Earlier on Monday we heard that the Cincinnati Reds had signed their 1st round draft pick - and 2nd overall pick - Nick Senzel to a $6.2 million signing bonus, which was a bit over $1.5 million less than the allotted amount for that pick from their bonus pool. Just a bit ago, we discovered just how valuable that agreement was, as we found out both Taylor Trammell (the #35 overall pick) and 2nd round pick Chris Okey (#43 overall) signed over-slot deals, per MLB.com's Jim Callis.
Supp 1st-rder Taylor Trammell signs w/@Reds for $3.2 mil (pick 35 value $1,837,200). Ga HS OF, star RB, athlete + feel to hit. @MLBDraft— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) June 14, 2016
More @Reds @MLBDraft: 2nd-rder Chris Okey signs for $2 mil (pick 43 value $1,497,500). Clemson C, best all-around C available.— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) June 14, 2016
The price on the deal for Trammell shouldn't be viewed as much of a surprise, as the toolsy high school OF was talented enough to be drafted much higher but fell to #35 in large part because he was viewed as being a bit of an expensive sign. A Georgia native and Georgia Tech signee, it appeared evident that Trammell was plenty ready to take the college route without a significant offer, thus the Reds' need to fork over a bonus nearly $1.5 million over slot in order to get him signed.
As for Okey, he obviously leveraged the ability to not sign and return for a senior year at Clemson quite well, as he picked up a bonus some half a million bucks more than the slot recommendation. Clearly, the Reds wanted his services dearly, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Okey move quickly through the system given his advanced catching ability and the sudden lack of depth at the high minors levels there in the organization.
All told, the Reds have now signed their first three selections for a bit more than $300,000 total more than their slot recommendations, but as Doug Gray of redsminorleagues.com notes, they may be able to make up a portion of that because of the low leverage of their picks from rounds 7-10. Considering the upside of the top picks selected and the years of evidence that later round picks don't pan out at the big league level, it seems the strategy the Reds employed on draft day may just pay off without them facing a financial penalty, either.
So far, so good from Chris Buckley, Walt Jocketty, and Dick Williams this go-round. Welcome to the Reds, Taylor and Chris.