Jul 5, 2010, 2:55 PM EDT
LSU junior Anthony Ranaudo entered this year as Baseball America‘s top-ranked college prospect, but the 6-foot-7 right-hander fell to the Red Sox with the 39th overall pick because of an elbow injury and major struggles once he returned.
Boston’s financial advantage allows them to take draft-day gambles on high-upside prospects like Ranaudo when other teams shy away based on the risk or above-slot bonus demands, and sure enough he’s asking for first-round money to sign.
In fact, LSU coach David Grewe told Amanda Comak of the Cape Cod Times that Ranaudo won’t sign unless he’s “treated and viewed as one of the top 10 picks in the draft … in terms of their financial commitment.” Grewe added that Ranaudo “wants to come back to LSU and prove that he can be that guy.”
It’s an interesting decision for Ranaudo, because the Red Sox would no doubt be willing to give him at least $1 million (and perhaps quite a bit more) to sign. For a 20-year-old pitcher coming off an injury wrecked season that sounds pretty good, but the flip side is that returning to LSU with a healthy, dominant performance next season would almost surely make him a top-five pick in line for a bonus closer to $5 million.
Do you take $1 million now and get a head start on your pro career while setting things up for a life after baseball if the elbow problems prove serious? Or do you pass up $1 million for a chance to make several times that at the risk of ending up with a blown out arm? It’s probably a moot point, because Ranaudo is represented by Scott Boras and he surely won’t be advising him to take the guaranteed cash now unless the Red Sox cave in with lots of “extra” money.
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