In a perfect world, teams will celebrate the signing -- albeit at the last minute on Monday night -- of their top picks from the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Undoubtedly, however, some will go past the 12:01 a.m. Tuesday deadline and come away empty in their attempts to negotiate a deal.
Well, not quite empty. According to the rules of the Draft, teams that do not sign their first-round picks get compensation. That comes in the form of another pick in next year's Draft. That's how the Washington Nationals ended up with both the No. 1 overall pick and the No. 10 selection in this year's Draft. That second pick, which turned out to be Drew Storen, was technically pick No. 9A, compensation for not signing No. 9 pick in the 2008 Draft, Aaron Crow.
If the Nationals do not sign top pick Stephen Strasburg by midnight, they would then get a similar compensation pick in 2010, in this case selection No. 1A. As the standings look prior to Monday's games, Washington would then receive the top two picks in the 2010 Draft.
Players who don't sign out of college will be re-entered in the following year's Draft and they basically have two options. If classes haven't started yet, they can return to campus for their senior seasons of college ball. Their other course is to head to an independent league team, something that Crow and Pirates 2008 second-rounder Tanner Scheppers opted for this past spring. Crow was re-drafted No. 12 overall by the Royals and is still unsigned. Scheppers was taken in the supplemental first-round by the Rangers and is also among those who has yet to come to terms.
High school players basically only have two options: Head to a four-year college and not be eligible to be drafted for three years (an exception is anyone who will turn 21 during their sophomore year of college, thus making them draft-eligible in two years' time), or they can go to a junior college and re-enter the Draft in 2010.
There is one caveat to any player's re-entry into the Draft. In order to be selected by the team that took him the first time (e.g. the Nationals and Strasburg), he must sign a waiver allowing for that possibility. Crow reportedly signed that waiver heading into this draft, so the Nationals could have taken him again. Scheppers, on the other hand, did not sign the waiver for the Pirates.
For both Crow and Scheppers, the future is a little bit different. They, and the teams that selected them, are not beholden to the midnight deadline facing other clubs. Because they are no longer affiliated with a team, they lobbied for, and received, permission to continue negotiating up until right before next year's Draft. The same thing happened with Mariners' 2008 first-rounder Josh Fields. As a college senior, he no longer had college eligibility and the Mariners took until the following spring to sign the right-hander. The Royals and Rangers could do the same thing with Crow and Scheppers.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.