Crew's top pick could sign by weekend

Brewers' top pick could sign soon

"If everything works out as planned, I'll be signed before the weekend and be able to go up to Milwaukee this weekend," Eric Arnett told the Web site Brew Crew Ball on Thursday in a lengthy question-and-answer session. "Meet the coaches and the Brewers' organization, and then go out to Montana for a little bit in rookie ball and then hopefully be in [Class A] before the summer is over."

That meshed with what Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said Wednesday, that the organization preferred to limit Arnett's workload by assigning him first to Helena, Mont., in the rookie Pioneer League. Helena begins its season on June 23.

Could Arnett be in the fold as early as Friday?

"That's a possibility," Seid said after finishing the three-day First-Year Player Draft on Thursday. "I can say this: We are actively trying to make it happen. His desire is to be a Major League player here in Milwaukee, and our desire is to have that happen."

The Brewers made Arnett the 26th overall selection on Day 1 of the Draft on Tuesday night. He was coming off a junior season at Indiana University in which he went 12-2 with a 2.50 ERA and a school-record 109 strikeouts.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin met with the top members of his amateur scouting staff on Thursday to set the parameters for negotiations. Mike Farrell, the Brewers' area scout responsible for Indiana, is handling most of the talks with Arnett's representative, Joe Speed.

Judging by past 26th overall selections, Arnett figures to receive a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $1.2 million.

"I came into the Draft looking just for a fair contract," Arnett told Brew Crew Ball. "I'm just looking for slot money, and I hear that's about what slot is this year, after they went down about 10 percent from last year."

The Brewers host the White Sox in Interleague Play this weekend before beginning a weeklong road trip to Cleveland and Detroit.

"He wants to play, we want to sign him, the agent is happy with the organization. That's a good combination," Seid said. "But there's nothing yet that says he's a Brewer. We're making progress."

Two hours after the Draft concluded, Seid said that the Brewers had already signed or agreed to terms with 20 of their 53 picks. The Brewers typically make official announcements in bunches once the proper paperwork is filed, but the list of players already under contract includes third-round pick Josh Prince, a shortstop from Tulane; sixth-rounder Hiram Burgos, a right-hander from Bethune-Cookman; ninth-rounder Jonathan Pokorny, a left-hander from Kent State; and 10th-rounder Tyler Roberts, a high school catcher from Georgia. In addition, the team had come to terms with second-rounder Max Walla, a high school outfielder from Albuquerque who wowed club officials in a Miller Park workout last weekend, and was close to agreeing with another second-round pick, high school catcher Cameron Garfield.

Brewers -- Top five selections
Pick
POS
Name
School
26RHPEric ArnettIndiana U
39CFKentrail DavisU Tennessee
47RHPKyle HeckathornKennesaw St U
73RFMaxwell WallaAlbuquerque Academy
74CCameron GarfieldMurrieta Valley HS
Complete Brewers Draft results >

Prince told his hometown newspaper in Sulphur, La., that he was headed to Helena. That means he could play behind Arnett, who will be treated carefully after carrying a heavy workload at Indiana.

Arnett completed six of his 14 starts and averaged nearly eight innings per outing. He threw 140 pitches in a 7-6 win over Purdue on May 2, followed by a 126-pitch win over Northwestern on May 9.

"You have to remember, he did pitch a lot this year," Seid said. "Not just Eric, but all of the guys who have had big workloads, you don't want to overload them. You want to start them in a fashion they feel comfortable."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.