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It was announced today (although not by the Blue Jays) that the Toronto Blue Jays have signed their first-round pick from the 2020 draft, Vanderbilt infielder/outfielder Austin Martin.
Per @jimcallisMLB, the #BlueJays‘ deal with No. 5 overall #MLBDraft pick Austin Martin is for $7,000,825 (slot value = $6,180,700).— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 8, 2020
Just one first-round @MLBDraft pick remains unsigned: https://t.co/z1nVwuAfrk pic.twitter.com/MwGgYPXOkf
According to Jim Callis as well as Jon Heyman, Martin signed for about $820,000 over slot, taking home $7,000,825 over the next few years. Just $100,000 of that is payable upfront (as per the agreement between MLB and the Players Association) with half of the rest due in 2021 and the remainder due in 2022.
The signing clears the way for Martin to be added to the Blue Jays’ 60-player pool which currently stands at 58 players, despite the claim of Breyvic Valera on waivers from the Padres and the addition of three other players, Josh Palacios, Bryan Baker and Patrick Kivlehan after four players (Jonathan Davis, Elvis Luciano, Hector Perez and Brandon Drury) were placed on the injured list (presumably with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test; the Blue Jays are not releasing names of players who test positive).
For Martin, this allows him to get money that would have been close to the total that he would have gotten had he been drafted at the second overall position (which was expected). For the Blue Jays, this allows them to add him to the player pool and get him up to Toronto (away from the COVID-19 nightmare of Florida) and into coaching with MLB and high-minor-league coaches at the Jays’ facility either here in Toronto or in Buffalo at the club’s alternate location.
Now begins the big question for Martin: where will he play? Drafted as a shortstop, the Blue Jays have a lot of high-level talent on the left side of the infield already with Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. at third base, Bo Bichette at shortstop and Cavan Biggio at second base. Going down the prospect list, the Jays also have Jordan Groshans currently playing shortstop (although he’s expected to move to third) with Kevin Smith also in the player pool as a shortstop/third baseman.
Most people think that the Blue Jays will at least try Martin in center field as he played there this year in college, taking over due to injuries on the squad and the Blue Jays are sorely lacking highly-ranked prospects in the outfield at the higher levels of the minor leagues.
Interestingly, Baseball America revamped their Top-100 list once Martin signed, placing him as the #16 prospect in the game, five spots behind #1-overall pick Spencer Torkelson and nine spots behind the Jays’ top prospect, Nate Pearson. Groshans ranks at #31 while Simeon Woods Richardson ranks at #67.
The Blue Jays also signed their fourth-round pick, pitcher Nick Frasso, putting the cherry on top and signing all five of their draft picks.
4th-rd @MLBDraft pick Nick Frasso signs w/@bluejays for $459K (pick 106 value = $549K). @lmulionsBSB RHP closed as a soph, moved into rotation this spring, tho missed time with minor elbow issue. 3-pitch mix and 6-ft-5 frame are intriguing. #WearAMask— Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayo) July 8, 2020
Frasso is crazy athletic, being well known for his basketball dunking abilities. The signings all total up to where the Blue Jays went 5% over their bonus pool limit, meaning that they don’t have to surrender any draft picks and just pay a penalty on the 5% that they exceeded their pool by.
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