M’s Sign Steven Baron

Dave · July 9, 2009 at 3:14 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

So, the whole drama surrounding the M’s third pick in the draft is over, as the M’s signed him today for $980,000 according to some guy named Conor Glassey. That’s $44,000 more than the recommended slot bonus for the 33rd pick in the draft. I’m sure you remember that we were one of many people to report the rumor of a pre-draft deal that the M’s struck with Baron, agreeing to select him about 25-50 spots ahead of where he would go otherwise in exchange for signing a deal below slot.

Obviously, that didn’t happen. Was there never really a pre-draft deal in place? Did Baron back out of his commitment after the M’s selected him in order to get a larger signing bonus? All we know are whispers, and now, they don’t really matter that much. He’s a Mariner, and he’ll be reporting to Pulaski to begin his professional career.


24 Responses to “M’s Sign Steven Baron”

  1. Mere Tantalisers on July 9th, 2009 3:36 pm

    Dammit, I thought our new FO was perfect and infallible. I guess if Baron goes all Mauer it can still be infallible.

    Oh well, the money’s spent and it wasn’t mine so go get ’em Stevie.

  2. Jay Yencich on July 9th, 2009 3:41 pm

    Crap. I was about to get this one.

    I’ll add what I can to this, based off of some videos I was watching of him before they got taken down. Baron’s defensive reputation is well -earned. His transfer are smooth as can be, he gets out of the crouch fast, throws well, and blocks naturally and effectively. Even when he’s knocking errant pitches down, he seems to know exactly where they are at all times. Baron is definitely a cerebral catcher and a lot of the time you can see him responding to take advantage of the circumstances around him even as the pitch is still coming to the plate. This is refreshing to see after years of the M’s drafting bats and hoping that they can catch.

    The downside? Baron is pretty much the opposite of the Adam Moore and Jeff Clement models. He can catch, and no one will ever question that I think, but whether he’ll ever be able to hit is another matter. He has a timing mechanism he uses, one of the standard toe-tapping often seen in high schoolers, that frequently leaves him with an awkward weight-transfer as he’s hitting. That’s going to make the switch to wood bats a bit unpleasant. But I could watch him play defense for hours.

  3. scottiedawg on July 9th, 2009 3:43 pm

    Is there a place in the majors for the catching version of Adam Everett?

  4. CMC_Stags on July 9th, 2009 3:48 pm

    Does Rob Johnson have a job?

  5. CMC_Stags on July 9th, 2009 3:51 pm

    Not to say that Johnson is as good as Everett, but if the M’s are willing to carry a no-bat catcher who isn’t as great defensively as we like, then Baron has a chance.

    Sounds like his defensive ceiling is best in the majors so if he could put up not quite worst in the majors hitting, he’d be a decent prospect.

  6. djw on July 9th, 2009 3:52 pm

    Sounds like Baron actually is what Rob Johnson theoretically is. (But can he call a good game?? What’s his CERA????)

  7. SonOfZavaras on July 9th, 2009 4:03 pm

    This comes just the slightest fraction away from pissing me off.

    The whole reason to pick Baron at that slot- pre-draft deal in place or not- was to save money.

    I understand his defense is first-rate for an 18-year-old. But I don’t care if Ivan Rodriguez looks at this guy and says “Man, I wish I had been that good at his age”.

    You can’t tell me a prep kid with a swing that needs to start from scratch is worth nearly a million dollars. When you were looking to get him for somewhere around half-a-mil.

    If we were gonna spend money like that at that slot, I’d’ve preferred about a couple dozen players over Baron, that I think probably would be worth the expenditure.

    Bunk. Bunk. Bunk. I disagree with this, but what to do except hope the kid is the next Benito Santiago….

  8. Mike Snow on July 9th, 2009 4:07 pm

    Was there never really a pre-draft deal in place? Did Baron back out of his commitment after the M’s selected him in order to get a larger signing bonus?

    To me, the evidence suggests the former. That would be consistent with the fact that the Mariners never picked anyone who clearly dropped for signability reasons. The rumored deal was tied to the idea that they would use the extra money on someone else. Logically, it would appear that they picked the player they wanted at each slot according to their budget, rather than trying to reallocate money from one slot to another.

  9. PositivePaul on July 9th, 2009 4:17 pm

    Interesting – so in addition to the $980K, he also gets $200K for college. Huh…

  10. Sports on a Schtick on July 9th, 2009 4:23 pm

    Lots of good prospects the M’s passed up for Baron. But I guess if they rebuild his swing he’s got a lot of upside. Whatever.

  11. cdowley on July 9th, 2009 4:58 pm

    If he puts his swing together, maybe he can be a Yadier Molina type with a bit better defensive makeup?

