08/12/11 8:29 PM ET
Negotiations with Lindor could go down to wire
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
The Indians made Lindor the eighth overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft in June, but the standout high school shortstop had yet to pen his name on any dotted line. Brad Grant, the Tribe's director of amateur scouting, continues to keep in contact with Lindor.
"We've had positive initial conversations with Francisco and his family," Grant said. "We're hopeful that he takes advantage of the opportunity that we have here. We'll obviously know one way or another on Monday night."
Teams have until 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday to come to terms with their draftees, meaning official notification has to be in the Commissioner's Office when the clock strikes midnight. A team that does not sign its first- or second-round pick will receive a compensatory pick in the 2012 Draft.
That selection will come at the same slot, plus one. In other words, if a team does not sign the No. 8 overall pick, it would receive the No. 9 pick -- technically 8A -- the following year. A team does not receive a 2012 pick if it does not come to terms with a selection made with a compensation pick this year.
As things currently stand, the Indians have come to terms with five of their first 10 selections from this summer's Draft. That puts Cleveland in a similar position as most clubs. Consider that only two of the first 10 overall picks in this year's Draft have signed a contract.
Ahead of Lindor, six of baseball's top seven selections remain unsigned. That includes outfielder Bubba Starling, who was the only high school position player taken ahead of Lindor. Starling is advised by agent Scott Boras, while Lindor's situation is being overseen by agent David Meter.
The Indians are also still working to sign second-round pick Dillon Howard, who is a right-handed pitcher out of Searcy High School in Arizona.
At this point in negotiations, agents and teams are waiting for other chips to fall in the signing process.
Grant did not want to delve into details of where the talks with Lindor currently stood.
"I'm not going to go into the specifics of the negotiations," Grant said. "We'll just kind of wait things out and if we come to an agreement, then I'll have more to say."
The Indians believe Lindor, who will turn 18 in November, has the potential to develop into an impact player at shortstop one day. Selecting him is a risk, and his path to the Major Leagues will likely be gradual. Cleveland believes picking a prep star, in this case, was a risk worth taking.
For the Indians, it was Lindor's ability to remain at shortstop that convinced the organization that the time had come to break tradition. In each of the past nine Drafts, Cleveland took a collegiate player with its top selection. The Tribe had not taken a high school position player with its top pick since 2000.
Lindor, who is around 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds and moved to the United States from Puerto Rico earlier in his childhood, is a product of Montverde Academy in Florida. This past season, he hit .528 (28-for-53) with six home runs, seven doubles and two triples. Lindor compiled 13 RBIs, stole 20 bases in 21 chances and scored 32 runs.
The next number by Lindor's name will include seven figures.
In the 2010 Draft, the Indians selected lefty Drew Pomeranz fifth overall and handed him a signing bonus worth $2.65 million. One year before Pomeranz, right-hander Alex White (15th overall) netted a bonus of $2.25 million with the Tribe. Both were dealt to the Rockies on July 31 in the blockbuster trade that brought pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland.
The loss of two recent first-rounders might put some pressure on the Indians to get a deal done with Lindor before the clock strikes midnight on Monday evening.
It is worth noting that Lindor's agent also represents Tigers infield prospect Nick Castellanos, who was the 44th overall selection in the 2010 Draft. Despite being a compensatory pick, Castellanos (a high school star a year ago) reeled in the fifth-highest bonus ($3.45 million) of the first round last year.
Cleveland will likely convince Lindor to sign, but the deal could go down at the last minute.