Vitters and the Game of Chicken

Jim Callis, Baseball America's minor league guru was on XM Radio Saturday morning. He updated the first round draft choices which haven't signed yet. The deadline to sign is this next Wednesday, August 15th. The only one signed in the top 5 is Pittsburgh's (#4) pick potential closer Dan Moskos, who did sign for the slotted $2.5 million dollars. Callis thinks Cubs (#3) pick third baseman Josh Vitters will sign but is waiting to see what the #2 pick gets, KC's Michael Moustakas (a Scott Boras client). Everyone involved is eager to see how much above the MLB slot money the agents particularly Boras can get. He believes #1 pick David Price (also in the Boras camp) will sign and that they may already have an agreement but are trying not to release it until the last minute. It seems that if they announced it early it will affect how much above the slotted money the other top picks sign for. It's a game of chicken so blinking at the last minute makes it harder to make the other's blink in unison leading to falling dominoes. Although Callis thought all the top picks will sign, the two with the highest probability to not sign would be Boras clients, Moustakas and catcher Matt Wieters (#5, Baltimore). Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has this excellent Q and A regarding the slotting recommendations for the draft. The mid August signing deadline is new too as previously teams had the whole year to get their deal done or lose out on the prospect.
"MLB simply recommends a bonus for each selection. Teams do not have to adhere to the recommendation. In addition, the recommended bonuses this year are 10 percent lower than last year"
The penalty for signing over slot money?
“The only thing MLB can do is fine you if you don’t call them first,” said one scouting director, who then went into detail about the process, the annoyance in his voice coming through perfectly. “You call MLB and say you want to go over slot, and they tell you not to, and that they’ve worked so hard to put this system in place and that you are blowing everything up.” From there, things get uglier. “Now, the process can’t continue until MLB talks not to your GM, but to your ownership, where they will once again yell about your team messing everything up, but also often telling them that their own scouting director is doing the wrong thing here,” he added. “Unfortunately, there are owners who listen.” The key to getting an over-slot deal done seems to then rely on having a supportive internal management structure. “In the end, you have to have a strong enough ownership where you can tell him that signing this player for big money is in the best interest of the organization,” he continued. “When that happens, the owner has to call MLB back and let them know that their message has been heard and considered, but we’re doing it anyway. Then after MLB yells at you one more time, you sign the guy. It’s a bad process.”
The penalty for not signing one's pick? That team gets a first round pick in 2008 but one below their 2007 draft choice, so the Cubs not signing Vitters would pick #4 in 2008. Still, it would be one talented hitter the Cubs don't want to whiff on.


They wont!!

Boy, does Selig look like the president of the AV Club in this photo or what?

I read some rumours that the Cubs may intentionally not try to sign Vitters, in the hope that they'll get a shot at Wieters later on. Is that possible?


I think that we should sign Vitters and send him up immediately with Ramirez out. A little (a lot) far fetched but it's worth a try.

CubDawg: Are you being serious? This kid has never seen an MLB breaking ball....he'd pretty much destroy his own confidence sitting at the plate, hitting worse than most pitchers.

I think the last player to make the jump immediately was John Olerud, yes? He turned out alright. You never know, it could work. I wouldn't recommend it....but it's not as far-fetched as one might think.

That article is free, by the way.

I think Vitters is the guy the Cubs wanted and probably have a deal in place but are trying to toe the line (or tow the line if you prefer) to make MLB happy for a year.

I don't think anyone has made the jump as a highschool hitter in about 35 years - though I may be forgetting one.

Correct me if I'm wrong here but VItters is right out of high school right? Olerud made his debut in September after being drafted but he did come out of Washington St. U. So that's a huge difference.

There was the kid on Texas that came right up as a pitcher. I'll look it up. But IIR C, that didn't work out too well.

David Clyde?

David Clyde.

Xavier Nady I think played for the Padres his first year without going to the minors but that was just for a game and then he spent the next few years in the minors. But that was also out of college.

Winfield out of college too

Mike Morgan was playing in the majors the year he was drafted out of high school but did spend some time in the minors.

I don't know what makes a Braun a Braun or an Upton an Upton, but one ingredient is a drop-dead gorgeous swing. Vitters is reputed to have one of those swings.

So let's not throw him back in the ocean.

Who wants to throw him back? I just don't want to see him at the major league level til next year at the earliest.

Next year? Kid's seventeen years old. I don't want to see him at the major league level until he proves he can hit at least an AA Uncle Charlie.

Uncle Charlie. I love that expression.

Would you take him on the 25-man if he could hit a Hot Karl?

Yes. Immediatly.

Why would the Cubs be tanking on Vitters in hopes of getting Wieters later on when they could have drafted Wieters this year and took Vitters instead?

They wanted Vitters. Must have been a tough choice though.

Either way, Vitters needs to learn how to hit tough pitching. He'll take at *least* a year in the minors, and I'd rather see it take two before he is called up. Assuming he's that good....

They could invite him to spring training next spring though, and it would help get him ready.

Rockies still haven't named a starter for tomorrow afternoon.

It seems they're actively persuing Steve Trachsel from the O's. They also may select the contract of 36 year old Tim Harikkala. One career start for the Mariners in 1996 against Toronto. Didn't go so well.

Was there talk of bringing Ryan Harvey up immediately when he was drafted #6 overall? Because his numbers are awful. Holy crap.

Tim "The Magician" Harikkala. Hadn't heard that name in years.

If Vitters is only 17, the end of ARam's contract would be a more realistic target date for him.

Yeah, Carlos. I saw the magician a couple times in his time in Indy.

Dunno what he's being doing for the last two years. He got cut by Oakland in '05 and hadn't been pitching (at least as far as I can tell) until about two weeks ago.

It seems KW wants a top prospect for Podsednik:

Man what is that guy still doing as a GM. He wants an elite pen guy for a 2 month rental in Dye and wants a top prospect for Podesdnik. Also why does any GM want to do deal for him when he has a history of trading lemon pitchers in Siratka and Garcia?

If I see one more "report" on the Pods thing, I'm going to do something extreme and crazy.

Podsednik 3/44

Ankiel now has as many homers as Jackie Jones.

Olerud was drafted in college but he never finished, he was only 20 years old when he made his debut at the end of the 1989 season. So yeah, he was a "college" player but really he was only 1 or 2 years removed from high school.

Crack on Jock all you want, but w/o him we probably lose the two games in Denver. At least the guy didn't fall apart when he was benched earlier, give the man some credit when it's due.

"It seems KW wants a top prospect for Podsednik..."

That's what happens when you discover your farm system has gone into the tank. Anyone watch their highly - touted prospects earlier in the year? Man, they looked brutal out there.

Last position player from High School to have a major jeague at bat as his 1st professional at bat is Brian Milner for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1978. He was suppose to be this hot prospect in both baseball and football (high school all american as a QB/punter, was headed to TCU). Milner a catcher played his 1st two games and went 4 for 9 as a hitter, then was sent back to the minors and never to return again to the show. Currently Brian is a scout for our Cubs.

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