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Nationals announce signing of A.J. Cole

The Nationals and A.J. Cole have officially agreed to terms, the team announced on its official Twitter feed. The Nationals signed Cole for $2 million, according to a team source, the highest bonus ever given to a fourth-round pick.

Cole, 18, a 6-foot-5 right-hander from Oviedo High in Florida, had a commitment to the University of Miami. He had the talent to picked in the first round, but fell in the draft over concern of how much it would cost to sign. Baseball America ranked Cole the No. 16 prospect before the draft after he struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings this season.

The Nationals have now signed 24 of their top 26 picks. Virginia Tech shortstop Tim Smalling has decided he will return to school for his senior season, meaning the final top choice left to sign is first overall pick Bryce Harper. The Nats have until midnight to sign him (in case you hadn't heard).

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 16, 2010; 10:06 PM ET
Categories:  draft , minors & farm system  | Tags: A.J. Cole  
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Next: Final-hour drama ends as Nationals sign Bryce Harper

Comments

Well. I was off on the signing by about an hour....

NOW we wait...

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Brutal 24 hours in progress for the Lerners-are-cheapists. About to go to $500k and counting in the "money we didn't have to pay Scott Olsen" category; spraying cash around on drafts picks like it's confetti; and of course the big money to Harper yet to come...

Remember cheapies: it's down, not across.

Posted by: joebleux | August 16, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

who is this Bryce Harper you speak of?

Posted by: cabraman | August 16, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Man, the Nationals are going to be deep in pitching from the majors to the lowest levels of the minors. Assuming Cole and Solis go to A ball next year, Peacock stays at AA for a at least the first half and Millone moves to AAA, they will have quality starting pitching prospects at every level.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 16, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Although I remain very bummed about the mind numbingly cheap ways of the horrid ownership I must say that this draft from Rizzo was fantastic, and if they can keep Bryce, it could be a franchise turning draft.

Bryce-Consider a once a decade caliber power hitter.

Solis-Generally evaluated as a guy who should have gone 20-35 in the draft, and we got him 50th or thereabouts.

Third Rounder Short Stop, was given a first round grade by one site, and was generally seen as a very high upside guy we got 20 or so spots after he should have gone.

4th Rounder AJ Cole was projected by some to go top 5 in spring '09, and still seen as a top 10 talent heading into early '10. We got him in the 4th round.

Spectacular draft, particularly considering we've signed everyone save harper and one other guy who declined (22nd round guy or something). If we get Harper, this is just a huge all around draft, all the more valuable considering that it appears we may have missed on a few pitchers in recent years and to land Solis and especially Cole is beyond good. It's what great teams do. What a great haul. Maybe there is a future for the Nats. We just need new ownership (pipe dream, I know).

Posted by: graywolfe81 | August 16, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

@Jeffreyt211: Cole is 18...No way he goes to A ball next year. GCL and maybe Vermont, IMO

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

TimDz...he might see low A in the second half. Mostly I was referring to Solis to start in A ball. Solis is a college kid.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 16, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I have this vision of Boras and Rizzo having already cut a deal and sitting around watching Friends re runs and drinking scotch until 11:59 to announce the signing.

Posted by: cabraman | August 16, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

gray: Do you think that the ownership has nothing to say about the money paid to the draftpicks? Rizzo drafted them, the front office signed them, but they did so with the Lerners' money and support.

Not only have they signed 24 of their top 26 draft picks, and presumably will pay in excess of 10 million to lock up the number one pick, they also spent some coin on an international signing this year...real money.

If you want to look at their inability to sign Dunn as evidence of their inappropriate thriftiness, then that's fine. But to continue to term their spending habits "mind numbingly cheap" is simply refusing to credit the ownership for doing what everyone slammed them for failing to do.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | August 16, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

jeffreyt211: Rizzo seems to have a more patient take on the kids...look at Smoker. I think he got pushed up too soon. Then again, maybe Smoker was a mistake. But, being a lefty, he may have a future out of the pen.

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

"Great haul" doesn't get done without the owners' acquiescence. Easy to call owners cheap when you're spending their money. And I don't sense that Rizzo has been denied the financial support for his remake of the Nats. Bum rap.

Posted by: McKinley2 | August 16, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

and to be fair, wasn't smoker drafted by bowden.

Posted by: JDB1 | August 16, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

14 minutes to go for the big prize. Lets hope this is the last Number 1 pick we ever have to sign again

Posted by: mastroj | August 16, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Could be.

The mistake with Smoker was whoever thought he could throw in the mid to high 90s. He never approached that velocity with the Nationals.

I think Solis will play at a Hagerstown at a minimum, probably moving to Potomac mid-season. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cole in H-town at some point, next season.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 16, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

The Lerners are now burning cash like Steinbrenner.

Just save some cash for 11:58pm tonight for Bryce Harper and about $45 million for 3 years for Adam Dunn and I will start posting for the apologists that the Lerners are here to win.

Posted by: dmacman88 | August 16, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Don't they have until 12?

Posted by: Cavalier83 | August 16, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

JDB1: Smoker was drafted and his development was nurtured by Segway boy...
My point was that, under Rizzo, the younger players seem to be moved up with a bit more patience, which is (IMO) crucial with young arms.
If Bowdon was still in charge (God help us), I wonder if Destin Hood would have been pushed through to AA ball by now.

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

mlb trade rumors reports Jamison Taillon (#2 overall) signed for 5 million...

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

@mastroj: 11 PM Central time...midnight Eastern Time...we still have about 55 minutes...

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

It depends more on the player than the GM. I think Rizzo likes to challenge his players. I don't think he has a boilerplate for each player.

