With the deadline to sign his 2011 draft class now down to hours rather than months or weeks, Orioles director of amateur scouting Joe Jordan remains resolute in the belief that the organization will sign top pick Dylan Bundy, a high school pitcher out of Oklahoma.
"I haven't changed my position on that at all," said Jordan, who will have until midnight Monday to sign Bundy, the fourth overall pick in June's draft. "I just think the kid wants to be part of the organization, and I think we're going to do what we need to do to get it done. I don't feel any different than I did a month ago, two months ago. We're just getting close to the deadline so that's a good thing."
Jordan has had ongoing talks with Jay Franklin, who represents Bundy, a right-handed starter who went 11-0 with a 0.20 ERA as a senior at Owasso High School. However, Jordan acknowledged that he expects the negotiations to go right up until the midnight deadline.
Bundy is believed to be looking for a deal that exceeds the biggest the Orioles have ever given out, which was the $6 million pact that catcher Matt Wieters received in 2007. To this point, Jordan has said that he doesn't expect to set any records in signing Bundy.
"We've had talks. I think they have been productive, but the most productive talks don't happen until the last day, day and a half," Jordan said Sunday afternoon. "There is just a timeline and we're here. Sometime in the next day and a half, we'll get our guy."
The Orioles have signed 18 of their 50 selections, and they remain in negotiations with at least four other picks. While Bundy is the headliner, the Orioles are also prioritizing second-rounder Jason Esposito, a third baseman out of Vanderbilt drafted 64th overall; and sixth-rounder Nick Delmonico, a Tennessee high school third baseman. Jordan also acknowledged that there is a high school player later in the draft who is mulling over an Orioles offer, though he declined to name him.
"I feel like we're in good shape, I really do," Jordan said. "There is still a lot of stuff to put together. I'm not saying that we're going to get all four guys, but I feel good about where we're at. We just have to keep grinding through it."
Esposito, known more for his glove than his bat, hit .341 with nine homers and 59 RBIs in 65 games for a Commodores team that made the College World Series. Jordan has expressed some frustration with an inability to get a deal done with Esposito, who was at Camden Yards on Friday to take a physical.
If the Orioles aren't able to reach an agreement with the third baseman, they'll be compensated with the fifth pick of the second round in next year's draft. That could be even better than the 65th pick because there could be fewer supplemental picks rewarded next year.
Delmonico, whose father Rod was the long-time baseball coach at the University of Tennessee, is considered the wildcard of the draft. Baseball America labeled him as second-round talent, but the Georgia signee fell all the way to the sixth round and the 185th pick because of his asking price. He is believed to be seeking mid first-round money.
"I think they do want to sign," Jordan said of Esposito and Delmonico. "They are totally different situations, but I do think if things work out, both players have a strong interest in signing."