CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 10: Brett Wallace #29 of the Houston Astros is congratulated after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning of an interleague game against the Chicago White Sox on June 10, 2012 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Let's talk about some pretty draft/IFA-heavy things...
1) Jorge Soler signs with Cubs - Well, the last great prize of the lawless international free agency period has decided on a home, and it's not in Houston. Jorge Soler signed a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Chicago Cubs, who were prepared to beat any and all offers, apparently.
The contract is quite impressive, if not for the years as much as for the price tag. Apparently, multiple teams made $20 million offers, but none topped the Cubbies. Does that mean Houston got priced out of the competition? Could they have gone to the wall and made the Cubs blink? Doesn't sound like it.
It's a quite impressive number for a guy who will start out at Low A ball and likely won't see the majors for a while. The difference between both him, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman is simply how close he is to the majors. He'll need time to develop, while the other two quickly reached the majors and started showing value on that contract.
Which makes me almost glad Houston lost out on this one. That's a huge chunk of change to be laying on any one prospect, and, while it would have been nice to keep adding talent, I'll take this new front office in the new IFA period opening at the beginning of July. Quantity over quality and all that.
Are any of you disappointed by how the signing went down? Does it hurt as much with Houston not being in the Cubs division after this season?
2) Buxton about to sign - On the other hand, another guy is about to sign that has some tangential effect on Houston. In this case, it's the No. 2 pick in the draft, Byron Buxton about to sign with the Twins. Terms were not available as of late Monday night.
And, it's really there that this draft will get interesting. How much Buxton signs for could have a domino effect on the top picks. Or, it may not. The logic in the past has been whatever the top pick got, each subsequent pick got a little less based on that top signing.
Of course, with the new draft pools and each pick having a recommended bonus amount, that flies out the window. Will Buxton sign for a contract based on Correa's deal?
The other wrinkle will be how much Buxton signs for. We haven't heard if he was involved in those discussions with the top pick. Do you think he was offered a contract like Appel? Or, was it just Appel and Correa?
Basically, Valenti tried to see where Houston drafted players out of this season and compared that to where Baseball America ranked that region. Then, he looked at where each player ranked in that region.
It's an interesting approach, and sort of confirms my unscientific approach of assuming Houston will draft the Georgia/South Carolina/Florida area hard along with California and Illinois. It seems like those areas are where they have the most trusted scouts and have for some time.
But, maybe it's more about that being where talent is concentrated each season and thus, we can't draw too many conclusions based on that. They've also drafted Puerto Rico pretty heavily in the past few years, but maybe that's also coincidence?
I can't discount the talent density being a big factor here, but I do think that Bobby Heck has trust in his California scouts, his Florida/Puerto Rico guys (see: Chris Lee drafting, 2011) and his northern area guys. That's a big swath of the country, and obviously one of those guys who was pretty well trusted (Georgia scout Lincoln Martin), was let go back in September.
What I really like, though, is how a different look at the draft picks can drive a nice group of questions about this front office. Nicely done, Mr. Valenti.