Friday, August 15, 2008
Alvarez signs with Pirates for $6 million signing bonus
ESPN.com news services
NEW YORK -- Six of the top 11 picks in baseball's amateur draft agreed to contracts in the hours before Friday's midnight deadline. That included No. 2 overall pick Pedro Alvarez, who received a minor league deal from the Pittsburgh Pirates with a $6 million signing bonus.
"Pedro Alvarez is an accomplished college hitter with the potential to be a middle of the order bat at the major league level for us," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "Equally important, he is a quality young man who comes from a very strong family. We appreciate their trust in the Pirates organization. Pedro is a high-end talent. We are excited to add him to our system and about the potential impact he can have."
The signing bonus is the largest ever given to a Pirates draft choice.
A 21-year old third baseman, Alvarez spent three years at Vanderbilt University and hit .317 with nine home runs and 30 RBI sin 40 games. He missed six weeks with a broken hamate bone in his right hand, though Pittsburgh expressed no concern about his injury on draft day.
Just two first-round picks facing the deadline failed to reach agreements.
Washington didn't sign Missouri right-hander Aaron Crow, the No. 9 selection, spokesman Matt Garza said. The New York Yankees didn't agree with right-hander Gerrit Cole, the 28th pick, who decided to attend UCLA. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that when New York selected Cole, the team thought he wanted to pursue a pro career.
"I believe that they've changed their mind," Cashman said. "It's not a money, negotiating issue as much as a life choice at this moment in time."
The Nationals and Yankees will each get an extra pick in the first round of next year's draft as compensation.
The deadline didn't apply to Seattle and right-hander Joshua Fields, who finished his senior season at Georgia and can continue to negotiate with the Mariners.
No. 3 Eric Hosmer (Kansas City) agreed to a minor league deal with a $6 million signing bonus.
Baltimore and No. 4 draft pick Brian Matusz also agreed to a contract.
Matusz, a left-hander from the University of San Diego, received a four-year contract that guarantees him $3,472,500 and includes a $3.2 million signing bonus. He was the first selection this year to receive a major league deal.
"The major league deal is basically what it took in order to get it done," he said. "It was the main key to finalize the deal."
The San Francisco Giants agreed to terms with catcher Buster Posey, the fifth overall pick.
"It's been a long summer," Posey said. "Obviously being 21-years old, this is the first of this type of experience for me. It was different. I'm extremely excited to be a Giant and I can't wait to get started."
Posey, a catcher from Florida State, agreed to a minor league contract with a $6.2 million signing bonus. He won the 2008 Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation's best amateur baseball player, as well as the Dick Howser Trophy and the Brooks Wallace Award.
Posey had been drafted in the 50th round in 2005 by the Los Angeles Angels, although at the time he was playing shortstop. He was second in ESPN.com's ranking of prospects for the 2008 draft, behind No. 1 pick Tim Beckham.
Beckham, a high school shortstop taken by Tampa Bay with the top pick of this year's draft, received a $6.15 million signing bonus.
First baseman Yonder Alonso from Miami, the seventh overall pick, agreed to a contract with the Cincinnati Reds shortly before the deadline on Friday.
Justin Smoak, the Texas Rangers' first-round pick, signed a minor league deal for $3.5 million. Smoak, a 21-year-old switch-hitting first baseman from the USC, hit .383 with 23 home runs and 72 RBIs as a junior last season.
The San Diego Padres agreed to terms with first-round draft pick Allan Dykstra, an infielder from Wake Forest, who was selected with the 23rd overall pick.
After the Padres made an initial contract offer to Dykstra, the club withdrew it following a medical exam. Team vice president Grady Fuson would not say what was in the exam results, but did acknowledged that it had to do with Dykstra's hip. Dykstra underwent hip surgery before his sophomore year in high school.
Tim Melville, a promising high school pitcher taken in the fourth round, agreed to a minor league contract with the Royals for a $1.25 million signing bonus.
ESPN.com senior writer Keith Law, ESPN.com staff writer Amy K. Nelson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.