DETROIT – The Tigers wasted little time signing top pick Riley Greene. They didn’t even wait until the end of the MLB Draft.
The Tigers had just made their 11th-round pick Wednesday afternoon when they announced that they had signed their first. According to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Greene’s deal includes a signing bonus of $6,180,700, the full slot value for the fifth overall selection.
The signing is not a surprise. Though Greene committed to play college ball at Florida way back when he was a freshman in high school, his comments after being drafted Monday night left little mystery his interests were in pro ball.
“My dream is to play professional baseball,” he said, “and I'm going to get a chance to do that now.”
Greene will be officially introduced at Comerica Park on Friday.
By reaching a deal so soon, Greene can get to work in the Tigers' farm system. He’ll most likely report to the Tigers’ Spring Training complex in Lakeland, Fla., then eventually play this summer in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Another high school outfielder, Parker Meadows, took the same track last summer after the Tigers drafted him with the first pick of the second round last year; he’s now at Class A West Michigan.
Though the Tigers have worked in recent years to sign their top pick for under-slot value so they can have extra bonus money for later picks, that wasn’t expected to be an issue this year. Greene was the only high school player the Tigers drafted in the top 10 rounds; the rest were college players. High school players typically have more negotiating leverage, since they can go to college and go back in the Draft in a few years. A college junior can go back to school for his senior season, but it typically doesn’t carry the same leverage.
The final day of the Draft continues Wednesday with Rounds 11-40 streaming exclusively on MLB.com.