Top picks push teams to deadline

Strasburg, Ackley among unsigned first-rounders

The Associated PressAugust 18, 2009 

— Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals went down to the last day's deadline for teams to sign draft picks, with the San Diego State pitcher among half the unsigned first-round selections.

Strasbourg, who is advised by Scott Boras, was selected first by the last-place Nationals and was seeking to set the record for the most money guaranteed to a drafted player. That has been held since 2001 by pitcher Mark Prior, who received a $10.5 million, five-year contract after he was selected with the second pick, behind Joe Mauer.

Nationals president Stan Kasten said Saturday it was possible the team wouldn't sign Strasburg, who would then become eligible for next June's draft. Washington, in turn, would receive the second overall pick next June.

In the days leading to the deadline, Boras complained that baseball's rules are far more restrictive for U.S. high school and college players than they are for prospects who reside outside the United States and are free agents.

"International players are getting millions of dollars without being proven major leaguers, and the only people that are being deprived in this are American born," he said.

Sixteen of the 32 first-round picks were unsigned entering Monday. Boras represented six of the unsigned, including the second, third, ninth, 13th and 30th selections.

Boras also was attempting to negotiate deals for Dustin Ackley (a North Carolina All-American taken No. 2 by Seattle); Donovan Tate (an outfielder from Cartersville High in Georgia selected No. 3 by San Diego who was also a UNC football recruit); Jacob Turner (a right-hander from Westminster Christian in Missouri taken No. 9 by Detroit); Grant Green (a Southern Cal shortstop drafted No. 13 by Oakland); and LeVon Washington (an infielder from Buchholz High in Florida taken by Tampa Bay).

San Diego announced an agreement with Tate worth approximately $6.25 million less than two hours before the deadline. Earlier, St. Louis agreed at $2,875,000 with Shelby Miller, a right-hander from Brownwood High in Texas.

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