Most importantly neither does Doug Harris. They will move players as fast they think the players can be moved.

The only reason Drew Storen wasn't with the club at the beginning of the season was to get a "free year" out of him. This year probably won't count towards arbitration.

If Solis and Cole are productive, they will move quickly. If not, they won't.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 16, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

not so sure about Storen, Jeffrey...I think he can make that "super-two" status...
Given that he is a reliever, the $$$ he can get in arbitration is far less than SS could get.
I could be wrong here...

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh, August 16th, International Borat Day again. Brilliant. I like the "done the deal, drinking Scotch and watching Friends" theory.
Borat still sucks but whatever.
PS What/how is Aaron Crow doing in the KC system anyway? Last I heard we weren't looking so bad for walking away from that one. This draft has more than enough to make up for that.

Posted by: lousywebsite | August 16, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

tic
tic
tic
tic
tic
tic
tic
tic
tic

Ain't the suspense wonderful?

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Storen might make super two but that doesn't change the reason the Nats sent him down this year. It was about starting his arbitration clock.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 16, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

@Jeffreyt, from MLB trade rumors:

If Drew Storen stays on the Nationals' roster all season, he will pile up 140 days of service time this year, enough to have a good chance at Super Two status after 2012. There are no guarantees that relievers- young or old- can maintain enough consistency to merit a roster spot all season long. And there are no guarantees that Storen will accumulate a full year of service time in 2011 and 2012.

But Storen's pedigree (drafted 10th overall) and hot start (10.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9) suggest he's as likely as any 22-year-old to stay in the major leagues. If he does, he'll be a Super Two in a couple years and will cost the Nationals more because he will go to arbitration four times, instead of the usual three.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/05/drew-storen-on-track-for-super-two-status.html

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes, depends on who else came up this year, when they came up and if they stay up the next two years.

Still, even as a reliever, he will never see the money Lincecum got as a super two.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 16, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

2 minutes to go on Harper.....

In other "Never-to-be-heard-from-again" news: Virginia Tech shortstop Tim Smalling has decided he will return to school for his senior season.

Say hello to Aaron Crowe!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | August 17, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Cav,

Of course the learner's are involved to some extent in getting this deal done. I'm sure they have some influence on it. That doesn't negate any of the cheapness argument though. An owner would have to be criminally stupid AND cheap to not realize that the cheapest, most cost effective way to acquire potential elite talent in baseball is through the draft. Essentially an artificial ceiling on cost, and limitless potential. They don't get kudos from me for doing that, they just avoid getting ripped even harder for emulating the means by which teams like the Pirates insured the complete devastation of a once proud franchise.

The whole spending their money spiel doesn't work for me either. Owning a team is a public trust. A huge portion of these teams (all sports franchises) for decades has been getting stadiums built for them free by cities and then handed over to them to be part of their future equity of the team that they can sell for big dollars down the line. We don't see any of that, and if they can have the gaul to take those free stadiums, and still fill it with minor league talent, and not even choose to compete? Hell yeah im going to rip them, and much more than simply lines like "mind numbingly cheap". The Learners have enjoyed a free ride in this town for half a decade. Now they've pumped the system full of talent for a couple of drafts, and will have zero excuse for not resigning players, and adding the last touches to a team that should be mighty competitive by '12. To not do so would be criminal, mind numbingly cheap, and it would also involve them spending our money and laughing at us while they do it. Certainly not the reverse. The woe is me, argument for owners is not one I buy. Not in a sport that refuses to demand salary cap floors, refuses to insure all shared revenue is not re-fed into the team, demands that we pay them for the right to be robbed blind while being fed a lousy product.

I do believe, however, that the sport is to a degree, broken, its just that unlike Kasten, i believe it extends far, far deeper than the draft (which was such a one sided argument by him by the way, a system that already benefits owners and screws over players should be changed to screw over players even more?), and if something isnt done about it, it might never come close to being revived again. Too many cities like Pittsburgh and KC have seen decades go by, with children going into men and never seeing their team have a hope in hell of winning anything. That kills fanbases for particular sports. Hopefully this draft, and the last couple of years, will finally be a positive story for D.C. and baseball, something that's virtually never occured when it comes to baseball and D.C., ever.

Posted by: graywolfe81 | August 17, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"Owning a team is a public trust."- Wrong. It is what it is.

If there wasn't something in it for the city, like revenue, they wouldn't have spent the money.

The owners made a $130M bid for Texiera, and OVERPAID for Guzman.

They spent money to get Ramos. They spent the $$$ on Strasburg. $$$ on Harper.

That draft pick that nobody would sign, AJ Cole, because he wanted too much money? Yep, Lerners signed him- for BIG $$$. That's right- they picked up a prospect because they were willing to spend more money thatn anyone else in baseball.

They could sign all the sexy free agents on the market, just to appease people like you and still NOT WIN ANYTHING, or they can adopt the approach of Florida, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Colorado, and Texas, and spend it wisely.

Spending just for the heck of it is a bad move no matter how rich you are because that $$$ could be better spent on more promising, reliable talent in the future.

Compare the amount they spend to the amount they bring in in ticket sales and TV money, then tell me they are cheap.

Cheap would be charging $50 for a ticket, pricing certain people out of the stadium- THAT would kill a fanbase. Baseball games are more affordable for DC residents, who haven't had it in 40 years, than football, basketball, hockey, or that sport where they kick a ball around.

If you feel alienated by Nats' the approach to organizational development, then go away. I prefer a more enlightened fanbase. Move to Chicago, where they haven't won anything in a century, it costs you $30 to sit in the bleachers, and the ownership spends $200M annually on player salaries.

Posted by: jboogie1 | August 17, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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