Houston Astros Fail to Sign #1 Overall Pick Brady Aiken
This qualifies as a pretty big gaffe. The Houston Astros failed to sign the number one overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, Brady Aiken, citing an issue they had with his pitching elbow.
Houston reportedly felt Aiken had a serious issue with his pitching elbow and was trying to lock down their top pick at a discount price. However, Aiken’s camp contended Aiken was perfectly healthy. A “person with knowledge” reportedly informed the Houston Chronicle that Aiken did indeed have a “cut and dry” issue with his left ulnar collateral ligament.
A further look could reveal that Aiken has an abnormally small UCL, which the Astros could have been contending makes him a greater risk for injury down the road.
Due to Aiken’s camp’s steadfast denial of any health issue, advisor Casey Close held out for a $6.5 million bonus, which was supposedly originally agreed upon. Due to their concerns, the Astros held strong at $5 million, which led to the 17-year old hurler to decline to sign.
Aiken becomes just the third #1 overall pick to not sign in MLB history, while he becomes the first one not to do so since 1983.
There was even more bad news for the Astros, as they also failed to come to contract agreements with fifth round picks Jacob Nix and Mac Marshall, either.
It’s a difficult situation for the Astros, who have been regarded as being quite frugal over the years, although in this case seemed to be merely protecting themselves from poor investments.
Houston is now expected to receive next year’s #2 overall pick as compensation for not being able to lock Aiken up after drafting him. Aiken is currently committed to playing at UCLA, but the left-hander could decide to go to a junior college and enter the draft again in 2015.
Despite missing out on an elite prospect and currently sitting as one of MLB’s worst teams at just 40-57, the Astros are still viewed as a potential up and coming team going forward. Landing a top prospect in next year’s draft and actually nailing down a contract will go a long way in helping realizing that potential.
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