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Cardinals working quickly to sign Draft picks

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' parade of Draft signees through Busch Stadium continued on Wednesday, with the organization welcoming first-round pick Marco Gonzales to town to sign his contract and kick off his professional career.

Gonzales became the ninth player the Cardinals selected in the first 10 rounds to ink a deal, and the organization expects to have all of the players taken during the first two days of the three-day First-Year Player Draft signed by the end of the day Thursday.

Fourth-round pick Mason Katz, a second baseman out of LSU, just wrapped up his college season on Tuesday. The Cardinals had not been permitted to negotiate with Katz while he was still playing; now that there is no such limitation, the Cardinals expect negotiations to go quickly. Scouting director Dan Kantrovitz expressed optimism that Katz would be signed as early as Thursday.

The Cardinals are also expected to announce the signing of Malik Collymore (10th round) on Thursday while Collymore is in St. Louis. Collymore, who recently graduated from high school in Ontario, Canada, will pass on his commitment to the University of Missouri to instead join the Cardinals.

Once Collymore and Katz sign, the Cardinals will know exactly how much of their $6.9079 million pool has been used on their 11 picks from the first 10 rounds. Any leftover money will then be allocated to later-round picks whom the Cardinals are trying to lure away from college -- most notably, right-hander Steven Farinaro (11th round).

Of the Cardinals' 41 Draft selections, 32 have been officially signed. Colleymore and Katz would increase that number to 34, and Kantrovitz estimated that the final total will be 36. Moving the signing deadline up more than a month -- a change that was implemented after the last Collective Bargaining Agreement -- has expedited the process of getting players signed and out to the Minors.

"I think it helps us and it helps them," Kantrovitz said. "The sooner they can get out there, the sooner they can get promoted. We're not working against that July 12 deadline. We're just working against trying to get everybody out there quickly. I think that's in our best interest. Probably in the next week or so, we should be close to done."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.
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