Jays hope to sign McGuire by deadline

Jays hope to sign McGuire by deadline

TORONTO -- With the signing deadline approaching, the Blue Jays' negotiations with first-round Draft pick Deck McGuire will likely go down to the wire. On Sunday, general manager Alex Anthopoulos expressed optimism about getting a deal done.

"We continue to have dialogue," Anthopoulos said. "We continue to be optimistic, hopeful. There's no guarantees, but we're going to do what we can to try to get the player under contract."

Toronto selected McGuire out of Georgia Tech with the 11th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft in June. The deadline for signing picks is Aug. 16, and Anthopoulos -- handling negotiations with McGuire himself -- noted that he has discussed financial terms with the pitcher's camp.

Anthopoulos believes the talks could last right to the deadline, considering that has been the trend in recent years for top selections. That is a main reason that Anthopoulos feels that the signing date should be earlier in the summer, adding that the issue will be raised in the next collective bargaining agreement.

"That's what happens it seems like each year," said Anthopoulos, referring to players waiting until the last minute to sign. "I think that's why people in the next CBA want to clean up the signing deadline. If we're going to have a deadline on the 15th, why not make it June or July at some point so we can get these kids out playing?

"I think everybody in the game would prefer an earlier date. It would be better for our Minor League affiliates, it'd be better for the development for the players and, if the players didn't sign, it would bring more clarity for the college coaches."

The Blue Jays have established a signing bonus value for the 21-year-old McGuire, but the club is more than willing to walk away from negotiations if the player's demands far exceed Toronto's figure. If the Jays do not sign McGuire, the team would receive the 12th overall pick in the 2011 Draft.

"You don't know how it's going to go," Anthopoulos said. "There's still a lot of players to sign in the top half of the first round, which can change things. I wouldn't really say we're close, and I wouldn't say we're far apart."