This off-season, the economy has been front and center for Major League Baseball, and that may extend itself to how bonuses are awarded players that are selected in the June draft. By now it seems all but certain that the level of bonuses doled out to drafted players in 2008 will not be reached this year.
According to figures released by The Associated Press, just under $69 million ($68,966,500) in bonuses were awarded for first-round drafted players in 2008, alone. And, according Jim Callis of Baseball America, the total awarded for the ’08 draft was a staggering “$188.3 million in bonuses, up $34.7 million from 2007.”
Of the total bonus money spent in the first-round, $47,626,500, or 69 percent of the total was awarded to 21 college players, while $21,340,000, or 31 percent was spent on the nine high school players. The average bonus was $2.3 million.
Two players in the first-round signed major league contracts. LHP Brian Matusz from the University of San Diego reached a 4-year, $3,472,500 contract with the Orioles while first baseman Yonder Alonso of Miami agreed on a 5-year, $4.55 million deal with the Reds.
Two player drafted in the first-round failed to sign with the clubs that drafted them, the highest drafted player being RHP Aaron Crow of Missouri who went at #9 to the Nationals. Crow was unable to sign with the Nationals when Crow and agent Randy Hendricks could not reach an agreement with the Nats. It was reported that Hendricks was seeking a major league contract and a signing bonus in excess of the recommended slotted bonus by MLB of $2.150 million. However, when the signing deadline arrived, the two sides were reportedly between $700,000 and $900,000 apart.
The other player was RHP Gerrit Cole from Orange Lutheran (Calif.) High School, who opted to go to U.C.L.A., as opposed to signing with the Yankees.
Both the Nationals and Yankees will receive a compensatory pick for their failure to sign their players.
Below is a complete breakdown of the first-round draft picks by bonus:
|2008 First-Round Signing Bonuses |
|Club ||Player ||Pos. ||School ||Bonus ||Details |
|Rays ||Tim Beckham ||SS ||Griffin (Ga.) HS. ||$6,150,000 || |
|Pirates ||Pedro Alvarez ||3B ||Vanderbilt ||$6,000,000 || |
|Royals ||Eric Hosmer ||1B ||American Heritage HS, Plantation, FL ||$6,000,000 || |
|x-Orioles ||Brian Matusz ||LHP ||San Diego ||$3,472,500 || 4-year contract |
|Giants ||Buster Posey ||C ||Florida State ||$6,200,000 || |
|Marlins ||Kyle Skipworth ||C ||Patriot HS, Riverside CA ||$2,300,000 || |
|x-Reds ||Yonder Alonso ||1B ||Miami ||$4,550,000 || 5-year contract |
| W. Sox ||Gordon Beckham ||SS ||Georgia ||$2,600,000 || |
|Nationals ||Aaron Crow ||RHP ||Missouri ||$0 || failed to sign |
|Astros ||Jason Castro ||C ||Stanford ||$2,070,000 || |
|Rangers ||Justin Smoak ||1B ||South Carolina ||$3,500,000 || |
|Athletics ||Jemile Weeks ||2B ||Miami ||$1,910,000 || |
|Cardinals ||Brett Wallace ||3B-1B ||Arizona State ||$1,840,000 || |
|Twins ||Aaron Hicks ||OF-RHP ||Woodrow Wilson HS, Long Beach, CA ||$1,780,000 || |
|Dodgers ||Ethan Martin ||RHP-3B ||Stephens County HS, Taccoa, GA ||$1,730,000 || |
|Brewers ||Brett Lawrie ||C ||Brookswood SS, Langley B.C. ||$1,700,000 || |
|Blue Jays ||David Cooper ||1B ||California ||$1,500,000 || |
|† Mets ||Ike Davis ||1B-OF || Arizona State ||$1,575,000 || |
|Cubs ||Andrew Cashner ||RHP || TCU ||$1,540,000 || |
|Mariners ||Joshua Fields ||RHP || Georgia ||$1,750,000 || |
|Tigers ||Ryan Perry ||RHP || Arizona ||$1,480,000 || |
|Mets ||Reese Havens ||SS || South Carolina ||$1,419,000 || |
|Padres ||Allan Dykstra ||1B || Wake Forest ||$1,150,000 || |
|Phillies ||Anthony Hewitt ||OF-SS || Salisbury (Conn.) HS. ||$1,380,000 || |
|Rockies ||Christian Friedrich ||LHP || Eastern Kentucky ||$1,350,000 || |
|D-Backs ||Daniel Schlereth ||LHP || Arizona ||$1,330,000 || |
|‡ Twins ||Carlos Gutierrez ||RHP || Miami ||$1,290,000 || |
|Yankees ||Gerrit Cole ||RHP || Orange (CA) Lutheran HS ||$0 || failed to sign |
|Indians ||Lonnie Chisenhall ||SS || Pitt CC ||$1,100,000 || |
|Red Sox ||Casey Kelly ||RHP-SS || Sarasota (Fla.) HS ||$300,000 || |
| || || || TOTAL ||$68,966,500 || |
x-major league contract
† From Braves for Tom Glavine
‡ From L.A. Angels for Torii Hunter
Source: The Associated Press
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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