There was drama, there was intrigue, there was a race against the clock. In other words, it was a another typical Draft signing deadline day.
Monday began with 17 first-round picks unsigned and a midnight deadline looming. With just a half-hour remaining on the clock, there were an unlucky 13 who had yet to agree to terms. When the dust settled after the clock struck 12, all but three had joined the organizations that drafted them.
None was bigger than the No. 1 overall pick, Bryce Harper, who at the very last minute reached an agreement with the Washington Nationals. Most involved knew it would come down to the wire, just as Stephen Strasburg did a year ago. For the second straight year, the Nats were able to get their guy, giving the 17-year-old Harper a $9.9 million, five-year contract. The amount eclipsed Mark Teixeira's previous record of $9.5 million for guaranteed money given to a position player in the Draft.
"It was both sides compromising and knowing that we were so close," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "It would be fruitless to not get a deal done. Like I've always said, we have an organization that wanted the player and a player who wanted to be in the organization. Once the smoke cleared, we found common ground to get a deal done."
Below is the signing status of the first-round picks of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. For a complete list, click here.
All of the top five picks ended up signing, with Jameson Taillon signing with the Pirates at No. 2, No. 3 pick Manny Machado agreeing to a deal with the Orioles and No. 5 Drew Pomeranz becoming a member of the Cleveland Indians organization. All were over-slot deals, though Pomeranz was only marginally so, at $2.65 million. Taillon got a reported $6.5 million deal, giving the Pirates two high-octane high school arms signed at the top of their draft. They announced they had signed second-rounder Stetson Allie earlier in the day. Machado, who, like Harper, is advised by Scott Boras, agreed at the very last minute to a $5.25 million deal.
"We knew the day we drafted them that we had a legitimate chance to sign them," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said of Pittsburgh's top two picks. "We believed that the players wanted to play. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, but we also had confidence in our hard work and due diligence behind the scenes and our belief that they wanted to play."
"For us to have a really good Draft, we had to sign this player," Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan said of Machado. "It went like we thought. We had a really good read on the financial side of it -- what it was going to take. Again, it played out 'till the end. We're very happy."
The first pick not to sign was No. 6 Barret Loux, finalizing a scenario that seemed likely when news came out in July that the Texas A&M right-hander had failed a physical. He turned out to be one of two first-round picks who didn't sign because of health-related reasons.
News broke a couple of hours before the deadline that the Brewers were not likely to sign No. 14 pick Dylan Covey. It was not because of an inability to agree on a deal, however. After taking his physical, the Southern California right-hander was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and the family decided it best for him to walk away from the pro game and attend nearby University of San Diego while learning how to live with the disease.
"There was no time. We just had to make a decision," said Darrell Covey, Dylan's father. "Based on the information we had and the gut feeling we had, we felt that going to school was the best option. I want everyone to know that the Brewers were amazing, and they are as heartbroken as we are. But we had to go with the gut.
"We just got thrown a curveball, and it was a nasty curveball. Like Dylan's, with late break. Those are very difficult to hit. This is very hard. This is a kid who has been dreaming of playing Major League Baseball his whole life."
No. 9 Karsten Whitson's decision not to sign with the Padres was a financial one. He will attend the University of Florida instead.
"I think we expected all along to reach an agreement," Padres general manager Jed Hoyer said. "In the end, we were fairly far apart. I don't know what changed.
"There is a sense of frustration. I'll be honest, we're really surprised. But I feel great about the way we handled this."
The teams that did not sign first-round picks will receive compensation in next year's Draft. The Diamondbacks will get pick No. 7, the Padres No. 10 and the Brewers No. 15, in addition to whatever other first-round selections they would normally get.
Since the new system with the moved-up deadline (the signing deadline was the week before the Draft until it was moved to Aug. 15 in time for the 2007 Draft) and compensation for unsigned picks was instituted, the number of unsigned first-rounders has increased by one each year. In the first year, every first-round pick came to terms. In 2008, there was just one unsigned player, Aaron Crow, who was taken No. 9 overall by the Washington Nationals. A year ago, two players -- Matt Purke and LeVon Washington -- didn't sign, giving the Rangers and Rays compensation picks in this past June's Draft as a result.
The No. 12 overall pick, Yasmani Grandal, was the first of the 2010 draftees to receive a big league contract, getting a deal worth $2.99 million to sign with Cincinnati. The Reds will have to make a corresponding move to make room for the Miami catcher on their 40-man roster. The Cardinals and their top pick, No. 25 Zack Cox, agreed to a nearly identical deal, including the Major League contract, right at the deadline.
High school bats Josh Sale and Christian Yelich signed with the Rays and Marlins, respectively, as the calendar turned to Tuesday as well. Sale, the No. 17 pick, got $1.62 million from Tampa, while Yelich agreed to a $1.7 million bonus.
Perhaps the most interesting -- and some would say surprising -- signings came with a pair of two-sport stars taken in the later stages of the first round. Kyle Parker is known by many as Clemson's quarterback, and it seemed uncertain whether the Rockies would be able to sign their No. 26 overall pick away from the gridiron. In the end, they didn't, at least not immediately. Parker will play football this fall, but agreed to a $1.4 million bonus to go to Spring Training next spring, when he will supposedly walk away from football.
Fans of SEC football, particularly at LSU, are especially heartbroken after a signing most felt was impossible. Some believed the Dodgers were never going to sign Zack Lee away from being LSU's quarterback, with speculation they had perhaps made the pick expressly because they wouldn't sign him. At the last minute, however, they were able to lure Lee away for $5.25 million spread out over five years.
There were a number of later-round signings that involved above-slot deals right at the deadline as well. The biggest of those was Florida prep infielder Nick Castellanos, who got $3.45 million dollars to sign with the Detroit Tigers. Castellanos slid into the supplemental first round because of signability concerns. The Red Sox were also extremely aggressive on Monday, signing Anthony Ranaudo, their sandwich pick, for $2.55 million as one of Boston's seven deadline deals. Brandon Workman, taken in the second round, got $800,000, while high schoolers Sean Coyle and Garin Cecchini (3rd and 4th round selections, respectively) each received seven-figure bonuses.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. Bill Ladson, Jenifer Langosch, Brittany Ghiroli, Corey Brock and Adam McCalvy contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.