Posted by Ken Washam
I am not rooting against the Rays to sign Mahtook, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Tiger uniform for one more year either.
Check out the developments below for an update on how things are shaking out.
Negotiations are down to the final day – and may go to the final hour – for center fielder Mikie Mahtook, who has not yet come to terms with the Tampa Bay Rays. Mahtook was the Rays second pick in the first round and 31st overall.
Tampa Bay, which had 12 of the top 89 picks in the June draft, has spent more than $4 million in bonuses on eight of the prospects. They have until midnight Monday to get a deal with the rest and are apparently ready to work right up to the deadline.
“Any time you have a deadline things tend to gravitate toward it,” executive vice president Andrew Friedman told the St. Petersburg Times. “It doesn’t really change our approach. What we’re prepared to do now (financially) is not any different from what we were prepared to do a month ago, but for whatever reason things tend to gravitate toward the deadline.
“I’m very confident that the guys that really want to go out and play professionally that we’ll sign and get them out there playing. And the guys that don’t, we’ll respectfully part ways, and we’ll use that same slot compensation next year to go get someone who wants to go out and play professionally.”
Mahtook seemed a lock not to return after having an outstanding junior season. He belted 14 homers in the first year of the dead-bat era, while batting .383 with 56 RBI, 61 runs scored and 29 steals, leading LSU in all of those categories.
Tampa Bay used the 31st overall pick last year to sign high school catcher Justin O’Connor for a $1.02 million bonus.
Tampa is also trying to sign its first pick – No. 24 overall – Taylor Guerrieri, a right-handed pitcher out of high school who has a scholarship offer from South Carolina. The Rays also are trying to sign No. 41 pick infielder Tyler Goeddel, who has an offer from UCLA, and No. 59 pick Grayson Garvin, a left-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt, who could return for his senior year.