Well, if any of you have been paying attention, our long, regional nightmare is now over. The Cincinnati Reds have officially come to an agreement with the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 draft, Hunter Greene. The news did not break until after the deadline had passed at 5:00 pm ET, but quickly the signing was confirmed.
No. 2 overall pick Hunter Greene has signed w/@Reds. @MLBDRaft— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 7, 2017
Hunter Greene agrees to reds deal— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 7, 2017
Then we got word from Zach Buchanan, which is pretty important because he's actually employed to write about the Reds. He's a big deal.
Source: The Reds and Hunter Greene have agreed on a deal.— Zach Buchanan (@ZachENQ) July 7, 2017
All of this ended up being a pretty wild ride, and was incredibly hilarious to watch live on Twitter. Mostly, because people are really dumb. Like, really dumb. But, how did it all start, and how did we get here? First, you might want to read this little thingy thing that our good man, Charlie Scrabbles, wrote this morning about Greene.
Greene was taken with the 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft and has had some incredibly lofty comparisons given to him. He’s apparently the next Bob Gibson, Alex Rodriguez and Lebron James all rolled into one, and he found his picture plastered all over the sports media world and everyone got to hear of his story. It was a match made in heaven when the Twins passed on him, and he fell into the hands of the Reds, even with the rumor that he wouldn’t sign because he wanted to be drafted by San Diego. With as much buzz and potential that Greene brings the Reds just had to sign him, and up until a couple days ago it sounded like a deal was imminent.
Was that the case? No.
The majority of the negotiating power was in the hands of the Reds. They had the money to offer Hunter Greene $7.1 million which is right at his draft slot. If Greene chose not to sign, the Reds would receive the 3rd overall pick in the 2018 draft and most likely a top five pick awarded due to their record. It was one occasion where fans would have a hard time calling the Reds cheap.
The Reds having the 3rd, 5th, 33rd, and 40th picks in the 2018 draft (w/ largest overall bonus pool) wouldn't be too bad of a development.— Wick Terrell (@wickterrell) July 7, 2017
If Greene wanted too much money the Reds were sitting in a great spot to let him go, and stock pile picks in what looks to be a very impressive 2018 draft class. But, not all the power was in the Reds hands. Greene had some play too.
Hunter Greene is a very well rounded, humble, and intelligent 17 year old. He comes from a well to do family that is also an incredible support system. He had given a verbal commitment to UCLA, and if he wanted to he could go to Junior College and reenter the draft in 2018 and try again. He could also go to UCLA and reenter the draft three years from now. The issue is an arm injury can arise at any moment, and how do you turn down $7 million as a 17 year old? It’s all incredibly risky. Especially, when you’re talking about a hundred thousand dollars or so and MLB pretty much caps your negotiating ability.
The Reds and Hunter Greene were much closer than what it all seemed when it came to money, and were probably just finalizing language and other little things in the contract. It was reported the Reds were offering a deal right at slot and that’s just about what Greene signed. But, we also never really know how these things go behind the scenes, and it really could have been a kid that's not even old enough to vote making the biggest decision of his life. If he need every available second then that's just fine.
Source: Hunter Greene will receive a bonus of $7,230,000. Largest bonus ever, first player to go in top two picks and go over slot.— Zach Buchanan (@ZachENQ) July 7, 2017
At $7,230,000, Hunter Greene signed the largest contract with MLB went with bonus slot offers for draft picks, and the first ever 1st or 2nd overall to actually sign at or above the recommended bonus. This sets a precedent that other draft picks will point towards in the future. In all, the Reds could have offered something close to $7.9 million without losing draft picks in 2018, but I doubt they would have went that high because of the 75% tax on every dollar spent over your cap. However, with this signing the Reds were able to stay under the bonus cap and did not accrue any penalties.
Throughout all the drama that played out today, and a signing that waited until right at the deadline, the Reds get the player they wanted all along. They get player with the highest ceiling in the draft, and one that very well could be a generational talent. Now, we just have to wait to see where he’ll start his professional career, and if he’ll be allowed to play a little shortstop on the days he’s not pitching. I’m hoping for Billings, but I'm a little biased.
You should be excited. This is all incredibly cool.