Strasburg, Nationals agree to $15M deal
August 18, 2009
NEW YORK – Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals agreed to a record contract just before Monday’s midnight deadline, a four-year deal that will pay the hard-throwing right-hander slightly more than $15.1 million.
The San Diego State pitcher was selected first by the last-place Nationals in June and set the mark for the most money guaranteed to a drafted player. That’s been held since 2001 by pitcher Mark Prior, who received a $10.5 million, five-year contract after he was selected with the second pick, behind Joe Mauer.
Strasburg was among 16 of 32 first-round picks without announced agreements heading into the final day. Only three first-round picks apparently failed to sign, and the deadline didn’t apply to one of them.
The Giants and A’s were among them. They also signed their top picks.
The Oakland Athletics signed Grant Green to a contract just before the deadline. Green was the 13th overall pick in June’s draft. He played shortstop for Southern California, hitting .374 with 19 doubles, five triples, four home runs and 32 RBIs last season.
The San Francisco Giants beat the deadline for signing draft picks by agreeing to a $3.3 million deal with right-hander Zack Wheeler. The Giants had a 9 p.m. PDT deadline to sign Wheeler, the sixth pick in June’s draft. Wheeler is a strong-armed right-hander out of East Paulding High in Georgia who went 9-0 with an 0.54 ERA in his senior season.
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Scott Boras represented six of the unsigned first-round picks, including Strasburg and the second, third, ninth, 13th and 30th selections.
In addition to Strasburg, he negotiated a $9.5 million five-year contract for Dustin Ackley, a North Carolina center fielder taken by No. 2 Seattle; a $3.25 million signing bonus for Donavan Tate, a center fielder from Cartersville High School in Georgia selected No. 3 by San Diego; a $5.5 million, six-year contract for Jacob Turner, a right-hander from Westminster Christian Academy in Missouri taken by No. 9 Detroit; and a $2.75 million signing bonus for Grant Green, a Southern Cal shortstop drafted No. 13 by Oakland.
Tate had planned to play football and baseball at North Carolina.
Tampa Bay failed to agree with another Boras client, LeVon Washington, a second baseman from Buchholz High School in Florida taken by Tampa Bay with the 30th pick.
“We are disappointed that LeVon has chosen not to sign with the Rays. We offered him a bonus consistent with late first-round picks,” Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. “Immediately following the draft, he seemed eager to sign but it has not materialized. We wish LeVon great success with his baseball career.”
Among other picks, Zack Wheeler, a right-hander from East Paulding High in Georgia selected sixth by San Francisco, agreed at $3.3 million. Cincinnati and Arizona State right-hander Mike Leake, the No. 8 pick, agreed at $2.27 million and Colorado gave $3.9 million to the No. 11 pick, Tyler Matzek, a left-hander from Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, Calif.
Cleveland agreed at $2.25 million with the 15th pick, North Carolina right-hander Alex White, and Florida settled at $1.7 million with Chad James, a left-hander from Yukon High School in Oklahoma selected with the 18th pick.
St. Louis agreed at $2,875,000 with Shelby Miller, a right-hander from Brownwood High School in Texas taken with the 19th pick. Minnesota agreed with the 22nd pick, Missouri right-hander Kyle Gibson, at $1.85 million. And the Yankees gave a $2.2 million deal to the 29th pick, Slade Heathcott, a center fielder from Texas High School in Texarkana.
Texas failed to sign Matt Purke, a left-hander from Klein High School in Texas.
Right-hander Aaron Crow, selected 12th by Kansas City, was not subject to the deadline because he exhausted his college eligibility. He was among just two first-round picks who failed to sign last year, when he was drafted ninth by the Nationals. Right-hander Gerrit Cole, taken by the Yankees with the 28th pick in 2008, decided to attend UCLA.