dumb dumb dumb... Astros screwed this up royally. My predictions. They messed up Aiken's NCAA eligibility, so he goes to JuCo, an Indy league, or just sits out and re-enters the draft next June. In the mean time, Nix and Aiken file a grievance with the MLBPA. I think Nix will win for sure, given that he had an offer on the table that Houston renigged on. I suspect Aiken may win as well, but he doesn't have nearly the ground in the CBA. This will put Houston over their pool at which point they will lose their true first round pick. Houston's front office will likely be unemployed this winter... At least they should be. I cannot imagine any agent being too willing to negotiate with them given the lack of good faith they've shown.
This is bad for baseball. I'm rather surprised Selig didn't step in here.
Nix and Aiken are not part of the MLBPA, so they cannot file a grievance. I don't like the way the Astros are run, and this might bite them in many respects, but they did everything by the name of the rules here. If they made an oral offer to Nix through his agent it does not matter unless there were signatures on paper. And given that they both have the same agent, how can we be certain that all of that was not driven by the agent a bit too...
The Orioles backed up on Balfour last off-season after the medicals. Similar situation (and Balfour is part of the MLBPA.) No signatures, no contract. If there are signatures, there is no way they can renege that contract. That's how it goes. Might suck for the Astros, but they made a $5M dollar to an 18 year old kid with what they thought was arm issues and he did not take it. Told the agent that they will go over slot with Nix if Aiken takes it. That's what seems to have happened. I'd really blame the agent as much as the Astros here.
As far as NCAA eligibility goes, if a college football player even thinks about hiring an agent, he loses it. Same should be with baseball. That's on NCAA (and the kids). Not the Astros, not the MLB.