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Padres get creative in slicing up Draft money

Club has signed all nine picks through first 10 rounds

SAN DIEGO -- When the Padres lost Draft picks Nos. 13 and 41 for signing pitcher James Shields and trading for closer Craig Kimbrel, they lost out on approximately $4.5 million in pool money.

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Despite being stuck with a pool of $3,671,200, the second-lowest among Major League teams, the Padres still managed to sign all nine of the players they drafted in the first 10 rounds.

They just had to get resourceful to do so.

"We still went after the players that we wanted," said Padres first-year scouting director Mark Conner. "We just had to be creative."

The Padres were able to make all of this work, in part, because they got their last two picks in the first 10 rounds to sign for well below the recommended slot for their respective spots.

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The Padres took two four-year college players in rounds Nos. 9 and 10.

Jerry Keel, a left-handed pitcher from Cal-State Northridge, was taken in the ninth round. He signed for $10,000 at a spot where $161,400 was the recommended slot amount. In the 10th round, the team selected Lehigh outfielder Justin Pacchioli, also giving him $10,000. The recommended bonus for that slot was $150,600.

The Padres were able to give their first pick (second round), pitcher Austin Smith, more money ($1.2 million) than his slot ($1,178,400) and third-round pitcher Jacob Nix $900,000 instead of the recommended slot for that spot ($687,300).

The Padres were also able to get their fifth-round pick, high school outfielder Josh McGee, to sign for $275,000 instead, below the recommended slot ($362,300).

Conner said the ability to get these players to come in below slot is a credit to the players and also the area scout for each player.

"A lot of it is the area scout relationship. With the system we have in place now, you have to get creative with everything," Conner said. "We took a couple of seniors at nine and 10 and, I think it's creating a realistic expectation for them.

"Everyone wants more in everything. It's just being realistic. For us this was 'where you fit, do you have interest?' Guys we knew were willing to help the organization and we think are good players in the end."

With two weeks of separation now from the Draft, Conner was asked if he liked his class as much as he did after the Draft.

"I think it's a good class. At the end of the day, I felt our guys did a good job if identifying talent. We took players that we liked," Conner said. "At the end of the day, that's the most important thing. I truly believe we'll like these guys."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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