    Not thrilled about the price tag, tho. Dissapointed about it given the apparent intent to use him to save money.

    Still, I really like him overall. If he can even get his bat to fringish-average, we could see him in the majors fairly quickly with his defensive skills (by quickly, I mean about three years. He is in high school after all…)

  12. Breadbaker on July 9th, 2009 5:26 pm

    Logically, it would appear that they picked the player they wanted at each slot according to their budget, rather than trying to reallocate money from one slot to another.

    But that raises the question of why the M’s had Steven Baron so much higher than anyone else for that slot. If there’s one thing the organization doesn’t need to stock up on, it’s catchers who can’t hit (along with catchers who can’t catch).

  13. diderot on July 9th, 2009 5:53 pm

    Is there a place in the majors for the catching version of Adam Everett?

    Seems to have worked for Brad Ausmus.

    (But it won’t work for Rob Johnson because he’s a lousy catcher).

  14. jordan on July 9th, 2009 5:54 pm

    Well, this is very annoying.

  15. georgmi on July 9th, 2009 6:20 pm

    I don’t get why folks are upset. The Mariners spent significantly less than one percent of their ML payroll budget more on this guy than we thought they were going to. They wanted him, they got him.

    Yeah, half a million bucks is a lot for me, but it’s not that big a deal for this ball club. I promise y’all, the M’s are not going to let some other kid go unsigned because this kid cost more than expected.

  16. The Ancient Mariner on July 9th, 2009 7:18 pm

    What is is what is. Is he the best player they could have taken at that slot? Probably not, but he’s the one they took; would we really have been better off letting him go unsigned? For such a small chunk of the organizational budget, I don’t see how.

    And I have to admit, if Zduriencik and his scouts looked at this kid and said, “His instincts are good, we can fix his swing” — well, not only do I figure they know what they’re talking about, but it makes sense to me. The burn rate on catching prospects isn’t good, so even the best is a gamble, and at least to my untrained eye, it looks like this kid has the physical tools to be a good hitter; he just needs the coaching. I wouldn’t go so far as to predict that he’ll be a good major-league catcher, but it wouldn’t shock me speechless, either.

  17. Joe on July 9th, 2009 8:13 pm

    Lots of good prospects the M’s passed up for Baron.

    And 80-90% of them will never see the majors. Whether they had signed with the M’s or not. Of course, if you’re going to roll the dice you want to roll them on the best upside shot you can find, but the reality is that it IS a crapshoot and getting too wound up about any particular pick is just a recipe for craziness. And lord knows this team has plenty of other ways to cook that dish.

  18. Gerald on July 9th, 2009 9:56 pm

    The decision to send him to Pulaski puzzles me. Wouldn’t a High School kid who needs to overhaul his swing be better off in Peoria?

  19. SonOfZavaras on July 9th, 2009 10:01 pm

    Good point, Gerald. Maybe they just want to introduce Baron to pro ball and wooden bats, and figure out where he is and where to begin with said swing-overhaul.

  20. SonOfZavaras on July 9th, 2009 10:03 pm

    Peoria would’ve been my guess for where Baron starts out if you’d put a gun to my head and ask me where I think he goes…but hey, if his glove is ready for Pulaski….

  21. Gomez on July 9th, 2009 10:23 pm

    The M’s org can work on his swing (if they’re going to do so) in Pulaski just as well as they can in Peoria.

    The jump between rookie ball in Arizona and high rookie ball in the App League isn’t exactly chasmic. App League pitchers aren’t exactly polished, complex minor leaguers themselves: That’s why they’re at the Rookie level, rather than A ball or beyond. They’re just a step up the ladder for scouts’ perceptions of their relative talent or relative readiness for pro ball compared to their fellow draftees and org players.

    If Baron’s going to struggle against AZL pitching, he’s not going to struggle all that much more against App League pitching, nor would it break him or set him back any more than AZL pitching would.

  22. Mike Snow on July 9th, 2009 11:11 pm

    Pulaski is closer to Florida than Peoria is. That might have something to do with it, and has about the same importance as the difference between the two leagues.

  23. Mekias on July 10th, 2009 5:38 am

    Is there any evidence that a great game caller/defensive catcher can help quicken the development of his pitchers?

    Maybe Pulaski has some pitchers that need that kind of help.

  24. Alex on July 10th, 2009 9:17 am

    I guess you should never try these below slow deals. Might as well just overpay for someone who has fallen due to salary demands. Thats much better than trying to save money and ending up paying slot+ anyway.

    Oh well, if he makes the majors it’ll be worth it no matter what he signed for.

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