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Volume 24 No. 158
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Royals Sign First Top Draft Pick Below Slot Value, Leaving Money For Other Players

The Royals yesterday agreed to a $2.2M signing bonus with No. 8 overall draft pick SS Hunter Dozier, $937,800 below the "slotted bonus for that selection," according to Bob Dutton of the K.C. STAR. Taking Dozier that early in the draft was "something of a risk and a calculated gamble," as he was "generally viewed as a player likely to go late in the first round or early in the second round." While the Royals "rated him above that consensus, they wanted the parameters of a deal in place before selecting him." Dozier’s bonus falls "in-between the slotted amounts for the 16th and 17th overall picks -- or still better than he projected to receive." The 39th pick -- where Baseball America "had him ranked" -- had a slot of $1.43M. The Royals plan to "use their savings to sign other players," particularly P Sean Manaea, whom they chose 34th overall (K.C. STAR, 6/11). BASEBALL AMERICA's Jim Callis wrote under the header, "Royals Draft Pick-Switch Gambit Pays Off." The team was interested in both Manaea and high school P Phil Bickford, but "wasn't comfortable taking either with its top pick." If contract negotiations broke down with either, the Royals "would lose" $3.1M of their assigned $8.3M bonus pool for the first 10 rounds. The Royals "mitigated their risk by essentially flip-flopping the selections," taking Dozier at No. 8 and Manaea at No. 34. By taking them "in reverse order," the Royals would lose just $1.6M in pool money "if the sandwich-rounder turned them down." The team also "could add" roughly $2M to the pot at No. 34 by signing Dozier to "less than his assigned pick value and by taking discount players in the fifth through 10th rounds" (BASEBALLAMERICA.com, 6/10).