PHILADELPHIA -- One day after being drafted with the 16th overall pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Stanford University left-hander Chris Reed offered few details about his signability, offering only what sounded like well-rehearsed responses to questions on the subject.
"I know there is a business decision that has to be made," Reed said. "Right now, I'm actually not even worried about it. I'm just worried about winning in North Carolina (at an NCAA super regional this weekend). I understand that it's a business decision, and I'm just going to have to, well, we'll work on it."
Reed offered basically the same answer when asked later if he is prepared to go back to Stanford for his senior season -- college seniors usually have very little negotiating leverage following the draft -- and repeated it once again when asked if it is important to him to get his professional career started sometime this summer rather than waiting until next spring if he isn't able to sign quickly.
Reed is being advised by hardball agent Scott Boras, a relationship he said began only after he was approached by representatives from Boras' agency.
"At first, I was just going to use my dad, but in the end, we chose to go with Boras' advice," Reed said. "Baseball is a business. There is a business aspect to this, and they are one of the best. In the end, it will be my decision, with my family as well, but (Boras) will be advising us."
The combination of being advised by Boras and the fact the Dodgers generally don't go above "slot" money even for first-round draft picks -- even though they did last year, signing Texas high-school pitcher Zach Lee to a $5.25 million bonus in the final hours before the deadline and spreading payment of that bonus over five years -- would seem to suggest this won't be a quick negotiation.
This year's deadline for signing draft picks is Aug. 15. And this time, with Major League Baseball having appointed two monitors to oversee their finances, the Dodgers are hardly in a position to splurge the way they did for Lee.
Reed, a reliever at Stanford whom the Dodgers plan to develop as a starter, posted a 6.10 ERA as a sophomore, walking more batters (15) than he struck out (14) while opposing batters hit .295 off him. The turning point in his collegiate career, and probably with his draft projection, came in the Atlantic Collegiate Summer League last year, when he posted a 1.09 ERA in 11 appearances and struck out 39 with 14 walks.
This season, as a Stanford junior, he had a 1.80 ERA and nine saves in 27 appearances.
"It was obviously a dramatic transformation from what it was," Reed said. "I worked hard to get here, and I had to basically commit myself and tell myself I was serious about baseball, that I had to do everything in my power to get better and to be the best. When I went back East, I got more innings in, and I was able to pitch and work on my mechanics, work on my slider and changeup.
"Basically, I just changed my mental state of mind and said baseball is what I love to do and if I'm serious about it, I'm going to commit and give it everything I have."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.