O's scouting director Joe Jordan confirmed this afternoon that the Orioles have begun contract negotiations with top draft pick, shortstop Manny Machado.
"We've gotten that one opened up. It's a long way from being complete, but there is some dialogue going on which is good. Like I said before, I just don't have a real timeline on that one."
Jordan said dollar figures have been exchanged, but "we still have a lot of ground to cover."
Andy MacPhail told O's season ticket holders recently that he is confident they will sign the Miami prep shortstop and Jordan says he remains confident as well.
"Sure, sure, yeah. It's gone as expected so far," Jordan said.
Jordan admits to "frustration" that the Orioles have signed just one of the their top ten draft picks so far, fourth-round outfielder Trent Mummey of Auburn.
"We have a lot of work to do in our top ten. It's coming to the point now the last week of July that some of this will start coming together. That's my expectation.
"It's the nature of the beast now that there is a lot of holding out. We've tried to stay with our plan on these guys. Some of them we expected to wait and some of them we didn't expect to be waiting still. We're working on it every day and do expect some progress coming hopefully soon."
Jordan recently indicated there was a setback of sorts in talks with third-round pick, UCLA pitcher Dan Klein.
"We're a lot more involved in the negotiations with Dan than Manny Machado. It hasn't gone as I expected it to, but, everything is positive and we're just trying to get this thing done.
"I'd like to get him to Aberdeen soon. I'd like him to pitch some this summer. If things go like I expect, we could actually get him into some playoff stuff in September and let him be part of something hopefully pretty special.
"I'm hopeful that we are going to come together soon on that one. I expected that some time ago, but we've kind of regrouped and we are talking. Hopefully an answer is coming soon."
Jordan admitted today that a top ten pick or picks may not be signed. I asked if he is concerned to have just the one top ten pick wrapped up right now.
"I don't know that concern is the right word, frustration is probably a better word. It's the latest thing happening these days. I'm not any more concerned with some of these guys, it's just going through the process.
"I expect to sign all of them. But as this thing rolls along, there could be a casualty, you know in the top ten. That's not unprecedented with my drafts. Some times we have taken a position and decided to walk away from the player.
"Sure that can happen, I don't want it to and it's too early to say it's going to happen with any of them. I expect to sign them all, but time will tell.
"There were at least two or three guys that we we're hopeful to have done by now and have them out pitching, but we expected to wait on several of them. It's not totally unexpected."
Jordan said none of the picks signed by the O's so far would be considered an overslot signing, but many of those happen very late in the process and he still expects to sign some to overslot deals.
Will his draft spending, when this is all over, exceed last year's?
"It will be close. We have a good budget, we'll be in the ballpark."
The O's have agreed to terms with 29 of 49 picks. After Mummey, the highest pick signed to date is 12th-rounder Riley Hornback.