Now that the third player taken in the June First-Year Player Draft, UCLA right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer, has agreed to a contract with Arizona, some are wondering if his deal will serve as a guideline for the Orioles in their contract negotiations with top pick Dylan Bundy, who was taken fourth overall, one spot after Bauer.
Bauer got a four-year, major league contract from the Diamondbacks that could be potentially worth more than $7 million, according to Baseball America. He is guaranteed $4.45 million according to BA.
But Baseball America’s Jim Callis told me he doesn’t believe the Bauer deal can serve as a framework for what the Orioles do with Bundy.
“I don’t think it impacts that at all,” Callis said. “Bauer is a college pitcher but a high school guy (like Bundy) has got more leverage. I think the reason that deal came about, three weeks before the deadline, is Trevor Bauer may be the most competitive guy, or at least the most competitive college guy, in the draft. He wanted to go out and get going and maybe even have a chance to pitch in the big leagues in September. That wouldn’t happen if he waited two more weeks to sign.
“The system is so dumb, the longer you wait, basically the more you get paid. I don’t have a doubt that if Bauer wanted to wait a few more weeks, he probably could have gotten more money out of the Diamondbacks.
“I don’t think it’s a great comp (comparing Bauer and Bundy), even though they were picked back to back. One is a college guy and one high school and one sacrificed money to get out there pitching earlier.”
So Callis doesn’t expect the Orioles can use the Bauer deal much at all in the negotiations with Bundy.
“I am sure the Orioles would love to tell Dylan Bundy’s representation, ‘Hey, Bauer got $4.45 (million) guaranteed, so Dylan has to come in under that.’ But I don’t think the Orioles would try to make that argument and I think B.B.I. Sports Group (Bundy’s representatives) would laugh at them if they did,” Callis said.
“Bauer might have gotten $5.5 million if he waited longer, but he wanted to play. Kudos to him. If I’m Bundy’s representative, I say, ‘We didn’t negotiate that deal.’ MLB likes to act like these deals impact everybody else and they really don’t. As agents tell me, this isn’t arbitration like the comps there; it doesn’t work that way.”
Callis remains confident that the Orioles will be able to sign Bundy, the Oklahoma high school pitcher, but also feels that the negotiations will go down to the mid-August deadline.
“There is no reason for Dylan Bundy not to go to Aug. 15 at this point. I still think they sign him and it’s 99.99, however many nines you want to string on there, that he’ll sign,” Callis said. “They’ll offer him more money than he can possibly turn down. But I don’t think Bauer’s deal will impact him.”
So what is Callis’ projection on how much of a signing bonus it might take to get Bundy signed?
“I’m just guessing. You can be off by so much but my impression on that is the record guarantee for a high school pitcher is $7 million,” he said. “Josh Beckett got that in ‘99 and Rick Porcello got it in 2007. I think Bundy is in that class.
“Maybe he gets more than $7 million or a little less, but that is the rough neighborhood we are looking at. It could come in at $6 or $8 (million), but I’d be shocked if he didn’t get, maybe a million and a half more, at least, than what Trevor Bauer got.
“I’m not knocking Bauer’s deal. He wanted to go out and pitch and he got what he got. Joe Jordan may read this and think I’m crazy, but I do think he’s in that class of a $7 million pitcher.
“Now, not coincidentally, B.B.I. also represents Archie Bradley (taken seventh overall) with the Diamondbacks. He’s got some different leverage as a two-sport guy. But if I’m B.B.I., I don’t want to set the bar lower with Bundy and possibly lower what Bradley could get.”