First-round draft picks all beat new deadline, 2401990 Print
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007 19:12
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 NEW YORK (AP) -Top pick David Price agreed Wednesday to an $11.25 million, six-year contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and all the other first-rounders also beat baseball's new deadline for draft choices to sign.
Price, a hard-throwing left-hander from Vanderbilt, is guaranteed $8.5 million under the deal, which includes a $5.6 million signing bonus.
Agreements were announced Wednesday for 11 of the 30 first-round picks. Agent Scott Boras went right up to the final hours before the midnight EDT deadline with the second, fifth and 30th selections in June's draft.
ll have elbow ligament replacement surgery in the next few weeks.
Josh Vitters, a third baseman from Cypress High School in California who was taken by the Chicago Cubs with the third pick, agreed to a minor league contract with a signing bonus of about $3.2 million.
Before Wednesday, the highest draft pick to agree to a deal had been Clemson left-hander Daniel Moskos, who was selected fourth by Pittsburgh and got a $2,475,000 signing bonus.
Price received the third-highest guarantee for a draft pick behind the Cubs' Mark Prior ($10.5 million) and Texas' Mark Teixeira ($9.5 million) in 2001 and the third-largest signing bonus behind Arizona's Justin Upton ($6.1 million) in 2005 and Wieters, according to research by Baseball America.
Price, winner of the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top amateur player, was on the eighth hole of a golf course when he received a phone call from his representative, Bo McKinnis, that a deal had been struck. Price was confident an agreement would be reached.
``I didn't really care if somebody else in the draft made more money. You're going to make your money in the big leagues,'' Price said. ``It's definitely a good feeling. Now I can do what I've been doing for the last 15 years, play baseball.''
The Devil Rays plan to send the 21-year-old to Class-A Hudson Valley, where he will work out and get acclimated to pro ball - but likely not pitch this season.
``We're going to be overcautious. We don't have all the information we want,'' about what shape Price's arm is in after not pitching in a game for the past two months, Devil Rays vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.
Price gets a $5.6 million signing bonus, payable in six equal installments each Aug. 31 beginning this year. He gets a $500,000 salary this year and major league salaries of $650,000 next year, $750,000 in 2009, $1 million in 2010, $1.25 million in 2011 and $1.5 million in 2012. If he's in the minors, he receives $100,000 next season, $150,000 in 2009, $200,000 in 2010, $650,000 in 2011 and $1.3 million in 2012.
In any year he is eligible for salary arbitration, Price can void his salary and file for arbitration.
Under a new baseball rule this year, teams had until Wednesday to reach agreements with their 2007 draft picks. Teams that fail to sign first- and second-round picks get a selection in the 2008 draft right after the same number pick.
``I thought from the beginning that the negotiation would go into August,'' McKinnis said. ``I did not think it was a requirement that we go to the 15th, but it worked out that way.''
After Wednesday, players are not eligible to sign, and many unsigned players could go back into next year's draft pool. The commissioner's office slotting recommendations to teams cut the figures for each position by about 10 percent.
Also agreeing on the final day were right-hander Jarrod Parker (No. 9) and Arizona at $2.1 million, left-hander Madison Bumgarner (No. 10) and San Francisco at about $2 million, right-hander Phillippe Aumont (No. 11) and Seattle at $1.9 million, third baseman Matt Dominguez (No. 12) and Florida at $1.8 million, and outfielder Wendell Fairley (No. 29) and San Francisco at about $1 million.
Detroit announced a four-year contract with right-hander Rick Porcello, another Boras client. The No. 27 pick was guaranteed $7,285,000 under the deal, agreed to earlier this week.
Washington and sixth-round draft pick Jack McGeary, a high school left-hander, agreed to a $1.8 million signing bonus.
AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.

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