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Blue Jays unlikely to sign 10th overall pick Phil Bickford

Jul 11, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT

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When the Blue Jays drafted California high school right-hander Phil Bickford with the 10th overall pick last month Baseball America noted that he “could be a tough sign away from Cal State Fullerton.”

And now with the signing deadline 24 hours away Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports after speaking to general manager Alex Anthopoulos that the team “does not expect to sign” Bickford. Toronto radio announcer Mike Wilner adds that it’s “not about money,” suggesting that Bickford simply chose college over starting his professional career.

The recommended slot bonus for the No. 10 pick is $2.9 million, so assuming the Blue Jays were offering Bickford anything close to that he’s making a very bold choice to turn it down. And the Blue Jays will get the No. 11 pick in next year’s draft as compensation if he doesn’t sign.

  1. largebill - Jul 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Does the current system encourage teams to draft more difficult to sign players in years where draft class is considered weak? I realize MLB draft is far from a clear cut process, but have seen several reports that next years draft is supposed to be much stronger.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 11, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      No, because if you don’t sign the pick you lose that bonus money. It’s why Appel still had leverage with the Astros even though he was a college senior.

      Let’s say you are the Jays, and you expected Bickford to sign for slot or below, so you spent more on other riskier picks in the 11+ rounds. Now if Bickford doesn’t sign, you lose his 2.7M and suddenly you are over your draft budget, possibly losing a pick next year.

      • paperlions - Jul 11, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        This. Every FO person that has been asked this type of question says that they never draft anyone with a top pick with not signing the player in mind. They always draft guys they intend and hope to sign and view compensation picks as little reward for not signing the guy they wanted.

  2. mathieug79 - Jul 11, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    AA said this was one of the weakest draft he’s seen in a while…maybe he rather have pick #11 next year?

    • okobojicat - Jul 11, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      I would be he would much rather have the #10 pick this year than the #11 next year. I’m sure they offered as much as they could. Some players do want to go to college and feel they’ll get at least that much money in 3 years. Its not AA’s fault.

      • mathieug79 - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        …Not Bickford, most scouts said he was a reach, No way he gets drafted in top 10 in 3 years, without another 2 plus pitches! Maybe this is to sign Rowdy Tellez, Jacob Brentz and Sam Tewes who have all dropped significally due to commitment to college or scholarship. Tellez and Brentz both said they would sign for the right $. So if we can get 2 of the 3, and the 11th pick next season! Its a win-win for the Bluejays

  3. agelardi - Jul 11, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Way to waste a top 10 pick.

    • dondada10 - Jul 11, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      It’s a matter of perspective. They get a pick next year.

  4. senioreditor2 - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    heck they could have signed a restricted free agent (Lohse or Soriano) and given up the pick if they were going to draft an unreachable guy? Who’s to say that #11 will work out any better next year?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      Top 10 picks are protected, so they wouldn’t have given it up even if they signed a QO player.

      • senioreditor2 - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:45 PM

        You are correct. My mistake.

  5. billybawl - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    I have no idea if CSU Fullerton has a reputation for overworking its pitchers, but I’m surprised that a HS pitcher selected in the first round would choose college over pro baseball. Even ignoring the money he’s leaving on the table, I’d worry about the stories of top college pitchers being overworked. I hope it works out for him.

  6. kingjoe1 - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    2.75 million dollars invested and receiving a 5% rate of return would allow the kid to have a lifetime income of 137K per year% tax burden, he could receive a salarly of 82500 per year for life, without ever touching the principle. Guess he needs college not to be such a dumbass

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      Does that include the agent’s cut, federal, state and local taxes? Any other CA gov’t taxes? Buying/renting a house in CA? Also, if you think the kid is dumb, isn’t presupposing a 5% RoR a bit of a reach?

  7. sbmcintosh36 - Jul 11, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    @kingjoe1:
    You’re thinking like someone that plans for their future unlike most athletes they continue to spend knowing the checks will end shortly. .. fiscal responsibility+ athlete=hilarious!!!

  8. dirtyharry1971 - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    The jays making more bad personal decisions? That’s news? Come on now!

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