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Astros mess

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#1 gunnarthor

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 10:10 AM

Astros found an issue with #1 pick Brady Aiken's elbow. Aiken says he feels fine but the Astros have dropped their offer to him from the original 6.5m down to 3.168m, a huge dropoff. They also have already come to terms with another draftee, Jacob Nix, and had agreed to pay him 1.5m more than his slot amount on the assumption that Aiken would sign. However, if Aiken doesn't sign, they would lose his slot bonus and would therefore be over the draft budget and have to forfeit a few draft picks next year. They appear ready to not sign Nix if it comes to that but the players association and his agent may fight them on that. "[COLOR=#333333][FONT=Verdana]MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said the players’ association will weigh all options in support of the players. Specifically regarding Nix, he said: [/FONT][/COLOR]“We believe that it is a clear violation of the rules being attempted solely to avoid penalty. [COLOR=#373737]The Astros made a deal with Jacob Nix and should honor that agreement.”"
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[COLOR=#373737]http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/07/brady-aiken-has-elbow-issue-astros-seeking-discounted-deal.html

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[COLOR=#373737]I gotta admit, I'm rooting for the kids in this case. [/COLOR][COLOR=#373737][/COLOR]

#2 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 10:19 AM

I thought they dropped their offer to about 5.6M. This is MUCH lower still.

I'd be real curious about how 'finding issues with his arm' plays out. Strikes me as very odd that nothing surfaced at all in all the physicals/prescreens/interviews that were done prior to the draft. There very well may be something to this, but I just kind of assume that this is all a part of the scouting process.

I echo the OP here. I'm with the kids. There's something very fishy about it, and there's a precedence being set that says we can do a separate evaluation and just ding you, no matter where we drafted you. I get it if the player lies to the team about info that could potentially change their minds, but I don't the impression this is what happned here.

Fortunately for the kids, the MLBPA is one of the strongest unions out there, and I'd imagine that with the whole minor league lawsuit in play right now, they might step up front and center kill this one.

#3 gunnarthor

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 10:32 AM

According to union and agents, they believe the Astros knew that MRIs will always show "something" in any pitchers arm and are using that against Aiken. Aiken was hitting 97 in his last start and has had no arm injuries in the past. Astros owner is also pretty cheap - makes Pohlads look good so may not have wanted to spend the full pool allotment.

Best case scenario for Aiken would be for him to be declared a FA - Astros must make an offer of 40% of slot value but if an arbitrator rules that Astros had been breaking the rules (hard to do), he'd be a FA. Jim Callis guesses he'd get at least 25m.

#4 drjim

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 10:33 AM

Another interesting part is that Aiken and Nix have the same advisor and the team is trying to leverage him.

They are offering Aiken exactly the 40% of the slo threshold needed for a replacement pick next draft.

This seems very fishy. All within the rules, but my general attitude is that baseball is still a person business and if you mess with enough people it will bite you eventually as an organization. If Houston doesn't get really good in the next year or two this front office will fall hard.
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#5 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 04:41 PM

Best case scenario for Aiken would be for him to be declared a FA - Astros must make an offer of 40% of slot value but if an arbitrator rules that Astros had been breaking the rules (hard to do), he'd be a FA. Jim Callis guesses he'd get at least 25m.


Honestly, I kind of hope that happens. As it is right now, they are basically getting the kid for 20M under market value by paying him slot. I just cannot believe they'd try something like this.

#6 Brandon

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 06:55 PM

So if Aiken doesn't sign and isn't declared a Free Agent does he have to wait to go in the next draft? I guess he can go play independent baseball.

#7 darin617

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 07:17 PM

So if Aiken doesn't sign and isn't declared a Free Agent does he have to wait to go in the next draft? I guess he can go play independent baseball.


He was a high school pitcher. He will most likely sign at the last minute for whatever they offer. Or he can just pick a college if he has not already and start his college career and hopefully not drafted again by the Astros in a couple of years.

#8 Taildragger8791

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 07:47 PM

So if Aiken doesn't sign and isn't declared a Free Agent does he have to wait to go in the next draft? I guess he can go play independent baseball.


He could play independent ball or at a juco somewhere and reenter next year...and probably get drafted by the Astros again since they'll finish somewhere in the bottom of the league. Or he could go to college and wait 3 years to reenter the draft, while assuming all the injury risk.

#9 Twins Twerp

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 07:59 PM

He could play independent ball or at a juco somewhere and reenter next year...and probably get drafted by the Astros again since they'll finish somewhere in the bottom of the league. Or he could go to college and wait 3 years to reenter the draft, while assuming all the injury risk.

