Reds near deals with top two Draft picks
Organization allowing pitchers Leake, Boxberger to rest
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
07/08/09 6:20 PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Neither side has urgently tried to put pen to paper, but the Reds are nearing deals with their top two selections from the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
The club has been in extensive talks with agent Dan Horwits, who represents pitchers Mike Leake and Brad Boxberger, the eighth and 43rd overall picks, respectively.
"It's going very well with both of those guys," Reds scouting director Chris Buckley said by phone Wednesday. "We haven't been in a super duper rush, because both guys pitched a lot and were tired. Hopefully, we're pretty close."
Leake, a right-hander taken from Arizona State, was 16-1 with a 1.71 ERA, 24 walks and 162 strikeouts in 19 games this season. A key member of the Sun Devils' run in the College World Series, he also pitched 142 innings.
It's unlikely that the 21-year-old Leake would pitch much more this season in the Reds' organization.
"We haven't pressed him too hard," Buckley said. "The kid wanted some time off and we thought he should take the time off."
Boxberger, also a right-hander, was 6-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 94 innings over 14 starts this year for the University of Southern California. He's been off longer since the Trojans did not reach the postseason.
"Both will need time to get tuned up," Buckley said. "Mike's closer to pitching than Brad."
If the pitchers are in good condition, they would likely report to Class A Sarasota. It's also possible they might report to Billings, where the Reds have a rookie-level affiliate.
Among the players selected in the top 10 this year, only the fourth, fifth and 10th picks have signed. The No. 4 selection, catcher Tony Sanchez, received a Minor League deal from the Pirates and a $2.5 million bonus that was in the range of his slot. The Orioles recently signed the fifth overall pick, right-hander Matt Hobgood, for $2.42 million and also gave him a Minor League contract.
There is an Aug. 17 deadline for clubs to sign all of their players from the 2009Draft.
Talks haven't gotten close enough yet where Leake and Boxberger have taken physicals for Cincinnati's medical staff. General manager Walt Jocketty has gotten involved with the negotiations recently.
"We talked this afternoon," Buckley said of Jocketty. "There have been some pretty extensive conversations, but not a ton of urgency. I feel good about where things are going."
It's good the clubs put some word out about how these are progressing. To the casual fan, it's not a big deal, but for more dedicated fans, you like to know that something is occurring. I'm surprised at the pace given the workload of Leake (and apparently Boxberger too), so clearly there's not a great rush.
I agree that performance wise there is no big rush to get him signed. However, I would want control of him asap.
Hmmm, did not know that Leake and Boxburger had the same agent. Interesting.
Yep, nice to get an update and to hear things are moving along well.
Pure assumption on my part of course, but I think its a safe assumption.
Good to hear. It seems like they've signed quite a few guys out of this crop. With the big team stinking lately, it's as fun as ever to follow these fresh faces now.
Many of the Reds' top 10 picks this year have agents out of the Beverly Hills Sports Council. I think it's 5-6 of them. Can't be a coincidence -- they don't represent all that many kids.Quote:
I just happened to be looking at Cot's this afternoon, and their agent is also David Weathers' agent, so we've had dealings with him before.
Baseball America has the list of advisors for the top 10 rounds.