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Astros Compensation Pick Protected?

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#1 naobermiller

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 11:09 PM

This is going to be a long initial post, but it will likely be a very short thread, so I apologize.

With the MLBPA officially filing a grievance against the Astros for the Aiken/Nix/Marshall draft debacle, there are some weird possibilities that could come about.

For those who don't know (I'm sure it's not many), the Houston Astros agreed to sign 1st overall pick, Brady Aiken, for a 6.5 million dollar bonus, but then apparent UCL concerns came up during a physical. The Astros then cut their offer down to a final offer of 5 million dollars, which Aiken refused, and went unsigned. Since the Astros offered 40% of the slotted amount (8mil) for the first overall pick, they are set to receive the second overall pick in next year's draft as compensation.

This is where it gets interesting. Houston, after agreeing to sign Aiken for 1.5mil under the slot, decided to use that extra money to make an aggressive offer to 5th round pick Jacob Nix. Nix had previously stated that he would attend UCLA, but with a contract 1.5million over the slot for a 5th rounder, he agreed verbally to the contract. Now this all occurred after Aiken agreed in terms to the 6.5 million dollar contract, but before the physical that prompted the Astros to lessen their offer, but according to the Nix camp, the Astros never told Nix that his contract was contingent on Aiken signing underneath his slot limit.

Since Aiken decided not to sign, the Astros lose the money allotted to them for Aiken's pick. Without that 8 million dollars to their total pool, and subsequently the 1.5 million dollars in savings, they could not sign Nix without going over their allotted money, the penalty for doing so is forfeiting your next two 1st round picks. So they rescinded their offer to Nix, and ended up not signing either of them.

Now the Nix camp is up in arms, because through no fault of his nor any stipulation that was offered to him, the Astros rescinded a contract offer that both teams had agreed in terms to. So if the MLBPA's grievance is successful, and they force the Astros to uphold the contract they had offered, this would force the Astros over the slot limit, and cost them those two picks.

Ok, now that we're all caught up, here are the questions. First question pertains to how the rule is written. Is it written to mean "The team will only lose their rightful first round pick for the next two years" (meaning their pick in 2015 and 2016 that gets determined by where they finish in the standings, and not including compensatory picks), or is it written to mean "the team will lose their next two draft picks, regardless of how they came by them" (meaning the compensatory pick and their pick they earned this year would be forfeit, but then no more).

Second question. Compensatory picks and top ten picks are labeled as protected, typically meaning that they can't be taken away. For instance, if a team with a top 10 pick signs a restricted free agent, rather than their first round draft pick, they give up their second. Does this protected status extend to disciplinary actions as well?

#2 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 01:43 AM

Since they offered him 40%, that pick is protected. I don't think anything can turn that otherwise. But it is a legitimate question.

I would assume, though, if a team loses a draft pick, it's location is irrelevant.

So if Astros are forced to sign Nix and lose two picks, they would lose their firsts in '15 and '16, but still have #2 overall next year.

It's an interesting question and I honestly wonder the same thing.

#3 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 04:28 AM

Note that they would have to sign whomever they drafted with that pick. If they failed to sign him, they don't get that pick back next year.

#4 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 06:04 AM

Note that they would have to sign whomever they drafted with that pick. If they failed to sign him, they don't get that pick back next year.


Picks are protected for two years now, so if they failed to sign #2 next year, they'd get #3 in '16. That change was made in new CBA.

#5 gunnarthor

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 06:34 AM

I think the other really interesting thing about this is that if the Astros lose any pick, my understanding is that it goes into a hat and all the teams that didn't go over the cap get a chance to get that pick. So let's hope the kids win their grievances.

#6 tobi0040

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 07:08 AM

I think the other really interesting thing about this is that if the Astros lose any pick, my understanding is that it goes into a hat and all the teams that didn't go over the cap get a chance to get that pick. So let's hope the kids win their grievances.


They are really a joke of a franchise. They should have lived up to their offer for Aiken. That kid has to go to college and re-enter the draft in 3 years and MLB has to reward them.

#7 nicksaviking

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 07:13 AM

Now the Nix camp is up in arms, because through no fault of his nor any stipulation that was offered to him, the Astros rescinded a contract offer that both teams had agreed in terms to.


