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Blue Jays Draft Update: Zach Britton signs under-slot deal while C.J. Van Eyk and Trent Palmer sign over-slot deals

The Blue Jays have now signed three of their five draft picks as pitchers C.J. Van Eyk and Trent Palmer along with outfielder Zach Britton have agreed to deals. First-round pick Austin Martin and fourth-round pick Nick Frasso have yet to sign.

  • Second-round pick Van Eyk’s signing bonus is $1.8 million, slightly over the recommended slot value of $1,771,100.
  • Third-round pick Plamer’s signing bonus is $850,000, again slightly above the recommended slot value of $805,600.
  • Fifth-round pick Britton’s signing bonus is $97,500, well below the recommended slot value of $410,100.
  • Total: $2,747,500 in bonuses have been allocated to three picks with a combined recommended slot value of $2,986,800. The Blue Jays so far are $239,300 under slot. 

The Blue Jays have a bonus pool of $9,716,500. If a team goes over that pool by 5 to 10 percent, they must pay a 100 percent tax on the excess and will lose their next first-round pick. That means that the Jays can exceed the $9,716,500 figure by about $485,000 without losing a draft pick.

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The recommended value for Martin, who was drafted with the fifth-overall pick, is $6,180,700, but Martin was expecting to go higher in the draft, so he’ll more than likely command a signing bonus well over slot value. The difference between being drafted second overall, where Martin was projected, and fifth is roughly $1.6 million in recommended slot value.

The over-slot deals the Jays gave to Van Eyk and Palmer are immediately compensated by going well under-slot with Britton, so signing those two pitchers won’t get in the way of ponying up extra crash to Martin.

There’s also fourth-round pick, Nick Frasso, who has a recommended slot of $549,000. If the Blue Jays can sign Frasso, who was limited to only eight innings of work this season, to an under-slot deal, it would open up even more room to pay Martin.

According to Scott Mitchell, Martin and agent Scott Boras are thought to be looking for a signing bonus that begins with the number 7. Since he’s a Boras client, it seems inevitable this signing will come right down to the wire at the Aug. 1 deadline.

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But it’s hard to imagine Martin not signing because of the risk associated with doing so. His other option would be to go back to Vanderbilt for a fourth season and hope to get drafted first or second overall, which would represent a pretty hefty boost in his signing bonus. This might be doable in a normal year, but not in the uncertain COVID-19 world. Banking on having a monster senior season in order to jump from fifth to first or second overall when there’s no certainty there’ll even be a full NCAA season is just too much of a risk.