With all of their other picks from the first 10 Rounds of the 2012 MLB Draft signed, the Washington Nationals and their 1st Round pick Lucas Giolito, a 6'6'' right-hander out of Harvard-Westlake (HS) in California knew exactly how much of the $4.4M bonus pool the Nats had left to spend on their top pick. The slot recommendation for the 16th overall pick was for $2.125M and, as Baseball America's Jim Callis estimated, the Nationals could afford to spend as much as $3,034,710 without giving up a draft pick under the new rules for the Draft agreed upon in the new CBA.
The $3M+ total BA's Mr. Callis was citing included fines Washington would incur for going 5% over the $4.4M dollar total bonus pool the Nationals had to spend on their picks from the first 10 Rounds, but Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore reported that the Nationals were, "... not willing to pay any fine at all," meaning the most they could offer the 17-year-old right-hander was, "$2,812,400," without being hit with any penalties. Giolito visited Nationals Park in June, but there was little chatter about any negotiations between the two sides right up until the last moments before the July 13th 5:00 pm EDT deadline to sign this year's picks.
The 5:00 pm EDT deadline this afternoon came and went without any word on a deal. At just after 5:00 pm, 5:02 to be exact, Baseball America's Jim Callis (@JimCallisBA) announced that the Nationals had agreed on a $2.925M dollar signing bonus deal with the prep school right-hander...
ESPN.com's Keith Law (@KeithLaw) too confirmed the news:
Nats sign Giolito. $2.925 million.— keithlaw (@keithlaw) July 13, 2012
The Nationals took a risk in drafting Giolito after he'd suffered an elbow injury in his senior year at Harvard-Westlake. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told reporters on the night of the 2012 Draft that the Nationals recognized the risk they were taking but also the potential upside of such a selection. "We weighed the risk against the reward," the Nationals' general manager explained. "We felt that to get a 6'6'', 220lb right-handed pitcher with a great body and plus velocity and good stuff, great character and great makeup, we've been on this guy from day one, and we just felt that the reward outweighed the risk and we did our homework and our due diligence on his health and his makeup and decided this is the type of player, the type of stuff and the type of ceiling that we want here in the Washington Nationals' organization."
Nats' scouting director Kris Kline was impressed with what he saw from Giolito when he scouted him. "He'll touch 100," Kline said, "He's got a power curve ball that's 80-85, very good feel for his changeup, tremendous size, excellent leverage to his delivery. In Aflac he was probably 93-97, pitching at 94, but a little later on you could tell something wasn't quite right, but we stayed on him. When he's 100%, he goes top three in this draft, so it's kind of a no-brainer."
"Up to 98[mph] with a plus breaking ball and real good change up...," Assistant GM Roy Clark added, "6'6''... again, a top-of-the-rotation guy that you can get at 16, our doctors' reports, everything was fine. It was a no-brainer for us. Hopefully we get him signed and get him out in a Nats' [uniform]."
The Nationals signed the last of their top 10 picks and added a young, power arm to an already impressive collection of pitchers in the organization. Now it's all about making sure that elbow is back to 100% and getting the right-hander back on the mound to start his professional career.
• UPDATED - 5:45 pm EDT:
• via @NationalsPR, Rizzo talks to reporters about signing:
• via @AdamKilgoreWP:
Mike Rizzo said the Nats signed Giolito "dangerously close" to the deadline. He thought for a brief moment it wouldn't get done.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 13, 2012
• Washington Times' writer Nathan Fenno (@NathanFenno):
Mike Rizzo on signing Lucas Giolito: "It was dangerously close to the deadline ... cooler heads prevailed." #Nationals— Nathan Fenno (@nathanfenno) July 13, 2012
• via NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman:
Plan for Giolito: Go to Viera to work with rehab coordinator, will decide eventually if he's ready to pitch in minor-league games this year.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 13, 2012
• On final $ figure via @AdamKilgoreWP:
Where that $2.925 figure comes from: It's the virtual midpoint between the Nats paying no fine at all and losing a draft pick.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 13, 2012