Reds Cut It Close, Sign First Rounder Stephenson Just Before Deadline

The Reds finally got 2011 first round pick RHP Robert Stephenson signed, but not with much time left to spare. With just a few minutes dwindling before the 12:01 AM ET deadline last night the news finally broke that Stephenson would spurn college life at the University of Washington and sign with the Reds.

The signing bonus for Stephenson totaled a cool $2 million and according to Stephenson “it [the contract talks] was at the last minute by the phone waiting for a call.”

Stephenson was one of 23 first round picks that came into Monday without a contract in one of the wildest signing deadlines for a MLB draft ever. Many of those 23 were still unsigned as of 11:45 PM last night. But once the dust settled only one first rounder (Blue Jays’ pick Tyler Beede) didn’t sign.

In other Reds draft pick news, the good guys also agreed to terms with their 22nd round pick Amir Garrett. The 19 year-old LHP signed for a $1 million bonus. Garrett, also a highly touted hoops prospect, agreed to a dual sport contract which will allow him to honor his commitment to play basketball for St. John’s University.

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  • JohnHeitz

    Great deal for all of these last minute contract recipients. Especially considering around 5 or 10 of them will never set foot on a major league field. Lets hope Stevenson and his 95 mph fastball lives up to his end of the bargain.

  • Redlegs_news

    @JohnHeitz Thanks for link,nice blog entry!

  • hamiltonjustin87

    @JohnHeitz Yea, even though the league tried to limit the amount that some of these draft picks get to sign it didn’t seem to work. If anything, a lot of the contracts seemed a bit overboard from a normal year. It the lay of the land unfortunately. It’s a big risk paying these young players so much when its a crap shoot. Especially high schoolers. Lets hope this gamble with Stephenson might pay some dividends.

  • JohnHeitz

    @hamiltonjustin87 The Reds have a slight exposure. I think in future years without a rework of the draft in the next labor agreement things will become very ugly again. The Pirates and Nationals both spent a record 17 million dollars this year. The Nationals add these prospects to Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper giving them quite an interesting future. The Pirates are similar to the Reds in make up with a massive group of young talent already on the roster but very green. Unfortunately for them, this willingness to work with Scott Boras is mortgaging their future to sign his picks. This year the Pirates set ML records for bonuses played in rounds 1, 2, and 9. Over 14 million just for these three players and each mistake becomes really expensive.