Blue Jays unable to sign Beede
The deadline to sign players from the 2011 First-Year Player Draft has now come and gone. The Blue Jays were able to reach an agreement with all of their top Draft picks with the exception of first-rounder Tyler Beede.
The news doesn’t come as a major surprise because MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo stated earlier in the week the two sides remained far apart in negotiations and the likelihood of an agreement seemed unlikely at best. The Blue Jays went into the situation knowing Beede would be a tough player to sign because he stated before the Draft even took place that his preference was to attend Vanderbilt University and re-enter the Draft in 2014.
Despite the stated desires, Beede took part in the negotiations and even had a figure he said would get the deal done. The 18-year-old right-hander reportedly was asking for $3.5 million and the Blue Jays countered with an offer for $2.5. Since Toronto was unable to finalize a contract it will receive the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 Draft as compensation.
Personally, if I’m Beede there’s no way I would even consider walking away from $2.5 million. All pitchers come with a high risk for injury, and if something happens to his arm before 2014, his draft stock will take a major hit. Not only that, but a major component in the talks for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement centre around specific slotting prices for players taken in the Draft.
Even if Beede remains healthy and improves his value over the next few years it’s anyone’s guess if he’ll be able to top the $2.5 million Toronto offered. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. There are just too many risks and not enough upside to justify the decision.
If Beede truly did want to attend school then all the power to him. Athletes are often criticized in other sports for trying to make the premature jump into the professional ranks — we see it all the time in basketball. But the fact that Beede had a number in mind suggests to me he was very willing to sign but it had to be for the right price. That’s why I go back to the risk vs. reward scenario and this likely will become a topic of conversation again in future years as people watch his development at Vanderbilt.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos didn’t seem overly disappointed in the lack of a deal. Toronto had the most aggressive Draft of any team in the Major Leagues and for the most part it paid off. Left-hander Daniel Norris was considered a very tough sign because of his commitment to Clemson University. Norris is a first-round talent that fell into the Blue Jays’ laps in the second round and provides the club with another elite-level prospect on the mound.
Norris wasn’t the only player to reach a deal. In total, six of the club’s top seven picks in the first 78 selections of the Draft signed a contract. The only other player in the first five rounds who didn’t come to terms was fifth rounder Andrew Chin. Anthopoulos vowed late Monday night to continue his club’s aggressive approach in future Drafts.
Here’s what Anthopoulos had to say during his conference call with reporters:
On not signing Beede…
“Obviously you go into these things hoping to sign the players. But at the same time you understand that there’s no guarantees at all. I think generally speaking we’re very pleased with the result. We had a lot of a draft picks, we took a lot of (what) draft experts deemed tough signs and we pretty much able to come to terms with pretty much all of them.
“I don’t think we went into it with the expectation that they all sign. Not only that, but I think the model that we use going forward is what we’ve done here and we’re going to continue to do that. When you’re going to be aggressive like this, I expect each year to have several players unsigned. But on the whole I think we’re going to come out ahead especially with having the multiple picks and so on.”
Could you have signed both Beede and Norris…
“We absolutely could have signed both of them but it had to be at our value. I always say this, one the player has to put a value on himself but the club has to put a value on the player. Again, it’s strictly, and it’s the way we run this whole organization, one player will not make or break the organization, the same that one front office executive won’t, or one game won’t. You do your best but you have organization structures and policies in place and you adhere to those.
“We put values on these players, if we can come to terms and meet those values, great, if not, the beauty of the way the structure is set up we get the picks back the following year.”
On the negotiations for the top picks…
“I’ve always felt when it comes to the draft, I don’t know that there’s a whole lot to negotiate. I will never tell someone that they’re wrong about what they’re going to be. If somebody wants to tell me they’re going to be an MVP candidate, I tell them you very well may be right, we’ll find it in five years, in four years, in six years.
“It’s like what we debate in the draft room. The beauty is we don’t know who’s going to be right.
“I don’t put a limit on a player and what they’re going to be. It really comes down to, what are we prepared to pay the player, what are they prepared to accept, and that’s what it comes down to. Obviously, we couldn’t come to terms with Tyler but I don’t know that I’d characterize gaps and things like that. They had a number in mind, we had a number in mind, you push, extend, try to do some things, but at some point you have to have a walk away point on both sides and that’s fine.”
On signing Kevin Comer and Daniel Norris at the last minute…
“We had set values on players long ago and it’s just the way that the process is set up. You have to wait until the end because people want to see what’s going to happen with the market, players around, our values don’t really change. It’s one of those things that there is not as much back and forth as people expect. It’s a lot of waiting around until the end because that’s what everyone does.”
Do you feel like you overpaid…
“In our minds no. Obviously it’s our evaluation of the players. We have our own process where we put a dollar on all of the players the same way we do in free agents, the same way we do in salary arbitration. You always have a choice, you always have an alternative, you never have to sign a player.
On Daniel Norris being first-round value…
I think with what we paid Daniel Norris I think it’s definitely reflected in his bonus — but that’s as far as we were going to take it. There’s no question Daniel Norris should not have been a second round pick. He was absolutely a first-round talent but he slid because of some signability concerns and that was an opportunity for us.
On Beede saying he wanted $3.5 million and Blue Jays countered with $2.5…
“I wouldn’t comment specifically on negotiations and gaps and things like that. Obviously, Tyler has a right to say what he’d like. From our standpoint, I’d say we wish Tyler the best. He’s an outstanding kid, has tremendous ability. I think he’s going to have a great year at Vanderbilt and I think he’ll have a long and prosperous career as a Major Leaguer as well.
On being aggressive in the Draft…
“We were absolutely much more aggressive in this year’s draft than we were last. We were not concerned about signability, we took the talent. We continued to do that and you can’t do that without the support of Paul Beeston and you can’t do that without the support of Rogers to be able to fund us.
“It’s nice to do that in theory but if you don’t have the support behind you, you can’t do that.”