There seems to be no end to this story, with things changing all the time. Media all over the country are writing and talking about it. Here’s the latest, as I understand it, both in terms of what’s being reported and what I’ve been able to ascertain.
The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic reported earlier today that, according to his source, “The Pirates’ disputed contract agreement with Pedro Alvarez will be the
primary focus — and not that of any other player — of the Major
League Baseball Players Association’s grievance with commissioner Bud
Selig’s office.” The story goes on to say that the union will contend that the Alvarez agreement is the only one in question and that there are phone records to show a call coming in to Scott Boras’ office at 12:02 a.m.
Here’s my main question with that. If that is indeed the case, how come the Commissioner’s Office has pulled Eric Hosmer off the field until the matter is settled in that Sept. 10 hearing, as reported by MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel? Maybe the Commissioner’s Office is just doing due diligence, but would it really be necessary to keep the kid from playing if the grievance only mentioned Alvarez? In fact, an unnamed source refutes the Post-Gazette story, saying the grievance filed by the Players Association does not center only around Alvarez.
I’ve received a copy of the Notice of Grievance, sent from the Players’ Association to Rob Manfred, the Executive Vice President of Labor Relations and Human Resources for Major League Baseball. The memo, dated August 27, 2008 with a subject titled, “Grievance No. 2008-11 (August 15 deadline)” is signed by Michael S. Weiner, General Counsel for the MLBPA. While this two-page memo doesn’t directly contradict the Post-Gazette report, there is no mention of a specific agreement or club in the document. The second paragraph reads:
The Commissioner’s Office, without notice to the MLBPA, unilaterally determined to permit Clubs to negotiate with drafted players after the August 15, 2008 deadline, and unilaterally determined to accept agreements by Clubs after the August 15, 2008 deadline.
I’ve added the bold-face to point out that it’s all plurals the grievance refers to. Again, not the be-all, end-all in this, but it didn’t claim there was permission to a Club — it was Clubs. It was more than one agreement, according to the grievance. I think you see what point I’m trying to make. To me, that combined with the fact that Hosmer can’t suit up, means this isn’t just about Pedro Alvarez at this point.
Some other things to chew on:
Kovacevic has a really interesting piece on the bad blood between Scott Boras and Pirates president Frank Coonelly. One of the more intriguing things I took from it is the possibility of Boras still lingering over the fact the Pirates — albeit under other management — dismissed his client Matt Wieters in the previous year’s draft. Don’t know for sure how much of that figures into all of this mess, but you never know.
In terms of the implications that much of this stems over the Boras Corp. being steamed that Buster Posey — and the agency who represents him, CAA — got more money than Alvarez did, here’s some food for thought.
- Someone in the industry told me that both Pedro Alvarez and Buster Posey had CAA and Boras Corp as their final two choices for representation. That’s been somewhat refuted in that someone else informed me Posey never met with a representative from Boras Corp in person. Could that add fuel to this fire, that Posey got more money — with Jeff Berry and CAA advising him — than Alvarez and wouldn’t even let Boras in the door to talk pre-draft?
- White Sox pitcher John Danks and his younger brother Jordan, fired Boras Corp after the first day of the draft this June, as reported by Scott Merkin on MLB.com (and other places). The younger Danks was drafted in the seventh round (day 2) of the draft and the University of Texas outfielder ended up signing for an above-slot deal, while being represented by… you guessed it, Jeff Berry and CAA. No reasons were given for the Danks-Boras split at the time, but I’ve learned that it stems from the Dankses learning Boras turned down money — that would have seen Jordan get selected in the first day of the draft — without checking in with his advisee.
This thing is far from done, folks. Hang tight, I’m sure there’ll be a lot more to come
We recently posted a story written by myself and Pirates.com writer Jen Langosch with more details about the Alvarez-Boras-Pirates saga. Rather than sum it up here, I suggest you go and read it. It breaks down what both sides say happened up to and immediately following the signing deadline. I think there’s going to be a lot more coming out about this as the Sept. 10 date for the hearing approaches.
Happens every year and this one is no exception. I’ve reported on some earlier, but as we get close to the deadline, a bunch more are getting done. Here are some of the interesting ones:
Tampa — Kyle Lobstein for $1.5 million
San Diego — James Darnell for $740,000
Cleveland — Curtis Haley for $1.25 million
Kansas City — Tim Melville for $1.25 million
Boston — Peter Hissey for $1 million
Cleveland — Zach Putnam for $600,000
Boston — Ryan Westmoreland for $1.6 million
Pittsburgh — Robbie Grossman for $1 million
Minnesota — Brett Hermsen for $650,000
Chicago — Jordan Danks for $525,000
We’ll get a better sense of what that means when the dust settles, but the first thing that jumps out at me is that the Pirates gave $1 mil to their sixth-rounder and $900,000 to their 20th-round pick (Quinton Miller). Could that be a sign to Pedro Alvarez and the Boras Corp that they’re ready to spend their money elsewhere? Less than three hours to have that one answered.
A few notes before I call it a night (I’ll be back on tomorrow night right up until the deadline):
On the first round front:
- There were reports the O’s were about to sign No. 4 overall pick Brian Matusz to a deal worth $3.1 million (plus a big-league deal). While I’ve learned it’s close, nothing is done and the figures being reported are not what’s being discussed currently.
- Who knows what’s going on with Josh Fields and the Mariners — it’s amazing to consider (despite my earlier reported theory) that the college senior hasn’t signed. I’ve learned that the Mariners have offered something in the vicinity of a $1.5 million, which would slot in nicely at that spot.
- There have been a lot of reports on the double-trouble of the Boras factor and an injury with Allan Dykstra, the No. 23 pick. At one point in time, the Padres have offered a $1.4 million bonus, though I’m not sure that’s still on the table.
