With fewer than four weeks remaining to sign his 2011 draft picks, Orioles director of amateur scouting Joe Jordan finds himself in a familiar position in late July.
“We’re just kind of in a waiting mode on some stuff,” Jordan said. “We have offers out there to pretty much all of them. We’re going to sign some guys here soon or we’re going to move on to other things. Obviously, I’m talking about guys down in the draft. We have priorities. We have a first- and second-rounder that are not signed, and they are our top priorities.”
Jordan said he has had periodic conversations with the Orioles’ top pick, Dylan Bundy, a right-hander out of Owasso High in Oklahoma, whom the club selected fourth overall. Jordan fully expects the dialogue to pick up ahead of the Aug. 15 signing deadline.
However, Jordan did express some frustration that the club has been unable to make any progress in negotiations with their second-round selection, Jason Esposito, a third baseman from Vanderbilt.
“We were hopeful that Esposito would be out playing by now, and that’s not the case,” Jordan said. “We’re quite a ways apart. It’s just one of those things. I wish it was different. He needs to be playing, and he’s not. Unless something changes, he’s not going to be for a while unfortunately. We’ve got a big difference in opinion right now, and we’re going to hang in where we’re at.”
The Orioles have agreed to terms with 16 of their 50 picks, including six of their top 10 selections. Because the Orioles eliminated both their Rookie-level team in Bluefield and one of their Dominican Summer League teams and no longer have as much roster space, Jordan has said the organization probably will only sign between 20 and 25 of the 50 players that they selected last month.
Obviously, a good chunk of the draft budget will go toward trying to get Bundy into the fold. The 18-year-old has said he’s looking for a $30 million deal, which he certainly won’t get from the Orioles.
“I’ve talked to him from time to time,” Jordan said. “There’s not a whole lot of first-rounders who have signed. It’s just the nature of the beast right now. There’s not much you can do about it. You just wait until the time to strike, and hopefully we’ll get something done. We’re communicating, but not much is going on other than trying to have a little dialogue from time to time. That’s standard operating procedure unfortunately. “
As for the rest of his draft class, Jordan said it’s time for some of his selections to make decisions on where they want to play next.
“Hopefully, it’s the decision that we want them to make at the terms that we want them to make it at,” Jordan said. “We have priorities, and some guys are going to have to show me they want them to play or they’re going to be going back to school. It’s no different than any other year.”