The Tigers appear to be saving up enough cash to sign their first-round draft pick, star right-hander Alex Faedo.
At least four of the Tigers’ top-10-round draft picks have signed below-slot contracts, including second-round pick Reynaldo Rivera.
Rivera, a slugging first baseman/outfielder from Chipola College in Florida, signed for less than $1 million, when the recommended slot value for the 57th overall pick is $1,148,400. Still, Rivera got significantly more than the $500,000 he was seeking during the 2016 MLB Draft. He was drafted in the later rounds by the Chicago Cubs, didn’t get the money and returned to school.
Right-hander Gio Arriera, the Tigers' fourth-round pick out of Palm Beach State College in Florida, signed Monday afternoon after his physical, for slightly less than slot value of $420,700.
Also, the Tigers’ eighth-round pick, Pepperdine left-hander Max Green, and the ninth-round pick, Kent State outfielder Luke Burch, signed for below-slot value of $154,900 and $140,300, respectively. Green had off-the-field issues at Pepperdine, costing him some leverage. And being a college senior, Burch had little negotiating power.
Each MLB team is given an assigned draft bonus pool, and the Tigers have been allotted $6,520,100. Money saved on one contract can be used to pay another pick, and Faedo, a Florida junior who’s starring in the College World Series, has negotiating power and could command more than the $3,214,600 recommended for the No. 18 overall pick.
The Tigers have signed at least seven of their top 10 picks, including third-rounder Joey Morgan, a Washington catcher, for full slot of $564,000; seventh-rounder Brad Bass, a Notre Dame right-hander, for full slot of $189,100; 10th-rounder Garrett McCain, an Oklahoma State outfielder Garrett McCain, for full slot of $132,600.
The Tigers wasted no time in starting negotiations with their top picks, assistant general manager David Chadd said last week. Time is key, as many of the top players will be sent off to short-season Single-A Connecticut, which was to start play Monday night.
Contract talks with Faedo won’t start until after the College World Series. He tossed an absolute gem in beating TCU, 3-0, on Sunday, allowing two hits and striking out 11 in seven innings.
Next up for the signed picks are team assignments. Most are relaxing and binge-watching Netflix in Lakeland for the next few days, before either staying there for rookie ball or heading to Single-A Connecticut or West Michigan.