Negotiations between the Houston Astros and first round pick Brady Aiken appear to have hit a snag. According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the 17-year-old left-hander is dealing with an elbow ligament issue that has caused the Astros to seek a $1.5 million discount on his signing bonus.
Aiken originally agreed to a $6.5 million bonus two weeks ago after being selected first overall in last month's amateur draft. Houston is now offering him a $5 million bonus, which would still qualify as the second* highest bonus in the draft, behind Miami Marlins' selection and fellow prep hurler Tyler Kolek.
*North Carolina State left-hander and third overall pick Carlos Rodon has yet to sign with the Chicago White Sox, and could very well surpass both Aiken and Kolek in terms of bonus size.
The prized San Diego southpaw is considered by many to possess top-of-the-rotation upside. He was widely thought to be the top amateur player in the country entering the draft, with numerous scouting sites, such as Minor League Ball and Baseball America, placing him atop their draft boards. He carries a trio of pitches that project as plus or better in his fastball, curveball, and change up, and has a significantly better feel for command than most pitchers his age.
The Astros have until the July 18th signing deadline to procure Aiken. If they do manage to sign him for the reported $5 million offer, they would save roughly $2.9 million on the bonus slot for the number one overall pick, which could give them enough room to entice highly regarded Georgia prep southpaw Mac Marshall (who fell to the 21st round after originally being pegged as a first/second rounder) to spurn a strong commitment to Louisiana State University.
If the two sides fail to reach an agreement in time, the Astros would receive the second overall pick in next year's draft as compensation.