The deadline to sign players from the 2015 MLB Draft is tomorrow at 5:00 PM, and while the Tampa Bay Rays have most of their notable picks signed, second round catcher Chris Betts is one big exception. Let’s go through each pick and discuss whether they have signed. If a pick did agree to terms, we’ll discuss his bonus if we know it, and if he still hasn’t joined the organization, we will talk about the chances that he will before the deadline. And for your convenience, we will provide a link to the draft profile we wrote up for each player. At the end, we’ll also do a quick summary.
Whitley signed for $2,962,100, exactly the slot bonus for the 13th overall pick. You never know what high school players will demand sometimes, but the Rays did a nice job getting the guy they wanted without hurting their ability to sign other players.
Round 2: C Chris Betts (profile) – UPDATE: now signed
Betts remains unsigned, but Marc Topkin just tweeted that the Rays remain optimistic that they can agree to terms with him and we have to expect that they will. As noted by MLB.com, the Rays can give Betts a $1,938,465 bonus without incurring penalties, roughly the slot value of the 29th overall pick in the draft. Mock drafts had Betts going right around that range, so that sounds like a reasonable number. The slot value for Betts’ selection is $1,160,500.
Things might go right down to the wire, but the Rays certainly appear to have enough money to get Betts signed. If the deal doesn’t get done, either the Rays had Betts’ signability in the second round pegged entirely wrong or the elbow injury that he suffered before the draft was more severe than the Rays thought.
Round 3: 2B Brandon Lowe – signed (profile)
Lowe signed for $697,500, a touch above the slot bonus of $676,900. That is just further proof that the Rays like Lowe’s bat more than his draft slot might have indicated.
Koch was the Rays’ first money saving pick, although not to a crazy extent. He received $437,500 compared to the $479,200 slot. The Rays thought that drafting a relief pitcher instead of a starter was worth the higher probability of getting Betts to sign.
The Rays didn’t go overly crazy trying to get Betts signed as they drafted Lowe and McCarthy, two advanced college bats who weren’t picked early by any measure. McCarthy agreed to terms just below the $358,900 slot at $356,400.
The Rays saved money on this pick as Moss joined the fold for $167,500 rather than the $268,700 slot. That was to be expected from a senior sign, although Moss has more upside than most such players.
Cronenworth seemed like another guy worthy of his draft slot, but the Rays actually managed to get him for $198,900 compared to the $201,400 slot, for what it’s worth. That is more of a moral victory than anything else–I really hope that $2,500 isn’t the difference between signing Chris Betts or not.
The money spent on these guys, along with the money saved on Koch, is expected to be enough to sign Betts. Karalus signed for $122,500 compared to the $172,300 slot, and the deals for the next two were even more extreme. Both received $7,500 compared to slots of $161,000 and $150,300 respectively.
Round 13: RHP Nicholas Padilla (profile) – UPDATE: now signed
I am pretty surprised that Padilla isn’t signed after the Rays drafted him in the 13th round even though he wasn’t drafted out of high school and underwent Tommy John Surgery after four starts at junior college. Either his injury prognosis is really bad or he will sign–it would be bizarre if he didn’t agree to terms given that his absolute ceiling for next year’s draft is getting picked in the same round.
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Round 14: RHP Tyler Brashears (profile) – UPDATE: now signed
It also seems crazy that Brashears isn’t signed. He is a junior in college rather than a senior, so he does have some leverage, but he still seemed like the type of guy who would agree to terms. Even if he doesn’t get much of a bonus now, he has the ability to progress well in the Rays’ system and earn his money by making the majors down the line. Maybe Brashears is convinced that he can be picked in the top 5 rounds next year, or this could be a matter of Brashears needing a bonus beyond $100,000 (which would go against the Rays’ bonus pool). If it’s the latter, the Rays will have to wait until Betts either signs or they know that he won’t before they worry about inking a guy like Brashears or Padilla, let alone the high school guys below.
Round 15: RHP Ethan Clark – signed (profile)
Round 16: C/1B Joe Davis (profile)
At this point, is seems unlikely that Davis will sign if the Rays reel in Betts. They simply don’t have enough money to get both. However, if Betts doesn’t agree to terms, Davis may be the Rays’ backup plan. They will have several hundred thousands of dollars to kill, and Davis might be signable if they use $400,000 or $500,000 of it. The Rays would certainly rather sign Betts, but Davis is another power hitter with a chance to stay at catcher, so it isn’t as though this entire draft class will fall apart if Betts gets away.
Round 20: RHP Edrick Agosto – signed (profile)
Round 22: RHP Justin Marsden (profile) – UPDATE: now officially signed
This picture certainly indicates that Marsden has signed, although that hasn’t been confirmed yet by Baseball America or other outlets. It’s pretty safe to assume that the Rays have agreed to terms with him, although the uncertainty surrounding Betts may be holding everything up. If he doesn’t sign at this point, it would be a Brady Aiken-Jacob Nix type of situation, and we know that the Rays would want to avoid that at all costs.
Round 27: C Joey Bart (profile)
Bart said after the draft that he didn’t plan on signing with the Rays, and we have no reason to doubt him.
Round 28: OF Dezmond Chumley (profile)
Round 29: 1B Shane Potter (profile)
Chumley and Potter are two more guys who the Rays could sign if they have money left over, with Chumley being the more likely candidate because Potter is committed to San Diego State.
Round 30: SS Kyle Teaf (profile)
Teaf is a senior, so it’s bizarre that he hasn’t signed yet. We have to think that he will, but the fact that it has taken so long certainly provides fodder for conspiracy theorists. Did Teaf fail his physical? Did he not want to play baseball? Did he want to take a vacation before his career began? I guess we’ll eventually find out.
Round 38: 1B/OF Steven Sensley (profile)
Round 39: CF Tyler Rand (profile)
Round 40: 2B Pikai Winchester (profile)
Add Sensley, Rand, and Winchester to the list of players that the Rays probably won’t sign but will at least call if they have money left over and especially if Betts turns them down.
Overall, the Rays have now officially signed 28 of their 40 picks, and Justin Marsden has also unofficially agreed to terms. Of the remaining 11 players, it seems extremely likely that Padilla, Brashears, and Teaf will sign, although the fact that none of them are already in the organization is a red flag. I would also put down Chris Betts as a probable signing, although the exact figures that he signs for (and if he does sign at all), will determine what happens with everybody else that hasn’t yet signed.
That leaves Joe Davis, Bart, Chumley, Potter, Sensley, Rand, and Winchester, and each of them have some chance of signing other than Bart. Davis and Chumley seem like the most likely candidates, and we have to think that the Rays will reel in at least one of them in if they can’t get Chris Betts.
UPDATE: As noted by “Ryan” in the comments, Teaf has decided not to pursue a professional baseball career. There goes that. As also discussed in the comments, Betts has now signed, although we will have a full piece on him later today (Friday).
ANOTHER UPDATE: Now it’s being brought to my attention that Padilla and Marsden have also officially signed. More on them along with Betts in a few minutes.
UPDATE #3: Ryan Martinez in the comments contributes the link that Tyler Brashears has also signed and that Pikai Winchester won’t.