Zachary Levine fills us in on some last minute signing deadline tid-bits. As of now, 36 of 51 draft choices have signed on the dotted line. Whether it's because Bobby Heck selected players with signability in mind, or the Astros actually made a conscious effort to sign their draftees quickly, this draft class will be known if nothing else for becoming pros rather quickly. My feeling is that it is a combination of both factors- I'm sure Bobby Heck weighed the willingness of each player to sign to their "slotted" amount. Jiovanni Mier inked a deal that was above slot and at one point was the most above slot of any first round draftee.
The Astros have (rightfully in some cases) been the butt of jokes associated with minor league performances, but this is hopefully a step in the right direction. As one observer noted last week:
Only 2 of the 13 first-rounders that have signed, were above slot. Jiovanni Mier signed for just barely above slot. I criticized the Astros heavily for this pick, given the track record of high school short-stops, but Mier is looking solid so far in rookie league, showing a .306/.422/.477 line. It is still early, but I may have to eat my words on Mier.
The $26,000 that Drayton spent over slot may be the best $ he spends all season. Or maybe if he purchases a guide to reliever management for Coop, that will be the best. Hell- Larry Dierker was one of the best managers in baseball and his ability to not totally screw up the bullpen was chief among his strong suits.
Here is a complete list of those Astros' draftees who have and have not been signed from the 2009 Draft.
The headliner for the signing deadline is the plight of the Washington Nationals, vis a vis their first round selection Stephen Strasburg. Will he, or won't he sign before the Monday 11:59 PM deadline. This linked article does a great job describing how it may be the length, and not the dollar amounts that are getting in the way of a deal.
On the opposite end of the player development spectrum, take a look at a list of expected free agents for the upcoming off season. Any names that jump off the page? Overall it's a very weak class, in my opinion, especially on the infield. This may be a moot point, however, since Drayton doesn't figure to open the check book all that wide for any free agent(s). The one saving grace may be that teams in rough financial shape (as in rougher than the Astros), may pass on these players as well, giving the Astros a bounty of under priced, desperate guys in January/February from which to sign.
I'm sure that everyone has heard about Bronson Arroyo at this point, and his dabbling in all sorts of quasi legal performance enhanchers:
He ignores the dangers that come with popping pills and swallowing drinks bought over the counter — even as studies show they can contain banned substances that, if they turn up in a drug test, could lead to a suspension that would cost him millions of dollars.
It may be refreshing to hear a player be truthful about themselves and their career, but the way that Arroyo went about it is pretty tough for me to stomach. He comes off just as arrogant as someone like Manny Ramirez, who compared himself and David Ortiz to "mountains" in the face of criticism associated with their past use of performance enhancing drugs.
Finally, to quote the immortal Jim Deshaies: Proof that our civilization is slipping, Terrell Owens has his own TV show. Having seen more of this show than I'd like to admit, I am in complete agreement with JD.