Jays pick says show me the money

 

 
 
 
 
MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks during the MLB First Year Player Draft in Secaucus, New Jersey.
 

MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks during the MLB First Year Player Draft in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Photograph by: Mike Stobe, Getty Images

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TORONTO — Tyler Beede has everything he needs to strike a hard bargain.

He is a six-foot-four, 200-pound high school pitcher with a 93-mile-an-hour fastball and a biting curveball. His father is a former minor-league player who knows the business side of baseball. His official adviser, a fellow New Englander, is one of baseball’s most prominent agents.

So Beede will be dealing from strength when he and his counsellors open negotiations with the Toronto Blue Jays, who made him their top draft pick on Monday. And the articulate 18-year-old was clearly well-primed when he fielded questions during a conference call from his home in Massachusetts.

Asked about weighing his “commitment” to Vanderbilt University against the chance to sign with the Jays, he cut to the chase.

“It really comes down to the money,” Beede said. “If we can work things out that way, then I’m sure we’ll be all set.”

He was the 21st pick in the draft. A year ago, the 21st pick got a signing bonus of $1.332 million US. It is safe to say Beede is looking for a lot more.

Last year, the Jays and their top pick, Deck McGuire, settled on a $2-million bonus at the mid-August signing deadline. McGuire was the No. 11 pick in the first round.

The Jays continued to stockpile pitchers as the draft continued on Tuesday.

Of their first 30 picks, 19 were pitchers, 17 of whom are high-school players. They selected only three college players among their top 30.

Toronto took Canada’s top prospect, Tom Robson of Ladner, B.C., in the fourth round. The right-hander pitched against the Jays in a spring exhibition and twice against Cuba in the world junior championship in Thunder Bay, Ont., last summer.

“I was pretty excited when I heard my name called. The Jays are my favourite team so I was really hoping they would draft me,” Robson said, shortly after receiving a congratulatory call from general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

As for Beede, one of the first calls he received was from Jays’ Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, who said he hoped to see Beede in a Toronto uniform soon.

“Just to speak with him was an honour in itself,” Beede said.

But amid the excitement, his eye is clearly on the prize. He said he has no hesitation about becoming a Blue Jay — if the price is right.

“Money’s obviously one of the big factors, obviously for a lot of the kids in the draft,” he said. “We know Toronto’s a great organization and they’re developing their young players very well. That’s not really a factor. We know that they’re going to be great on that side.”

He is getting astute advice. His father, Walter, was drafted by the Cubs as a first baseman in 1981 and played one season in the minors, then proceeded to teach his son how to pitch. Beede’s adviser is Alan Nero, who once negotiated a contract that made Randy Johnson the highest-paid left-hander in baseball. Agents can advise but are barred from negotiating directly for players with remaining college eligibility.

With those two in his corner in recent months, Beede has learned some useful off-field tips, as well as how to change his arm slot to refine his curveball.

“I guess the business side just comes from my dad,” he said. “He’s handled a lot of the business side this spring. I was just the one to take the ball and go out on the mound and do my thing and not worry about the business side and the phone calls and meetings.

“But obviously I’ve been a part of all those meetings and had to participate in a lot of those things. I’ve learned a lot over the spring, obviously from him teaching me and just going through the process.”

Between meetings, Beede went 8-0 in 51 innings with 102 strikeouts and eight walks while pitching for Lawrence Academy.

On Monday, Toronto scouting director Andrew Tinnish had praised Beede for his studious approach to the game as well as his skills. A day later, Beede said he spends a lot of time breaking down video of great pitchers, such as Nolan Ryan.

“I’m just trying to pick little mechanical things that can make me a better pitcher,” he said.

Beede has never visited Canada, but he quickly added that he once dated a Canadian girl.

“That’s a long story,” he said with a chuckle. “That’s a story for a different time.”

National Post

jlott@nationalpost.com

Twitter.com/LottOnBaseball

 
 
 
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MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks during the MLB First Year Player Draft in Secaucus, New Jersey.
 

MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks during the MLB First Year Player Draft in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Photograph by: Mike Stobe, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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