The Houston Astros failed to sign first overall pick Brady Aiken before today's signing deadline, according to a report from Jim Callis of MLB.com. The team also did not sign fifth-rounder Jacob Nix or 21st-rounder Mac Marshall, according to multiple reports.
Callis notes that the Astros will receive the second overall pick in next year's draft, meaning that they offered Aiken a bonus that was equal to 40 percent of his slot value and he rejected it. The Collective Bargaining Agreement says that a team can offer a draft pick 40 percent of their slot value if they fail their physical exam, as Aiken did when the Astros reportedly found issues with his elbow.
Brady Aiken Case
Brady Aiken Case
Aiken reportedly agreed to a $6.5 million bonus with the Astros right after the draft, which would have saved them more than $1.4 million against the slot value system. The team then agreed to a deal with Nix for a $1.5 million bonus, but could not sign him once the Aiken deal fell through because they lost the full $7.9221 million slot value of the first overall pick. Rumors began swirling that the team was thinking about making a push for Marshall, a high-ceiling 21st-rounder with signability issues once he fell out of the first round, but they ended up missing out on all three pitchers.
Astros' general manager Jeff Luhnow spoke to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle on Friday, explaining that the team's efforts to contact Aiken's advisor, Casey Close, were not successful.
"We tried to engage Casey Close three times today … there was no interest" — GM Jeff Luhnow tells the Chronicle— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) July 18, 2014
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow on not signing Brady Aiken.: "We never received a counter. We made three separate offers today." (more)— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 18, 2014
#astros made 3 offers friday, the 2nd w/30 mins to go, the 3rd, at $5M, w/5 mins. aiken side: no counters. he just said no— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 18, 2014
Drellich adds that the Astros' final offer to Aiken was for $5 million, which seems to be a considerable amount with the health issues taken into account. In any case, Houston's draft this year will go down as a major failure now that three of their most high-ceiling draft picks will likely be heading to college in the fall instead of joining the organization.