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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

August 15, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Mariners sign top draft pick Danny Hultzen

UPDATE: Here are the largest draft guarantees in history:

Stephen Strasburg $15.1 million

Mark Prior $10.5 million

Bryce Harper $9.9 million

Mark Teixeira $9.5 million

Danny Hultzen $8.5 million

RHP Chris Ray was released to clear room for Hultzen on the 40-man roster, because he signed a major-league deal.

UPDATE: The Mariners did not sign third-round pick Kevin Cron, who will attend TCU, but did sign ninth-rounder Cavan Cohoes. Cron was an impressive slugger, but they couldn’t reach agreement.

I’ve confirmed that the Mariners have signed first-round pick Danny Hultzen. He’ll get a five-year major-league deal, guaranteed $8.5 million. He’ll get a $6.35 million signing bonus. The maximum value of the deal is $10.6 million. The guarantee would be the fifth-largest in draft history, pending this year’s signings.

UPDATE 9 P.M.: Jon Heyman reports No. 1 overall Gerrit Cole signed with the Pirates for an $8 million bonus. Still no word on No. 2 overall Danny Hultzen.

UPDATE 8:47 P.M.: According to Baseball America, the Mariners have reached agreement with their second-round pick, Clemson SS Brad Miller. Bonus not known yet. Jason Churchill first reported that signing was near. BA also confirmed what I said earlier, that eighth-rounder Carson Smith has signed.

I’m hunkered down tonight at Safeco Field working on the draft deadline, which arrives at 9 p.m. Pacific time — one hour from now. No Mariner signings have yet to be announced.

I fully expect this to go down to the wire on the big fish — first-rounder Danny Hultzen, second-rounder Brad Miller and third-rounder Kevin Cron. Right now, 23 of the 33 first-round picks in MLB are still unsigned, so the Mariners aren’t unique. In 2009, Dustin Ackley went right up to the deadline before he signed. It’s the way the game is played.

UPDATE: There are now reports (from Baseball America’s Jim Callis) that the Marlins have signed RHP Jose Fernandez, the No. 14 overall pick, to a $2 million bonus. Maybe that starts to break the logjam.

The dicey one there could be Cron, a high-school slugger from Arizona. There are already reports that he is prepared to enroll at Texas Christian University, but it’s hard to know if his camp has put that out there as a negotiating ploy, or if it’s a distinct possibility. At any rate, his brother, C.J. Cron — the first round pick of the Angels this year out of the University of Utah — recently tweeted, “Looks like the brother is going to be a Frog. Unless something drastic changes”

I assume he means the TCU Horned Frogs, and not the Everett Aqua Sox frog.The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Cron, a right-handed hitter, set the Arizona state high school record for homers in a season (27) and career (59).

There are rumblings that the Mariners have signed, or are close to signing, their eighth-round pick, right-handed pitcher Carson Smith of Texas State. He was 9-3 with a 1.99 ERA in 113 1/3 innings this year, striking out 129.

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