I thought he had a commit to UCLA. I am guessing he would go there. The Astros really piss me off after they pulled this bs. I hope there rebuild fails and they clean house. They do everything different from shifts to losing on purpose. This hasnt been done in baseball for a reason...shame on them.

#10 righty8383

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 08:13 PM

This didn't sit right with me when the story 1st came out. I hadn't realized until I read drjim's post informing me that the offer was 40% of slot and that is the amount that gets you a pick the following year should the player reject it. After seeing that, the Astros look downright pathetic from where I sit.

#11 JB_Iowa

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 08:17 PM

Can somebody enlighten me a little about the Astros management?

It seems to me that they are getting pretty creative (not saying that it is in a good way) with the way they are playing hardball.

We now have this issue. Earlier we had the whole question of agreeing to promote to MLB only if they were able to buy out the players pre-arb and arb years (yes, I remember that there were pros and cons from the players side).

It just seems to me that they've got somebody really trying to leverage the club's power.

#12 mike wants wins

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 08:45 PM

Well, my opinion is very different now that we hear more......It is still too much money to turn down, and his college coaches will still abuse his arm, and he won't get paid for three years......almost got to take it at some point, imo. But man, the Astros are looking bad.
Lighten up Francis....

#13 HansGruber

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 09:16 PM

The Astro's front office certainly does not have a fan in me. They played games with players service time in order to get very friendly contract extensions, which makes it difficult to give them the benefit of the doubt here.

It's been reported that their problem is his UCL is smaller than normal which doesn't necessarily mean he is more likely to be injured and he currently is not hurt. A number of third party doctors have okay'd him, which doesn't mean the teams concerns are illegitimate but it certainly makes them look bad.

I question whether they should even be concerned if he needs TJ. Lucas Giolito was drafted knowing he need TJ and I would bet teams regret letting him pass. Hoffman was drafted highly despite having TJ surgery. Aiken's upside is so high that its hard to let him go over concerns that may not happen. Not to mention they could lose future picks or a couple draft picks this year, who are highly rated, assuming they rescind their offers.

Edited by HansGruber, 15 July 2014 - 09:21 PM.


#14 maxisagod

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 09:19 PM

Astros will get the 2nd overall pick next year if he doesn't sign, and the way their playing, they may get the 1st overall pick four years in a row as well. If the Astros want to draft Aiken again, they need his permission, and if they don't come to a deal, I can't see him giving it.

Aiken was the best pitcher in the draft class. He agreed to a below slot deal. The MRI didn't show an injury, it showed that his UCL is smaller than average. Aiken people and doctors say this won't increase injury or make a Tommy John surgery harder, Astros seem to disagree. I don't like the way the Astros have been treating it's players. I'm in the rooting for a failed rebuild as well.

#15 jorgenswest

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 09:24 PM

Any judgment of the Aiken/Astros situation needs to wait until after the deadline.

Right now it is both sides using the press to negotiate with the MLPBA also trying to leverage the situation.

By July 18, Aiken may be an Astro and all of this noise a mere distraction.

#16 twinsfan34

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 10:47 PM

Aiken can just go to college. He won't have a pro contract for another 3 years, but he could likely make more money then. He should do just that. That's chump change to the Astros and they picked him #1...he already gave them a big discount for $5M.

Bunch of jokers over there.

And I hope in some way the Astros have to forfeit the pick. (if at all possible)

#17 mike wants wins

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 07:28 AM

College coaches abuse the heck out of arms. And, waiting three years, and taking a chance you get injured? That's a big risk to take. Very big.
Lighten up Francis....

#18 drjim

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 07:32 AM

College coaches abuse the heck out of arms. And, waiting three years, and taking a chance you get injured? That's a big risk to take. Very big.


This is overstated. Vast majority of coaches treat their players just fine. A junior who has been working on six days rest can go a few more pitches than the typical minor leaguer working on four days.
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#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 07:33 AM

College coaches abuse the heck out of arms. And, waiting three years, and taking a chance you get injured? That's a big risk to take. Very big.


Not to mention that it sets back his development 1-2 years. Out of high school, he might be a FA at age 28-29. Out of college, it's more like 30-31.

1-2 years of free agency are worth a lot more than $3m.

Still, what an awful situation to be put in. Houston, just give the kid his money.

#20 drjim

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 07:37 AM

I should also add that Aiken is signed with UCLA, generally considered the best college staff out there.

I do agree (to a point) with the development point. It can set a good pitcher back a year or two from his debut and free agency.
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#21 nicksaviking

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 07:43 AM

Houston's plan seems to be quite flawed. They clearly look to be trying to save money, money that is earmarked for this singular purpose. The thought is that they team is trying to leverage the players to get Aiken to sign for less, but that's rubbish as they'll lose both if they can't get Aiken to take less. If this were the Twins, and they were simply trying to save $2.5 million that was allocated solely for this draft, this board would be rioting, and rightly so.

