A Louisiana newspaper is reporting that the Orioles' top pick, LSU right-hander Kevin Gausman, is "seriously considering" going back to school, but the club says it is still in negotiations with the fourth overall selection of the 2012 draft.
The Times-Picayune newspaper initially reported online Monday night that Gausman "will be" going back to LSU, while citing an unnamed source with "knowledge of the situation." The site later changed the wording to say the pitcher is "seriously considering" a return to campus while removing the unnamed source from the story.
In both versions, the paper quotes Gausman as saying, "This is turning out to be a tough decision, but as of now my heart is still with LSU. There are still things for me to accomplish as a Tiger. I still want to play in and win the College World Series, and with a lot of guys coming back next year I believe we can do it."
When contacted by The Sun on Monday night, Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich said he was not aware of the report or any declaration that Gausman would not be an Oriole.
"We are talking and it is progressing," Rajsich said. "We are making progress."
The signing deadline for all picks is 4:59 p.m. Friday. The Orioles have signed eight of their Top 10 picks -- with seven of them signing at suggested slot and one under slot. If the Orioles exceed their overall bonus, they'll have to a pay a tax and could lose future picks depending on how much they go over MLB budget guidelines.
The suggested value for the No. 4 overall pick is $4.2 million. If the Orioles don't sign Gausman, they could not use that money for other players, but would get the fifth overall pick in next year's draft.
Gausman was a draft eligible sophomore, so he still could have two more years at LSU, including a junior year in which most collegiate players are selected. And it would potentially give him another chance to make the College World Series. His Tigers team hosted a 2012 super-regional in Baton Rouge, but lost to upstart Stony Brook.
But he would be taking a $4-million-plus risk, considering he could rise only three spots (and potentially $3 more million) in next year's draft.