Do you know what happens when a front office who has never won anything gets a reputation as being arrogant?
Do you know what happens when any front office gets that reputation?
People enjoy seeing them fail. Doesn't matter what they fail at. It could be their manager not knowing the rules. It could be getting their private communication system breached.
Or, it could happen when a team fails to sign the No. 1 overall pick for the third time in baseball history.
On Friday, the MLB deadline for draft picks to sign with teams came and went without Houston reaching a deal with either No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken or fifth-round pick Jacob Nix. Word was that the Astros attempted to negotiate with Aiken's agent, Casey Close, throughout the day Friday, but were rebuffed.
Reportedly, the offer reached as high as $5 million, but Houston couldn't get the Aiken camp to engage.
For his part, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says his team did nothing wrong:
Luhnow: "We did nothing unethical, we did nothing disingenuous. We tried to sign good players at the appropriate values"— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) July 18, 2014
But, facts are facts. Houston failed to sign the top overall player in the 2014 draft. Brady Aiken was the consensus best talent in the draft, even before his smaller-than-normal UCL was reportedly discovered in medical exams last month.
In not signing Aiken, Houston also missed out on talented prep pitcher Jacob Nix, who had reportedly reached an agreement with the team for $1.5 milllion and passed his physical. But, signing Nix would have forced the Astros to exceed their bonus pool by 17 percent and meant they'd give up a first and a second round pick next season.
Where do the Astros go from here?
By offering Aiken $3.1 million previously, the Astros gain the right to the No. 2 pick in next year's draft for failing to sign Aiken. What's unclear at this point is whether the union will file a grievance on behalf of Jacob Nix. There is a small chance the Astros could be forced to sign him, but a more likely scenario will be that an independent arbitrator rules that Nix can become a free agent and sign with any team.
Also watch for talk about Aiken's eligibility. If his camp wants to see an unfeeling, heartless, cold and calculating organization, try dealing with the NCAA. The fact that the Astros contacted Close numerous times Friday (which became public knowledge) very likely means the NCAA will shut down Aiken's eligibility even if the Astros don't file the paperwork like the Phillies did with Ben Wexler.
Which means Aiken could go to junior college and become a top pick in next year's draft.
Just don't bet on the Astros taking him again. For that to happen, Aiken would have to sign a waiver saying he accepts being drafted again by the Astros. With the way things played out Friday, it sounds like Aiken made the business personal, dug in his heels and refused to negotiate at all with the Astros.
Bottom line: Astros fans lose. The team has been mocked mercilessly on Twitter by everyone involved. There could be union action against them and the front office's job security just got much more unstable.