Immediate reactions to the Red Sox' draft were more than a little positive this year, but as always, it all depends on just how many of their picks the Sox could sign. And with less than 12 hours to go until the signing deadline, the Sox still have a lot of work to do.
The team has alreadly signed its first pair of picks in Bryce Brentz and Kolbrin Vitek, but those were the easy ones, willing to sign at, or at least around the suggested bonus for their pick in the draft. Less simple was the signing of Kendrick Perkins, whose $600,000 bonus came in well over slot.
Now the Sox have four of their top six picks left to sign, and in those picks, the majority of the talent in their draft. The cream of the crop is Anthony Ranaudo, whose strong Cape Cod League stint has returned his stock towards that of the top-10 talent he was before an injury-plagued year at LSU. Not too far behind are the Sox' picks from rounds two to four: Brandon Workman, Sean Coyle, and Garin Cecchini, all top talents in their own right, and all seeking big, seven figure bonuses in their own right.
Experts have remained generally confident in the Sox' ability to sign all four of these picks, only wavering recently on Workman. In fact, the Sox' sudden signing of LSU outfielder Lucas LeBlanc (who was considered all-but-gone) to an over-slot deal suggests that the Workman deal may well not get done. But still, with less than a day left to get four big deals done, should Sox fans be worried?
The short answer is "not really." This is pretty typical, if perhaps a bit extreme for over-slot talent. Scott Boras, Anthony Ranaudo's agent, is especially known for waiting until the last minute to negotiate, putting the signing team's back against the wall, and the MLB has been encouraging teams to keep their signings, particularly over-slot ones, under wraps until the deadline. It's entirely possible that some picks are already signed, and just not announced. Remember, this is the team that quietly signed John Lackey under everyone's noses without anyone noticing (the wisdom of that aside). The idea that they could keep a signing secret isn't exactly hard to believe.
Still, even if they do miss out on some of their picks, it's not the end of the world. If the Sox should fail to sign Ranaudo or Workman, they'll get essentially the same pick in next year's fairly deep draft. Not signing Coyle would bump them down a little to a pick between the third and fourth rounds, but still a pretty similar spot. Still, it's unlikely that the Sox will be happy just letting talents like those three go, and they knew what they were getting into demands-wise when they drafted them.
No matter what, it promises to be an interesting day.