Somebody’s not telling the truth, and both sides are on the clock.
High school baseball in San Diego is special. 1st round picks come out of here almost annually. This year, two of the top six picks came from San Diego. 1-is signed and playing already in the Arizona Summer League. The other is sitting here-unsigned there.
There is Houston, home of the Astros. Here, is Brady Aiken, the blazing fastball pitcher from CIF-powerhouse Cathedral Catholic.
Aiken is unsigned and the deadline is 5pm-New York time tonite, to get him signed. If not, the Astros lose the pitcher, and get a lst round pick next year to replace him.
If not signed-Aiken either goes to a junior college for one year, signs in independent ball-always risky, or goes to UCLA but takes his name off the draft board for 3-years.
This is not a country-hardball holdout, though the Astros have played hardball with the fastball pitcher on his signing bonus. As the top overall pick, his slot was worth 7.9M. Reports were he was willing to sign for 6.5M. Then Houston reduced the number to 5M, and now a reported 3M.
The reason? Something the Astros doctors saw on his MRI about a deformed elbow ligament. Aiken, his coaches, his doctor deny he has a tear in there, or that it is even frayed. When last scene this spring, in the CIFs-he was clocked at 95mph. He pitched 65-high school inning..
Neither side will give out exact details. He’s not hurt now, but would he be hurt, with the rigors of a pro career? If he had a tear, would the smaller than normal ligament be strong enough to graft?
Is it too big a gamble to pay that kind of guaranteed money to someone who might be a risk for Tommy John surgery sooner than later?
Or is this a ploy of the cheap Astros owner Jim Crain. Yes, his people have drafted well, and have a young team growing. But this is the same owner, who last year, lost over 100 games, had a 19M-payroll of kids, and took in revenue sharing and TV money as his club made 55M-profits.
Baseball is different than the NFL-NBA-NHL. They don’t let clubs give physicals to the lst round draft picks, the ones who would get the big bonuses.
It is a strange way to start a relationship too, the Astros and the kid pitcher. Somebody hiding something. Someone lowballing someone they supposedly loved on draft day.
On the clock, to see who blinks, who caves, who stands fast, who gets signed, who suffers. Brady Aiken-welcome to the show.