Every year, we see a few players in each draft class that insist to all 30 MLB teams that they have no interest in signing with a professional baseball team. They're young kids with college scholarships, and they don't want to forgo that experience in order to begin the daily grind of riding buses, staying in cheap hotels and living the generally unglamorous life of a minor league baseball player. The MLB teams go with the standard response, "You sure? We do have [more money than most people can ever dream of making] on the table at the moment? It's really going to suck if you get hurt next year at a frat party."
But every year, we're reminded of the magical power of the dollar sign. College might be cool, but do you know what's probably even cooler? Seeing seven figures in your bank account when you're 19. And alas, that's why we seen dozens of supposedly "unsignable" players happily ink on the dotted line each year- turning down a one-time offer for that much money is really, really hard.
Here's a list of some of the most shocking signings of the night:
- The Pirates sign Texas prep outfielder Josh Bell, a second-round pick (61st overall), to a $5 million signing bonus. Bell, considered the best prep hitter in the draft, had a commitment to play for the University of Texas, and told all 30 teams that he had no interest in playing professionally yet. That was obviously before negotiating with the Pirates, who offered him the largest bonus ever handed out to a player drafted outside of the first round. The Pirates also signed their ninth-round pick, Clay Holmes, for $1.2 million. The Holmes signing is the largest bonus ever given to a ninth-round pick.
- There were mixed opinions on whether New Mexico prep catcher Blake Swihart would sign with the Red Sox given his commitment to the University of Texas, but Boston offered him a cool $2.5 million and he passed on his scholarship to play in Austin. Some were also surprised to see the Red Sox sign South Carolina center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who struggled with some injuries this spring.
- The Blue Jays loaded up on guys that were expected to be tough to sign, and while they didn't land all of them, they did get a few. Prep pitchers Daniel Norris, Tyler Beede and Kevin Comer were all expected to be very difficult signs, and while the Jays couldn't get a deal done with Beede, they were able to reel in Norris and Comer. It wasn't cheap, though, as Norris took $2 million and Comer got $1.65 million.