the money youngsters make need to realize that this is entertainment, where the money has always been bizarrely skewed. How can Jolie or DiCaprio be 'worth' 10 million dollars per picture? Is it 'fair' that Taylor Swift sells more music that James Taylor, who's been in the business way longer than she's been alive? How can James Patterson get millions just for putting his name on books which he doesn't even write? It's unbelievable, and maybe even wrong, but it's show biz. Go ahead, come up with a plan to make it all make sense.

Looks like Boras will be a busy man. Relax people as I also think this deal will get done. I can't imagine Boras allowing this kid to gamble 3 yr. at FIU, unless the ultimate fall back is to turn down the offer at FIU and go junior college. This would make him eligible next year; however, it's still a gamble. If the kid gets hurt, he's screwed! Look for him to sign at about $5.75 million!

At 11:59 tonight, who is Boras on the phone with -- the Nats for Harper or the Orioles for Machado?

Does anyone know why it is OK for a High Schooler or an NCAA baseball player to sign with an agent and still retain your eligibility. But it's forbidden by an NCAA or High School B-Ball player to do the same? Or is it that the NCAA can line their pockets off of a B-Ball player and not Baseball?

IIRC the NCAA looks the other way because officially, Boras is just an "adviser".

David, I believe that the high school players haven't "signed" w/ the agent yet, they have just given them a commitment that they will. Basically, Scott Boras is his Advisor and not his agent until the deal gets done, which I would bet gets done @ 11:55 then Boras calls the Nats for Harper.

Two words O's fans: Billy Rowell

Speaking without knowing the kid had full rides offered from UM--FSU--
UF-- he choose FIU becuase honestly there program in 3 more years will be better. They are a solid program, either way I say sign him already I want to see our infield stronger.

I think we really need to sign this guy Machado we really need some power at the SS position in the future and this guy could be it. I would be surprised if it doesn't get done before tonight.

Isn't FIU a culinary school? Is Machado hoping to perfect his souffle?

And in order to forget who Garrett Wittels is you would have to know him in the first place. So forgetting is not a risk.

I also think the Os should low-ball and let Machado come to them- their alternative (the #2 and #4 picks next year) is better than his (missing out on a year of revenue when he is unlikely to improve his draft stock- from the #3 position he only has downside risk for future drafts). Also, it is good for teams to stick it to Boras once in a while- he feeds these kids his BS about how he always beats the teams and gets top dollar, it would be good to have a few examples of when his efforts resulted in nothing for his client, when we're talking to the next Boras guy next year.

Finally, both Tate (multisport star with solid options) and Wieters (established prospect only a 1.5 seasons away from making the majors are poor comps for Machado- a high schooler who still needs to develop and doesn't have any great options aside from the Os. Send an offer of $4-4.5 and tell Boras there will be no further negotiation.

When it boils right down to it, Scott Boras is a pimp. A good one perhaps, maybe the best, but he's still a pimp. So admire him all you want to, pimp lover.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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