One last later-round note. Tim Melville was expected to be a first-rounder heading into this past season, but some early subpar efforts and a college commitment led him to slide to the Royals in the fourth round. There’s nothing official to report here yet, but don’t be surprised to see Melville become a Royal tomorrow at some point.
Getting close to the deadline now, so I’ll try to throw up some updates as I get them…
Expect the Royals to come to terms with their top pick Eric Hosmer, but don’t
expect too soon before the deadline. They’ve been through this before, and last
year’s negotations with high school hitter Mike Moustakas is particularly
similar. Don’t be surprised if Hosmer signs for a bonus figure north of
Moustakas’ $4 million…
No, the Giants signing isn’t Buster Posey. I think all those college bats up top are waiting to hear what the Pirates and Pedro Alvarez are planning… Word is they’ve come to terms with fourth-rounder Brandon Crawford. The UCLA product was once thought to be one of the better college shortstops, but a poor Cape season last summer lead to a subpar junior season, sliding him to the fourth round. No confirmation on the bonus amount, but a source told me it was in the $375,000 range.
While most of the attention will be on the big names at the top of the draft board (11 first-rounders are still unsigned), there will also be some interesting signings in the later rounds, guys lured away from college commitments by above-slot bonus deals. Case in point: JC Sulbaran.
One of the seemingly endless draftees from American Heritage High School (OK, 4 — Eric Hosmer, Adrian Nieto, Sulbaran and Joe Belviso), Sulbaran was taken in the 30th round by the Cincinnati Reds. He’s got a pretty strong commitment to Florida, but it now seems unlikely he’ll head to campus. Instead, it’s looking like the Reds and Sulbaran are very close to agreeing on a deal well above-slot. Stay tuned for the official word on that one in the not-too-distant future. Sulbaran is currently in China pitching for the Netherlands’ Olympic team.
The Canadian high schooler is reportedly going to get the opportunity to catch as a pro. For now, he goes to Beijing for the Canadian Olympic Team as a Brewer. Here’s the statement from Lawrie that was included in the release:
“The signing is now complete and I am thrilled to be a Brewer. The team
was patient and supportive given my unusual summer with the Worlds and Olympics,
so I am thankful for that. I will be in Milwaukee shortly after the Olympics end
and am excited to see Miller Park and the city. As you can imagine, my sole
focus right now is the Olympics, yet it is so nice to know that I am now part of
the Brewer family and I look forward to meeting them all upon my return from
Wow, that was articulate… what do you think are the odds he actually said that? No matter — congrats to Lawrie and the Brewers for getting that done. Hopefully there will be more to come.
Now that the trade deadline has passed (you can see my various blog posts on that craziness over at my Minors blog, B3), it’s time to focus on the next big deadline: the draft signing deadline. That’s coming at 12 p.m. ET on Aug. 15. To get ourselves ready (I’ll also be doing some blogging on Geeking about showcases — the East Coast Showcase begins today), let’s take a look at some of the latest on the unsigned first-rounders, starting with the unsigned in the to 10.
2. Pirates (Pedro Alvarez): Coonelly ‘frustrated by Alvarez negotiations
3. Royals (Eric Hosmer): Royals now focused on signing picks
4. Orioles (Brian Matusz): Is no news good news? There’s been nothing written lately.
5. Giants (Buster Posey): Nothing new to report here.
7. Reds (Yonder Alonso): Feet dragging on signing picks?
8. White Sox (Gordon Beckham): No news of late.
9. Nationals (Aaron Crow): Slow negotiations with Crow
I’ll be working the phones and the emails in the next couple of weeks trying to get the scoop on what’s going on, so stay tuned…
See what happens when I stay away from here for a little while? A few guys actually sign, though still relatively nothing to report from the Top 10 front…
No. 12 overall Jemile Weeks signed with the A’s. He was in Oakland on Tuesday, but got overshadowed by the big Rich Harden trade. Rickie’s younger brother will go to full-season Kane County in the Midwest League to begin his career. Reported bonus: $1.9 million.
The 19th pick in the draft, Andrew Cashner, has reportedly come to terms with the Cubs. He may workout with the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Thursday. Reported bonus: $1.54 million.
No. 21 Ryan Perry has reportedly signed with the Tigers. He should start out in Class A Advanced Lakeland and could see Detroit’s bullpen in September. Reported bonus: $1.48 million.
Missed this one last week, but the Twins did sign No. 27 pick Carlos Gutierrez. The University of Miami closer will head to Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Reported bonus: $1.25 million.
A couple of big ones going down today:
No. 13 overall pick Brett Wallace was in St. Louis today with the announcement he had officially come to terms with the Cardinals. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report, the bonus was $1.84 million. He got to take BP at Busch Stadium this afternoon and it’s his bat that should carry him quickly to the big leagues. Interestingly, the Cards evidently think he’ll continue to improve at third base and will be able to stay at that position, an opinion that would be a minority one if you were to poll most scouting directors, I’m sure. Wallace will head to Quad Cities in the Midwest League to begin his pro career.
Anthony Hewitt, one of the fastest risers as the draft came around, ended up going No. 24 overall to the Phillies. There was some question about what it would take to sign him away from his Vanderbilt commitment. Evidently, it was $1.38 million. He’ll get to take the obligatory batting practice in the big-league park before heading down to Clearwater to get some Gulf Coast League time in. A shortstop in high school that no one really felt would play short, it seems like the Phils will let Hewitt play third (many felt center field might be the best place for him). But he does have some pretty impressive raw power and could eventually develop the kind of pop you like from a corner infielder if he can show he has the glove to stay at the hot corner.
More as they come in…