Thursday Rockpile: What it will take to sign Matzek, and oh yeah, we're winning. A lot.

So the Rockies win streak continues, the draft continues, and our fretting over whether top pick Tyler Matzek will sign or not continues, this is all still a much better position to be in than we were a month ago.

Back to the middle link in the above sentence to a Troy E. Renck blog entry at the DP because I want to explore the Matzek issue a little. The following are the largest signing bonuses ever handed out by the Rockies according to Baseball America, as well as the highest value of a contract the Rockies purportedly offered 2000 first round selection Matt Harrington:

 

Name Year Bonus
Greg Reynolds 2006 $3,250,000
Jason Young 2000 $2,750,000
Troy Tulowitzki 2005 $2,300,000
Chin-Hui Tsao 1999 $2,200,000
Chris Nelson 2004 $2,150,000
Matt Harrington 2000 $4,900,000*

 

Matt Harrington never signed and the money was for an eight year contract, not a bonus, you can read more about his saga here.

So this will all be speculation on my part, but I'll try and spell out where I'm coming from. At any rate, my first point would be that Matzek can expect to top Reynolds' bonus, so Renck's estimate of a $2.8 million to $3 million offer being the highest the Rockies will go to haul him in seems doubtful. Reynolds had more experience and a better draft position, but everybody has to be honest here that Matzek's the superior talent. At the other end of the spectrum, the Rick Porcello deal that Matzek wishes to emulate (like Harrington's offer it wasn't a true bonus but a four year contract) seems a scarier bridge to cross than it might turn out to be. I doubt a Matzek contract with the Rockies reaches that sum, but if he's able to step off of it, using Porcello as a model of sizable bonus plus an MLB contract might be more within the team's grasp.

I'm also looking at the deal that Matzek's agent Greg Genske worked out with the Reds and Yonder Alonso last season as a model. It's another MLB contract which came in at a value just over $4.55 million dollars for the seventh selection of the 2008 draft. Alonso was a college draftee and a position player, so there's an expectation of earlier success built into that, but looking over those negotiations gives us a sense of how Genske operates. I think piecing everything together gives us the following for what we should expect a Matzek deal to look like were it to get done.

 

  1. A signing bonus north of $3,250,000, breaking the Rockies record
  2. Additionally, it's likely to be an MLB contract similar to Porcello or Beckett that will pay him more over four or more seasons
  3. Incentives like those in the Alonso contract including college tuition and family trips to see his debut as well as bonuses for awards such as the ROY he earns
  4. A sum value of the contract less than Porcello and Beckett, but at least equal to what the Rockies offered Harrington, which puts it somewhere between $4.9 million and $7 million.

 

Are the Monforts and the Rockies willing to go this far? Is Matzek willing to drop down to that Harrington level to get a deal done and his professional career started?   

Related: Buster Olney: Signability still an MLB draft trump card - ESPN - Buster Olney Blog on ESPN.com.

While signing Matzek might be an issue, not so with most of our other picks. Both fourth round selection Kent Matthes, a right fielder out of Alabama, and fifth round selection Joe Sanders, a third baseman from Auburn, expect to sign and start playing quickly in the Rockies organization. Both are relatively polished and from the South, so while I would expect them to be sent to Tri-City, Asheville might not be completely out of the question. That said, I watched the Tourists last night, and they seem to be clicking fairly well with their current mix of players, I'm not sure who would get bumped there and where to make room.

Same goes for supplemental pick Rex Brothers and our other first round selection, Tim Wheeler:

Said Wheeler: "The signing thing will happen in a few days, I'm sure, but right now, I'm just really excited about being drafted."

****

Fowler getting on base often, fueling revival - The Denver Post - OBP is good.

Christian Friedrich is turning heads as a Colorado Rockies prospect - ESPN - Jason Grey says that a scout sees Friedrich as a top of the rotation starter in the Erik Bedard mold. This was copied and pasted as a FanPost last night/early this morning. Please do not do this, link the story in a FanShot, but don't just trample over copywright law

Tulowitzki putting muscle into bid to return to power - The Denver Post

Inside the Colorado Rockies " Quick hits: Starters earning wins

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