Over the past couple weeks, negotiations between the Houston Astros and first overall pick in June's draft Brady Aiken have been strained, as a possible injury led the Astros to decrease their offer to the prized prep left-hander. Today, fears that the Astros would wind up empty-handed came to fruition, as Aiken failed to sign before Friday's 5 PM deadline (per MLB.com's Jim Callis). Along with Aiken, Houston also failed to reach agreements with fifth rounder Jacob Nix and 21st rounder Mac Marshall.
Aiken originally agreed to a $6.5 million bonus just days following the draft, but that offer was eventually rescinded and lowered to $5 million in early July after Houston reportedly found something off in an MRI. Despite continued refuting from Aiken's camp (namely advisor Casey Close) about the injury, the Astros continued to insist on an elbow ligament issue, and ultimately lowered their offer to just over $3.1 million, or just enough to receive the second overall pick in next year's draft.
According to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, Houston's final offer did come in at around $5 million, which Aiken rejected. Astros' GM Jeff Luhnow told Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle that the club "tried to engage [advisor] Casey Close three times today" but "there was no interest." The Astros will receive the second overall pick in next year's draft.
Nix, who is also represented by Close, may be the biggest loser here, as he and the Astros had previously agreed on a $1.5 million bonus which was rescinded once negotiations with Aiken took a hit. As a fifth rounder, Nix's bonus would have been significantly higher than the slot amount for the 136th overall pick, meaning the excess money would have to be accounted for by the savings in pool money off Aiken's bonus.
Marshall, thought to be a top three round talent who fell due to a strong commitment to LSU, was never really considered likely to sign with the Astros, as it would have taken a significant amount of money to convince him to spurn his commitment, though some thought Houston may pursue him if Aiken accepted a smaller bonus.
Aiken becomes just the third number one overall pick not to sign, and will likely head to UCLA, along with Nix, though there is still an outside shot they file a grievance in an attempt to become free agents. However, odds of that happening are slim.