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A special ten pack with the 10 most interesting negotiations as we head to the wire.

Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates (First overall pick)
The first pick always has extra fascination to it, but this year it's for different reasons. The last two top picks, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, were historic talents, yet Cole has the same advisor—Scott Boras—and historically, we've rarely seen Boras engage his reverse gear. He could (and likely will) easily argue that Harper and Strasburg are not historic as much as they've simply established a new market for first overall picks, and the Pirates cannot afford the PR hit of an unsigned number one. Expect a huge deal.

Danny Hutlzen, LHP, Mariners (Second overall)
There is plenty of drama at two as well; Hultzen is looking for big cash, and while teams and players play a game of chicken on deadline day, so do players and players. Will Boras make a deal before seeing what he gets for Cole to make sure his other clients get the top bonuses? In the 2008 draft, Buster Posey eventually signed for more than Boras clients Eric Hosmer and Pedro Alvarez received. Don't think that doesn't matter; pride runs high with agents.

Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles (Fourth overall)
Bundy, the top high school player taken, threw out some borderline insane pre-draft numbers, with one rumored asking price as high as $30 million. If the industry believed that, he would not have been the fourth pick, but a record deal for a high school arm will likely be in order. Don't be surprised if Bundy also becomes the rare high school arm who earns a big-league deal.

Bubba Starling, OF, Royals (Fifth overall)
All spring, the story with Starling, the first position player taken in the draft, was his football ability and his chance to be the next quarterback at Nebraska. The industry interpreted that as signable yet expensive. Despite all sorts of rumors over the past two weeks, Starling is still expected to sign, but the number could end up higher than the initially anticipated $6-8 million. Look for something closer to $10 million, without quite getting to eight figures.

Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals (Sixth overall)
This is one of the uglier negotiations among unsigned single-digit picks because you have the Boras factor and a player who expected to be taken with one of the first two picks. Even at sixth overall, Rendon was the first college hitter to come off the board, and he expects to be paid like that. Rendon’s final bonus figure may play a strong role in Washington's other unsigned picks, which I'll get to in a moment.

Tyler Beede RHP, Blue Jays (21st overall)
Beede sent a pre-draft letter to teams telling them not to select him, yet Toronto did it anyway. I reported rumors of a pre-arranged deal and incurred the wrath of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos. Last week, Beede insisted that he was going to honor his commitment to Vanderbilt, but the industry still doesn't buy it. I conducted an informal poll this morning among front-office people, and more than half of them believed we would end the day with all 33 first-round picks coming to terms. Of those that felt one player (nobody took more) would not sign, Beede's name did not come up once. I'll be happy to eat crow if I'm wrong (that's a lie; I'll do it but be upset with myself), but until midnight hour and there's no one else around, I still think he signs, and I still think it's for around $3 million.

Tyler Guerreri, RHP, Rays (24th overall)
The player the front-office types predicted not to sign the most often? This guy. Some thought Guerreri was the top high school arm in the draft after Bundy on a stuff level, so now the Rays have a pick in the 20s who thought he could go as high as ninth to the Cubs, and expects to be paid as such. With the Rays’ unique situation this year, that money just might not be coming. “The Rays had so many picks this year,” explained one National League executive this morning, “that spreading out the money and getting one extra pick next year might not be the worst idea if his price ends up being too high.”

Josh Bell, OF, Pirates (61st overall)
Like Beede, Bell sent a letter to teams saying he had every intention of attending college (the University of Texas) in the fall, only it looks like he really meant it. Bell certainly has a price tag, but while he was seen as a top-15 talent, it will take an elite bonus to sign him, and in the end, the dollar sign and the muscle just won't add up. This was still a good pick for the Pirates, not only to reserve the right to make a run, but to have those rights around as an insurance policy if the Cole talks go south and the team needs to throw its money at someone at the end of the day.

Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays (74th overall)
While many Toronto fans seem focused on Beede, Norris is both less likely to sign and the better prospect; more than one team had him as the top high school left-hander on the board. Norris’ price tag is somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million, and those numbers seemingly have not budged with less than 12 hours to go before the deadline. Toronto will sign one of their top picks, but many believe they won't sign both.

