Clock ticking on Tampa Bay Rays signing their top two picks
The Tampa Bay Rays top pick LeVon Washington said on draft day he definitely wanted to sign and start his pro career.
But it appears if that is indeed going to be the case, it will have to get done in the final hours, as the deadline is tonight at midnight.
The Rays, who have signed three of their top five picks, still have some work to do with Washington, a Florida signee, and second-rounder SS Kenny Diekroeger (Menlo HS, Calif), who very well may stick with his previously strong commitment to Stanford.
With Washington, the 30th overall pick, there are a few things that complicate it all. He is coming off shoulder surgery, making the process of taking a physical very important - and that must happen today. Washington is a Gainesville product, so being in close proximity makes it possible, yet it would have to happen soon.
Washington is also a client of Scott Boras, who also has work to do with the top three picks of the draft- including mega pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg, who could command a record-breaking deal as the No. 1 selection.
If Washington doesn't sign and goes to Florida, the Rays will receive a compensatory pick in next year's draft that will fall just after the 30th pick.
While Washington had a strong desire to sign, Diekroeger had a strong commitment to Stanford. He told the Times shortly after he was drafted that the Rays told him they would have selected him higher if he would have committed to signing, but "I told them, 'Hey, I'm not sure what I want to do because I still have a Stanford commitment.'"
It had been a whirlwind two-year process for Diekroeger, who had said that just over a year ago, he didn't think the draft would be an option, and that he'd have a chance to play Ivy League baseball. But his stock kept rising after his appearance at the Area Code Games, and he said Tampa Bay was one of the first teams to come see him.
Diekroeger has said he was honored to get picked by the Rays and would definitely consider what they had to offer. To him, either way, it was a win-win scenario.
But we'll see which dream will come true by midnight tonight.
Stay tuned for updates....
- JOE SMITH