The White Sox and Carlos Rodon
As of this writing, our Draft signing tracker has a total of 26 of the 34 first-round picks from the 2014 Draft as having signed or agreed to terms. We have bonus figures for seven of the top 10 picks.
The top pick still unsigned is Carlos Rodon. The NC State star went to the Chicago White Sox at No. 3. While it’s not surprising he didn’t sign immediately — it’s not uncommon for a player advised by Boras Corp to wait, especially one who was considered a potential No. 1 overall pick — it’s clear the White Sox aren’t thrilled with how things have developed. Or not developed.
Assistant general manager Buddy Bell was recently quoted as saying (On CSNChicago.com):
“I’m sort of old school on this, that it is what it is. You want to get started sooner than later. You are losing out. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this. But I just think the sooner you sign and with his ability and how I see him, this kid is going to be in the big leagues soon. It just seems to me if money is the issue, he’s going to make a helluva lot more getting it started than not. This kid is a tough, big, solid big leaguer. I just hope he gets in going sooner than later.”
Waiting until the July 18 deadline may not seem like the end of the world. He could still get out and pitch for a while — that’s the biggest benefit of the earlier deadline. But the delay in signing has likely cost the southpaw the potential for a big league callup this year. He hasn’t thrown since May 16, so to get him ready for big league action isn’t likely to happen at this point.
Don’t think the White Sox would do it? Remember what they did with Chris Sale. Rodon could have, if he had signed earlier, been shortened up in a bullpen role for the short-term (returning to starting in 2015). There’s little question his fastball-slider combination could get at least lefties out in shorter stints right now at the highest level.
Even if all the White Sox did is offer the slot value bonus of just over $5.7 million, it seems like there’s little wiggle room at this point. The White Sox have signed nine of their 10 picks from the first 10 rounds for a total of $3,402,600. They have saved $385,600 of their overall pool money. Pick value for the No. 3 overall selection was $5,721,500. That means the White Sox could offer Rodon $6,107,100 and not incur any penalty of any sort. They can go over that amount, up to five percent over their total pool of $9,509,700, and they would just have to pay a fine, but not forfeit a pick in the 2015 Draft. That brings the total potential bonus up to around $6.5 million.
In the end, Rodon will likely sign, but it might not be until close to the deadline.