Matt Purke, LHP, Nationals (96th overall)
Purke entered the year as a potential first overall pick, but injuries, ineffectiveness, and no perceived drop in his price tag sent him to the third round. With so many contingencies, Purke is the hardest unsigned player to predict. How much money will the Nationals have left for him after signing Rendon and their other first-round selection, Alex Meyer (also a Boras client)? How much does Purke, a draft-eligible sophomore, really believe he can go back to school and pitch his way back to top-pick candidacy in 2012. If so, how much money convinces him it's not worth the risk? The Nationals have proven to be aggressive with their money in the draft even beyond Strasburg and Harper, but there is no real feel in the industry as to which direction this negotiation goes.  

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mhmosher
8/15
Somewhat off-topic, but at what point do the Rays become unsustainable in Tampa? They can't sell tickets to save their lives and they're locked into a lease deal with a turf-covered toilet for a stadium. Do they continue to exist purely on revenue-sharing?
drewsylvania
8/15
Hey, it works for the Marlins...and annoys everyone else.
morenobasspro
8/15
If it's actually player vs. player, and Boras represents many of the top talents, isn't he in a conflict of interest?
kgoldstein
8/15
He doesn't rep Hultzen. That's the key to that one.
mrdannyg
8/15
If the Jays sign Norris and Beede, you also have to factor in the extra expense of several giant status of AA that will need to be erected.
kgoldstein
8/15
Yeah, AA has had a great year, no doubt, but Toronto needs to calm down on the worship thing.
drewsylvania
8/15
I'm too busy telling Canadians on the opposite coast to chill about the Stanley Cup...
antonio
8/15
AA still has a lot to prove, but it's hard to deny that he's done a great job so far (Morrow, Escobar, Rasmus, Lawrie, extending Bautista for 5/$65M, re-signing EE for $2.5M, the Wells trade, the ROD (return on Doc), acquiring surplus draft picks, early draft returns, increased IFA bidding, revamping organizational philosophy generally towards more scouting + higher-ceiling acquisitions). To do all this as a rookie GM in his early 30s is pretty impressive.
kgoldstein
8/15
Yeah, just a thought, but can AA win something before we start engraving trophies and what not?
antonio
8/15
I think part of the subtext is just how despairing Jays fans had become during the Ash and Ricciardi years. In just a couple of years since, AA has made a series of bold, transformative (and yes, ingenious) moves that the two previous GMs seemed utterly incapable of pulling off. So there's a lot of pent-up happiness being released by the fans around the internet and on call-in shows. But yeah, the true test is still to come: taking an improved roster and farm system and producing a championship team.
cooper7d7
8/15
Not defending Ricciardi, but I wonder if ownership gave AA more flexibility given the previous disappointments - leeway that JP did not enjoy?
antonio
8/15
I think that's true.
rawagman
8/16
Don't forget that Ricciardi was given the flexibility to sign Wells, Rios, B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett. I think the biggest difference popular-perception wise is that Ricciardi was a serious public whiner and AA has proudly proclaimed many times that he can compete with the monsters under the bed.
tb3nn3tt
8/15
AA is the best GM to never finish higher than second to last in his own division. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.
tb3nn3tt
8/15
Jon Daniels forever, btw.
Scott44
8/16
KG - How would you like your crow served?
donwinningham
8/15
Whatever Kevin, the only thing separateing the Blue Jays from the Red Sox and Yankees are wins and losses at the major league level.
kgoldstein
8/15
Well played.
antonio
8/15
Plus $100M or so in annual player payroll. Silly little details. Really, it's all about team chemistry, not money.
edulus
8/15
any opinions on the likelihood of delmonico signing?
mhmosher
8/15
AA is a very good GM, but have you ever heard him talk? He sounds like he's in the middle of puberty.
drewsylvania
8/15
Better than Minaya, who actually *was* in puberty.
mhmosher
8/15
??? AA is definitely better than Minaya, but I'm not getting the reference there.
drewsylvania
8/15
I'm just thinking of his general foolishness and overreactions in the media (e.g. Adam Rubin).
mhmosher
8/16
Oh yeah...yes, absolutely.
SaberTJ
8/16
Kevin - any hangups with the Tribe signing Lindor?
Sacramento
8/16
Pirates certainly made a splash...
mhmosher
8/16
Great to see...good job Pirates.
sldeck
8/16
Was Beede just being straightforward the whole time? Was AA simply figuring that he'd take next year's pick? Any behind-the-curtain insight?