By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun
9:55 PM EDT, June 10, 2011
Orioles top draft pick Dylan Bundy may be seeking a record-breaking contract, perhaps as high as $30 million, but it won't happen, according to amateur scouting director Joe Jordan.
"I don't look to set any records. I don't expect to," Jordan said in a post-draft news conference at Camden Yards on Friday. "And expectations on their side are pretty good right now, but that's OK. I mean, he is a talented kid and we will work through it and see where it goes."
Jordan said Bundy, an Oklahoma high school right-hander taken fourth overall Monday, was not No. 1 on the club's drafting board but was close to the top. The hard-throwing 18-year-old is not alone in his lofty demands — and Jordan has come to expect that throughout baseball.
"They've all gotten the same playbook this year. If you could hear some of the numbers, it wasn't just our guy. It was others," Jordan said. "The numbers are all inflated now and we'll have to wait until August to see where they all come in. It's not real. It's not relevant. They know it. We know it. It's just the way the game is played, I guess."
The largest bonus the Orioles have doled out in team history was $6 million to catcher Matt Wieters (selected fifth overall) in 2007. Last year's top pick, Miami high school shortstop Manny Machado (third overall) received $5.25 million. Both were advised by super agent Scott Boras. Bundy will be advised by Jay Franklin, who represents Bundy's brother, Bobby, an Orioles minor leaguer, as well as several major leaguers.
"[Bundy] is a very special talent, as was the shortstop we took last year that was a high school player taken third overall and not fourth. And we went through the exercise with his representative," Jordan said. "The club always is going to decide what the bonus is going to be. There is no one in this business any better than the guy (Boras) that was representing Manny Machado last year. So I think what you have to do is try to be honest, but strong. And at the end of the day know what the player wants to do."
For comparison's sake, the largest draft deal in baseball history was the $15.1 million contract that Stephen Strasburg, a college pitcher and the top overall pick in 2009, received from the Washington Nationals. In 2007, Rick Porcello signed a major league deal with the Detroit Tigers worth a guaranteed $7.28 million, the most lucrative for a high school pitcher.
Bundy has a scholarship offer from the University of Texas. If he honors it, he would forfeit his draft rights until after his junior year of college. By then, Major League Baseball may have instituted a set slot system for draftees based on where they are chosen, which could limit bonuses.
"I think you can see the influence on some of the early negotiations we've had. It's been different," Jordan said. "It's real and we're aware of it and so it should help us. Hopefully it will."
Jordan, in his seventh draft with the Orioles, said he was pleased with the overall haul over the past three days, in which he selected 32 pitchers and 18 position players. With the elimination of the organization's long-time rookie affiliate in Bluefield, W.Va., and the decision to go from two Dominican Republic summer clubs to one, Jordan said the club expects to sign fewer picks than they have in the past.
"There's no need to [sign more], which is great," Jordan said. "We are going to be able to concentrate our assets where we want to concentrate them. We are not going to have to worry about signing and fielding rosters near to the extent that we have in the past."
Jordan would not disclose whether his signing budget has increased or decreased this year, but said he's optimistic he'll land most of the players he is targeting. That includes two in the Top 10 rounds that have already agreed to terms, though Jordan wouldn't reveal specifics.
As usual, he said he drafted several players that are considered tough signings, with the hopes that the lure of playing pro ball and the right bonus will entice them. One of those players is sixth rounder Nick Delmonico, a high-school third baseman from Tennessee who has a commitment to theUniversity of Georgia.
Jordan said the Orioles also considered Rice University third baseman Anthony Rendon, who dropped to the Nationals at No. 6 overall, primarily because of a shoulder injury. Jordan said the club didn't receive as much information on the injury — or in as timely of a manner — as it would have liked.
"When we started looking at [Bundy and Rendon] ability-wise and health-wise and just everything together, we just felt like the right thing to do was take the player we took," Jordan said. "Did we have everything [medically] we needed as early as we wanted it? No. Again, at the end of the day, it may not have been the deciding factor anyway."
Fox clears waivers, outrighted to Norfolk
Jake Fox, who was designated on June 1, cleared waivers Friday and was sent outright to Triple-A Norfolk. He is expected to join the Tides this weekend.
Fox, 28, batted .188 with two homers and four RBIs in 48 at-bats for the Orioles this year. He started six games at catcher, two at first base and four at left field. Because of his versatility, the Orioles thought he might be claimed.
"I'm pleased about it," said Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. "There was a period there where I didn't think that he'd get through. But I'm glad to still have him. I really think Jake could contribute in a certain role."
Snyder up, Lee on bereavement list
First baseman Brandon Snyder was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk Friday to replace Derrek Lee, who was placed on the bereavement list to attend his grandfather's funeral in California.
Lee likely will not play again until Tuesday in Toronto, though he would be eligible to come off the bereavement list Sunday if he desired.
Snyder, 24, was with the Orioles earlier this season, playing in five games and getting two hits in nine at-bats (.222 average). He may get a start Saturday before being sent back to Norfolk, where he batted .253 with eight homers and 26 RBIs.
Orioles have contacted Hall; have tepid interest
The Orioles have contacted the agent of infielder Bill Hall, but the club's interest is considered tepid at this point. If they had received worse news about Brian Roberts' status earlier this week — the second baseman was re-examined by a concussion specialist, is progressing and potentially could return before the all-star break — the Orioles would have been more interested in Hall.
Still, if Hall were willing to accept a minor league deal, the Orioles likely would have interest in the veteran of 10 big league seasons. Hall, 33, was released by the Houston Astros on June 3 after hitting .224 with two homers in 147 at-bats. He hit .247 with 18 homers in 344 at-bats with the Boston Red Sox last season.
Robinson misses announcement, battling illness
There was a notable absence at Wednesday's news conference to unveil the rosters for the 30th annual Brooks Robinson High School All-Star Game: the Orioles' Hall of Fame third baseman and the event's namesake.
"And the reason Brooks is not here today is because, as many of you know, he is battling a very, very serious illness and [is] a little under the weather once again," WBAL-TV's Keith Mills said during his opening remarks Wednesday. "I know I speak for all of you in wishing the best for Brooks as he continues this incredible fight that he has partaken the last couple of years."
Around the horn
Friday's start was delayed one hour and eight minutes due to a thunderstorm. … Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has led off a game twice in his career — on Tuesday and Friday. He homered to lead off each game. … Coach John Russell has returned to the third base coach's box. He had been relegatd to the bench because of knee problems. ... Manager Buck Showalter said he's not ready to announce how many times Vladimir Guerrero will play the field during next week's interleague contests in National League parks. The designated hitter will not be available in those games. … Minor league pitching coordinator Alan Dunn has been hired to serve as the new pitching coach at Louisiana State University. The club is not expected to fill his position during the season. … The first 20,000 fans age 15 and older at Sunday's game against the Rays will receive an orange Orioles hat presented by DAP.
Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Zrebiec and Matt Castello contributed to this article.
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