Orioles, Machado agree to terms

Florida high school shortstop to get second-largest signing bonus in team history

August 17, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

In a move that was expected to go down to the wire, the Orioles agreed to terms with their first-round pick, high school shortstop Manny Machado, with three minutes to go before baseball's signing deadline of midnight Monday.

According to a source, Machado, the third pick overall in June's amateur draft, will receive, pending a physical, a $5.25 million bonus, the second-largest in Orioles history. Catcher Matt Wieters, who, like Machado, is represented by agent Scott Boras, signed for $6 million as the fifth overall pick in 2007.

"We got a new player, yeah, we got a new player," Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan said. "It went like we thought. We had a really good read, I think, on the financial side of it, what it was going to take. And again they played it to the end, and we are very happy."

Machado, who hit .639 with 12 homers and 68 RBIs in 29 games for the Brito School in Miami, is the Orioles' highest draft pick since they took LSU's Ben McDonald first overall in 1989.

He likely will report to the organization's minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla., after coming to Baltimore for his physical.

By agreeing with Machado, the Orioles signed 39 of 49 draft picks, including eight of their nine picks in the first 10 rounds (the Orioles didn't have a second-round choice). The only one they didn't sign was sixth-round selection Dixon Anderson, a right-hander who will return to the University of California.

Earlier on Monday, the Orioles agreed to a $195,000 signing bonus with seventh-round pick Matthew Bywater, a left-handed pitcher who was 6-5 with a 2.40 ERA at Pepperdine this past year. Bywater was considered a difficult player to sign when he was drafted.

The Orioles also knew it wouldn't be easy to agree to a deal with the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Machado. Compared to New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, also once a top high school shortstop out of Miami, Machado, 18, immediately becomes the Orioles' top middle-infield prospect, joining last year's second-round pick, 20-year-old Mychal Givens, at an organizational weak spot. There is a question, however, as to whether Machado will remain at shortstop or switch to third base as his body matures.

Machado, who has played baseball since he was 6, said he has always been a shortstop. And that is where the Orioles see his future. If he hadn't signed by the midnight deadline, Machado likely would have gone to Florida International on a baseball scholarship.

"I think [Machado has] all the ingredients that you look for in a shortstop, and in a shortstop that's hopefully going to impact a game offensively," Jordan said the day Machado was drafted. "And we feel like he is going to be able to contribute to a game every night in some way. That's really what it boils down to."

The Orioles' top pick last year, high school pitcher Matt Hobgood, received $2.42 million as the fifth selection overall.

Last year's No. 3 overall pick, San Diego Padres outfielder Donavan Tate, received a $6.25 million bonus, much higher than the slot of $2.93 million. But Tate, who could have played football at North Carolina, had his bonus spread over several years because it was considered a "two-sport contract."

In 2008, the Kansas City Royals paid third overall selection Eric Hosmer $6 million. The Chicago Cubs' Josh Vitters received $3.2 million in 2007.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

http://twitter.com/danconnollysun

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