TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays have an excess of about $1.3 million available in their bonus pool after this week’s signing of second-round pick Clinton Hollon, the extra dollars aimed at buying one of later-round choices Jake Brentz, Sam Tewes or Rowdy Tellez out of their college commitment.
First-rounder Phil Bickford remains unsigned but the extra pool space isn’t expected to factor in for him, as his number will be right around the No. 10 pick’s assigned value of $2,921,400 since the high school right-hander was selected higher than expected.
Hollon, a high-school right-hander out of Kentucky, slipped in the draft because of elbow issues and settled for $467,200, as first reported by Baseball America, a figure $701,000 under the 47th spot’s slot of $1,168,200.
While last year the Blue Jays created room within their spending pool to draft and sign Matt Smoral for $2 million at 50th overall, this year they have no one in their top 10 that fits the bill.
Instead they rolled the dice on four high-ceiling players who slid down the draft because of signability concerns in Brentz, a left-hander chosen in the 11th round, Eric Lauer, another southpaw selected in the 17th, Tewes, a right-hander picked in the 21st, and Tellez, a slugging first baseman drafted in the 30th.
Each has a college commitment and Lauer is believed to have already informed the Blue Jays that he plans to attend Kent State. That leaves Brentz, Tewes and Tellez to decide whether they want to go to school or take the Blue Jays money and turn pro.
Players selected from the 11th round on can be signed for up to $100,000, with anything in excess of that amount counting against a team’s bonus pool. That means the Blue Jays can offer one of the trio about $1.4 million — roughly slot for the 39th pick — without incurring any penalties.
The signing deadline picks is July 12, and the Blue Jays’ negotiating approach is to set a price for a player and stick to it. The draftees have a week left to decide whether or not to accept.