Nix's camp isn't completely without fault, after all, Aiken and Nix share the same "advisor" Casey Close. Close knew advising Aiken to turn down the offer would mean Nix would not get signed. The Astros did offer Aiken $5 million, which was well under slot value, however, only the top three slots this year were valued at $5 million or more, which means unless the slots are significantly bumped next year, Aiken will need to be a top 3 pick again to top the $5 million offer, and at this time the Astros will hold at least one of those picks, quite possibly two.

The Astros screwed both players, but Close is not totally without blame and it's very unlikely Aiken tops the Astros offer unless he somehow gets awarded free agent status. I doubt that would happen, but this does sound like a situation where the commisioner's office, the MLBPA and perhaps even an arbitrator come up with a solution/penalty that is not currently spelled out in the CBA.

#8 tobi0040

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 07:42 AM

Nix's camp isn't completely without fault, after all, Aiken and Nix share the same "advisor" Casey Close. Close knew advising Aiken to turn down the offer would mean Nix would not get signed. The Astros did offer Aiken $5 million, which was well under slot value, however, only the top three slots this year were valued at $5 million or more, which means unless the slots are significantly bumped next year, Aiken will need to be a top 3 pick again to top the $5 million offer, and at this time the Astros will hold at least one of those picks, quite possibly two.

The Astros screwed both players, but Close is not totally without blame and it's very unlikely Aiken tops the Astros offer unless he somehow gets awarded free agent status. I doubt that would happen, but this does sound like a situation where the commisioner's office, the MLBPA and perhaps even an arbitrator come up with a solution/penalty that is not currently spelled out in the CBA.


I would welcome that penalty. I would love to see them not award the #2 pick next year.

On the one hand I appreciate the fact that the Astros committed to a rebuild and to a certain extent I wish the Twins would have done that. But the way in which they have gone about it irks me.

#9 gunnarthor

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 08:00 AM

On the one hand I appreciate the fact that the Astros committed to a rebuild and to a certain extent I wish the Twins would have done that. But the way in which they have gone about it irks me.


I'm not sure the Astros rebuild is any better than the Twins - Astros are on pace to lose an avg of 105 games/year for 4 years and haven't had a winning record since 2008. Twins have been better than that and the Twins (and Cubs) both have created better farm systems.

I think the Astros have been more upfront about telling fans we're giving up on the season. (And taken a pretty big attendance hit for that).

#10 James

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 08:19 AM

Nix's camp isn't completely without fault, after all, Aiken and Nix share the same "advisor" Casey Close. Close knew advising Aiken to turn down the offer would mean Nix would not get signed. The Astros did offer Aiken $5 million, which was well under slot value, however, only the top three slots this year were valued at $5 million or more, which means unless the slots are significantly bumped next year, Aiken will need to be a top 3 pick again to top the $5 million offer, and at this time the Astros will hold at least one of those picks, quite possibly two.

The Astros screwed both players, but Close is not totally without blame and it's very unlikely Aiken tops the Astros offer unless he somehow gets awarded free agent status. I doubt that would happen, but this does sound like a situation where the commisioner's office, the MLBPA and perhaps even an arbitrator come up with a solution/penalty that is not currently spelled out in the CBA.

I agree that Close is not completely without blame in the situation, but it's important to note the timeline of events in this case. The Astros didn't offer the $5M in a formal offer until hours before the signing deadline. The only formal offer they had made previously was the 40% of the slot value to ensure they got a draft pick.

At the same time they restarted negotiations with a 21st round HS pick, Mac Marshall. So, if your Aiken and Close, and you hear that the Astros want to sign Marshall for $1.5M, and they make an informal offer that reduces your bonus by the same amount, and they tell you that it is due to a medical concern that may or may not be an actual issue, wouldn't you be a little angry about the situation too?

As for the original question, I believe that both picks are protected this year. The only way that the Astros could lose those picks is if the league decides that the Astros broke the rules, or that they had made an official offer to Nix. If they decide a formal offer is made and Nix signs it, the Astros would be over the cap, I thought that I read both first round picks would forfeited, but I could have misread that,

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