O's, Wieters not close

Deadline near, top pick `long way away' from deal

August 14, 2007|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,SUN REPORTER

With less than two days left to broker a deal with first-round pick Matt Wieters, the Orioles are losing confidence that they can sign the Georgia Tech catcher by tomorrow's midnight deadline.

When asked to characterize talks, a team source said the sides are "a long way away" from agreeing to a contract.

According to a baseball source, Wieters, a 6-foot-5, 21-year-old junior whom the Orioles selected fifth overall in the June amateur draft, is seeking a contract similar to the one signed by Maryland native Mark Teixeira in 2001.

Teixeira, now with the Atlanta Braves, was the fifth pick out of Georgia Tech that year. He signed a major league deal with the Texas Rangers that included a $4.5 million signing bonus and ultimately was worth about $10.6 million.

Wieters is being advised by agent Scott Boras, who represents Teixeira.

The Orioles apparently do not want to pay perhaps four times more than what the commissioner's office has proposed the fifth overall pick should be worth: approximately $2.25 million.

However, Wieters would not be the first Boras client to receive more than slot money this year. One baseball source said high school pitcher Rick Porcello is nearing a major league deal with the Detroit Tigers that would pay him a $7 million signing bonus on a contract that could be worth, with future salary, between $10.5 million and $12 million.

Porcello was the 27th overall pick. He fell to Detroit because of perceived contract demands.

Neither the Orioles nor Boras would comment specifically on the Wieters negotiations, but Boras said: "The one thing that is clear is that the Wieters family is not seeking a new draft position. They are only seeking values that have been paid before in the draft."

If Wieters is not signed by midnight tomorrow, the Orioles would lose negotiating rights with him and he likely would return to college.

The Orioles then likely would get the sixth pick in the 2008 draft as compensation.


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