WASHINGTON -- With the Draft signing deadline of Friday at 5 p.m. ET approaching, the Nationals still have not agreed to a deal with their first-round pick, left-hander Seth Romero -- one of five first-rounders who have yet to finalize an agreement.There should not be much cause for alarm, however,
WASHINGTON -- With the Draft signing deadline of Friday at 5 p.m. ET approaching, the Nationals still have not agreed to a deal with their first-round pick, left-hander Seth Romero -- one of five first-rounders who have yet to finalize an agreement.
There should not be much cause for alarm, however, as MLBPipeline expects Romero to reach an agreement with the Nats by Friday's deadline, according to sources.
Romero is represented by agent Scott Boras, who has maintained a close relationship with the Nationals, and at one point this season had 11 players he represented on the club's active roster. Boras usually takes his clients as close to the deadline as possible to try to maximize the dollar amount. As the 25th overall selection, Romero's slot value is $2,530,400, although he is expected to exceed that amount and receive around $2.8 million or 2.9 million, according to a source.
Romero was considered a potential top 10 pick based on his talent, but he fell to the Nationals in last month's Draft because of questions about his character after he was dismissed from the team at the University of Houston. But the Nats believed the hurler was mature enough to put his mistakes behind him and were willing to take a gamble because of his arm.
The only other pick the Nationals have not signed from the first 10 rounds is their fourth-round selection, second baseman Cole Freeman from Louisiana State University.
Nats sign 27 international free agents
After last season's uncharacteristic spending spree in the international market, the Nats were restricted during this year's international signing period. After blowing by their pool of $2,335,000 in 2016 to commit more than $5 million, Washington could not sign a player for more than $300,000 during this year's and next year's international signing periods.
So that forced the club to hunt for bargains and try to fill its depth this season. The Nats came away with 27 players, four of whom signed for the maximum $300,000: Wilfredo Matos, shortstop (Dominican Republic); Ivan Murzi, catcher (Venezuela); Daniel Hernandez, infielder (Venezuela); and Karlo Seijas, right-hander (Venezuela).
The Nats have had success finding cheap talent on the international market in the past, considering infielder Wilmer Difo, as well as Victor Robles, Pedro Severino and Rafael Bautista -- their Nos. 1, 8 and 11 prospects, respectively, as ranked by MLBPipeline -- were all signed for less than $300,000.
Overall, the Nationals signed 17 players from the Dominican Republic, seven players from Venezuela, and one player each from Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. MLB.com reporter Jim Callis contributed to this report. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.