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Eight takes from Day 1
By Peter Gammons
Special to ESPN.com
But here are eight takes from the first day:
1. The Twins knew what it was going to take to sign USC right-hander Mark Prior -- $16 million -- and decided it wasn't worth it. Once they negotiated with Ron Shapiro, Joe Mauer's representative, and had the parameters on a $6 million deal that would buy Mauer out of Bobby Bowden's passing attack, they were fine.
2. Prior and Georgia Tech third baseman Mark Teixeira, who ended up with Texas because Prior and Dewon Brazelton were gone, will get the two biggest signing packages ever handed out, $16 million and $14 million, respectively. You can be rest assured that a lot of owners hope this is the end and that some kind of cap can be bargained this winter. The Players Association wants a cap of some kind, as well.
It's also amazing the spell Scott Boras weaves on Tom Hicks. The Rangers took Clemson senior center fielder Patrick Boyd in the seventh round. This is a guy who was supposed to be first-round material out of high school, didn't sign as a junior because he thought he was worth more than the $200,000 he was offered and this year didn't play. Given Hicks' ability to negotiate, Boyd has to be worth millions now.
3. Baltimore and Pittsburgh seemingly flipped picks. The Pirates told people they were takng a college pitcher and many assumed it was Chris Smith of Cumberland College, who played at Florida State before transferring. The O's were on Kent State slugger John VanBenschoten. So, the O's took Smith and the Pirates nabbed VanBenschoten.
4. Kansas City negotiated right down to the draft on Union, S.C., wide receiver/outfielder Roscoe Crosby, but the $5 million request he requested to give up Clemson and football was too steep, so the Royals took Marshall, Texas phenom Colt Griffin, the pitcher who converted to the mound this spring and throws 100 mph. Crosby was there in round two and the Royals took him, which means he may play for Tommy Bowden in the fall and baseball in the summer.
5. The Astros wanted a pitcher, but when Smith and Griffin were taken in front of them, they then took Tennessee shortstop Chris Burke, a potential impact leadoff hitter. Houston GM Gerry Hunsicker wants his organization to get more athletic as they already have a lot of pitching, and leadoff hitters are so rare that there isn't one with a.400 on-base percentage right now in the majors.
6. The Padres effectively got three No. 1 selections with Tulane third baseman Jake Gautreau, a great offensive player, and two No. 1's from last year -- right-hander Matt Harrington, who turned down $4 million from the Rockies and went to the Northern League, and Tag Bozied, the University San Francisco slugger who turned down sandwich money from the Twins to go back to school.
"Those will be tough negotiations," predicts one GM, but where else do they go? The Pads have Sean Burroughs in Triple-A at third base. They took Cal third baseman Xavier Nady last year. And now they have Bozied. They took Bozied because bats aren't that easy to find.
7. Cincinnati took lefty Jeremy Sowers with the 20th pick, but he may be the toughest sign in the round. He never thought about pro ball until March, his parents are dead set against him signing, and while he is set to go to Vanderbilt, his twin brother is going to Yale. So the Reds may have to let him pull a Brad Ausmus or Shawn Green and go to college full-time and pitch on his vacation time.
8. Boston selected Cuban left-hander Rolando Viera in the seventh round. "This is one of those picks a GM loves and the scouting director hates," says another GM. "But (Viera is) 27, left-handed and could help immediately." In the court case last week, the MLB lawyer ridiculed the idea that Viera was good enough to be drafted. Sounds like anything to win, hey.
The Red Sox figure they have nothing to lose and a left-handed arm for the stretch to gain. GM Dan Duquette has looked everywhere for lefties, giving a huge bonus to Mexican lefty Jorge de la Rosa (who burned up the Florida State League and now is in the Eastern League), rehabbing Bill Pulsipher and hoping former sandwich pick Casey Fossum is ready to contribute come September as he progresses at Double-A Trenton.Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories
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