DETROIT -- The Tigers remain optimistic that they'll be able to ink deals with their unsigned picks from the First-Year Player Draft. Getting them signed without having to go up to the deadline later this month is another matter.
Major League teams have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 16 to sign their selections, or lose their rights. The Tigers still have four of their top five picks unsigned, including first-rounders Nick Castellanos and Chance Ruffin. While vice president of amateur scouting David Chadd said he was upbeat on signing them, his gut feeling was that it would "probably" go right up to the deadline.
As team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski put it, "I think that's the way the process works in today's game."
As a sign of how important the deadline plays in negotiations, the Tigers haven't had extensive talks with their top picks or their advisers. Top picks have historically used the deadline as leverage to try to get the best deal they can above slot, whether it involves a Major League contract or a bigger signing bonus.
"I'm guessing in the next week, things will pick up," Chadd said.
Castellanos, a power-hitting infielder out of Archbishop McCarthy High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has to choose between professional baseball or a scholarship to play at the University of Miami. Indications so far suggest he's open to either option. Ruffin must decide whether to turn pro or go back to the bullpen at the Unviersity of Texas.
Also yet to sign are second-rounder Drew Smyly, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Arkansas, and right-hander Cole Green, Ruffin's teammate at Texas and Detroit's fourth-round selection.