June 6, 2006
We All Have To Duck When The &%#! Hits The Fan
I had an interesting afternoon yesterday, getting away from the phone long enough to put on the suit and talk about today's draft with the fine folks on ESPNews' Hot List. During my 12 minute segment I spoke briefly about many of the top players in this year's class, and speculated as to where they might go when the draft gets underway at 1 ET.
By the time I got home and checked my voice mail, I wished ESPN had already burned the tapes.
Sometime during the late afternoon, things at the top went from shaky to highly unstable--and by midnight the explosion occurred. While Kansas City had not yet made up their mind, they were definitely taking what was being commonly referred to as Not Miller. During the evening, they were reportedly still negotiating with Scott Boras about trying to get a deal done with Luke Hochevar--who they won't select without a pre-arranged agreement--and the backup plan officially became University of Houston righthander Brad Lincoln, though there is an outside chance they could simply call Andrew Miller's money bluff and leave the negotiations headache to the new administration. Nothing like going out with a bang.
As for where Andrew Miller ends up if the Royals select someone else at the top, that's anybody's guess. Go ahead, guess. You might be as right as anybody in the industry at this point. According to sources, Miller and/or Miller's advisors are now trying to price the North Carolina lefthander out of the market at the top, trying to steer him to the Cubs at No. 13 or even the Yankees at No. 21. Some indicated that Miller is asking for a deal no longer similar to the one 2005 first-round pick Mike Pelfrey received from the Mets (over six million dollars), but for one similar to what Mark Prior got, which gets him into eight-figure territory. Assuming Kansas City passes on Miller, the Rockies should pass as well, favoring one of two players: Long Beach State infielder Evan Longoria or Stanford righthander Greg Reynolds, who the Rockies were negotiating with late into the night.
The Devil Rays also will stay away from Miller, and would love to see Longoria fall to them. The Pirates taking Miller? About as likely as a Juan Pierre home run title. Seattle at five? Not going to happen, as they're not going to spend above slot. Unless Detroit pulls a rabbit out of the hat and surprises us with another gutsy move out of their front office, the only teams interested in bidding for Miller's services before the Cubs might be Arizona at No. 11 and the Rangers at No. 12. Like the rumor that Hochevar might go number one, this one is so crazy, it just might work.
What About Seabiscuit?
Another player dropping, though without a master plan to do so, is Washington righthander Tim Lincecum. Teams are not necessarily afraid to select him but, as the old business joke goes, nobody was ever fired for choosing IBM. Lincecum's size (hence the nickname "Seabiscuit") and unorthodox mechanics have some teams leery of investing top-five money on him. He's still in the mix for a number of teams in the 5-10 range, though usually as the backup plan. He won't get past 15, and could give several teams picking in the early teens a tough decision or surprising option. Depending on the point of view.
Late Nite Chatter
Just a quick note: I will have an analysis of the first round up as soon as possible following the completion of the first 30 picks, and I will be chatting about day one of the draft tonight at 9 p.m. ET.
Then I will sleep.