Aiken should head to Japan for a year, he'd probably get paid close to his original agreed upon deal as snagging the #1 overall pick would be huge news there, plus I believe they often have 6 man rotations and only pitch once a week. That should naturally limit some innings, plus give him a taste of really good competition.

#22 mike wants wins

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 07:58 AM

I would also wager that the minor league coaches are better coaches. But, Brock brings up a key point, by waiting three years to sign, he pushes back the REALLY big money by three years.......three more years he could get hurt.
Lighten up Francis....

#23 drjim

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:06 AM

Houston's plan seems to be quite flawed. They clearly look to be trying to save money, money that is earmarked for this singular purpose. The thought is that they team is trying to leverage the players to get Aiken to sign for less, but that's rubbish as they'll lose both if they can't get Aiken to take less. If this were the Twins, and they were simply trying to save $2.5 million that was allocated solely for this draft, this board would be rioting, and rightly so.

Aiken should head to Japan for a year, he'd probably get paid close to his original agreed upon deal as snagging the #1 overall pick would be huge news there, plus I believe they often have 6 man rotations and only pitch once a week. That should naturally limit some innings, plus give him a taste of really good competition.


Aren't they trying to save money to spend on other pitchers? There is the fifth rounder mentioned, but also people that were taken after the 10th round that will sign for above slot. I actually think this is the reason for this, they want to squeeze Aiken so they can spread his money to other players.

The second part wouldn't happen. There is an agreement between US and Japan professional leagues to not poach players like this outside of the formal system (posting process).
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#24 drjim

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:09 AM

I would also wager that the minor league coaches are better coaches. But, Brock brings up a key point, by waiting three years to sign, he pushes back the REALLY big money by three years.......three more years he could get hurt.


The key difference in my mind is that professional teams are solely interested in using development time to get a pitcher ready for the majors at the expense of wins and losses of the minor league team, so they can be much more cautious. College programs of course are focused primarily on wins. But I think the conclusion that they heavily abuse their pitchers is overstated - I recommend reading some Baseball America content for a good counter to Keith Law's hysterics on this.

Three years difference is probably not true. College pitchers make the majors quicker than prep arms, so it is more like a year, maybe two.
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#25 mike wants wins

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:26 AM

Good point on the timing.

#26 Dman

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:32 AM

If that is their offer then Houston can't be serious about signing him. Jeff Hoffman who is having TJ surgery is getting 3 million for goodness sake and Rodon got more than the second round pick and likely the first pick as well. Something doesn't smell right in Houston. I would not sign with a team that would low ball me like that. Either you think the player is worth the first pick or you don't. I would either sit out the year or go to an Indy league and try again next year.

#27 TheDean

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:37 AM

I guess I'm not clear on how the college option works for draftees deciding not to sign; could someone clarify?

If someone signs with a four-year school, is there a minimum number of years they have to stay in school? Likewise for a JuCo school? Someone alluded to some kind of "gentleman's agreement" between MLB and other pro leagues, so college of some kind is the only alternative for these kids?

#28 drjim

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:48 AM

I guess I'm not clear on how the college option works for draftees deciding not to sign; could someone clarify?

If someone signs with a four-year school, is there a minimum number of years they have to stay in school? Likewise for a JuCo school? Someone alluded to some kind of "gentleman's agreement" between MLB and other pro leagues, so college of some kind is the only alternative for these kids?


If a kid enrolls in a 4 year college, he needs to spend three years there before he is eligible to be drafted (there are some draft eligible sophs who are older when they start school).

JC players are eligible to be drafted every year.

Correct, signing out of high school or going to college is the only option as a path to pro ball for an American/Canada/Puerto Rican born player.
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#29 markos

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:53 AM

Correct, signing out of high school or going to college is the only option as a path to pro ball for an American/Canada/Puerto Rican born player.


Is independent ball still an option? I recall players (specifically Matt Harrington) who didn't sign going to play for independent teams back in the early 2000s. They played one year and then were back in the draft.

#30 righty8383

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:56 AM

The second part wouldn't happen. There is an agreement between US and Japan professional leagues to not poach players like this outside of the formal system (posting process).

I'm honestly not sure this applies here. If Aiken doesn't sign by the deadline, he is no longer tied to a ML team in any way.
Even if Japan isn't an option, I would advise him to just hook up with an independent team. That way he can get his work in and still be available for next year's draft. I'm sure the Saints could make room for him.