The Washington Nationals gave '09 1st Round pick Stephen Strasburg, who was the no.1 overall pick that year, a 4-year/$15.1M dollar deal that included a $7.5M dollar signing bonus for the right-handed starter considered a once-in-a-generation pitcher. 2010 no.1 overall pick Bryce Harper, considered a once-in-a-generation position player, got a 5-year/$9.9M dollar major league deal which included a $6.25M dollar bonus. Anthony Rendon, a third baseman out of Rice taken 6th overall with the Nats' first 1st Round pick in 2011, signed a 4-year/$7.2M dollar major league deal, which included a $6M dollar bonus. If 2012 1st Round pick Lucas Giolito signs before Friday afternoon's 5:00 pm EDT deadline, the high school right-hander considered a top-of-the-draft talent until an elbow injury caused his stock to drop, will sign for somewhere between the $2.125M recommeded slot bonus assigned to the 16th pick and the $3,034,710 Baseball America's Jim Callis has estimated the Nationals can afford to spend withouth giving up a draft pick under the new rules for the Draft agreed upon the new CBA.
Baseball America's Jim Callis @JimCallisBA:
Updating the numbers ... #Nationals can pay Lucas Giolito $3,034,710 w/o forfeiting a pick. #mlbdraft— Jim Callis (@jimcallisBA) June 28, 2012
In a recent chat, BA's Mr. Callis wrote (as he has on Twitter when asked) that he didn't, "... think the Nationals would have taken Lucas Giolito if they didn't think they'd sign him." The 17-year-old, 6'6'', 230 lb right-hander finished his senior year at Harvard Westlake (HS) with a 9-1 record, 78 K's (9.98 K/9) and a 1.00 ERA in 70.1 innings on the mound, but the sprained ulnar collateral ligament he suffered ended his season prematurely. "Given the uncertainty that still surrounds the UCLA recruit's elbow," BA's Mr. Callis wrote in a recent Q&A, "$3 million seems like a fair compromise between the talent and risk involved."
The $3M+ total would included fines paid for going 5% over the $4.4M dollar total bonus pool the Nationals have for their 2012 Draft picks (rounds 1-10), but Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore wrote recently, in an article entitled, "Nationals not willing to exceed draft bonus pool limit", that the Nats are not only unwilling to give up a draft pick, but, "... are not willing to pay any fine at all." The Nationals, the WaPost writer notes, "... could offer $2,812,400," without incurring any penalties.
Giolito is the last of the Nationals' top 10 picks that remains unsigned (top 15 actually). The Nats' 2012 7th Round pick Robert Benincasa, (who might have the world's best Twitter handle: @Bennyndajets), announced that he'd signed with the Nats on the Twitter before the Nationals officially announced the news:
Officially a member of the Washington Nationals! #bringthenoise #nats #noles— Robert Benincasa (@bennyndajets) June 26, 2012
An announcement from the Nats' official Twitter followed (@NationalsPR):
The #Nationals have signed their 7th round pick from the 2012 First-Year Player Draft: Robert Benincasa - RHP, Florida State University.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) June 26, 2012
Working out the Seminoles' pen, Benincasa, a 6'1'' right-hander, was (4-2) with 16 saves, a 1.32 ERA, 7 walks and 58 K's in 32 games and 41 IP at FSU in 2012. He's already thrown 1.2 innings for the Nats' New York/Penn League affiliate, the Auburn Doubledays, giving up four hits and two runs while striking out three without allowing a walk.
Where Lucas Giolito will start his pro career if he pitches at all this year in unclear. The Nationals have until 5:00 pm EDT Friday afternoon to get their last of their top 10 picks signed.