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.
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.
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.