Dec 6, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos answers questions during the MLB winter meetings at Hilton Anatole. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking: Blue Jays First Round Pick Bickford NOT Expected To Sign

In a conversations with reporters on Thursday, Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos revealed that he does not expect first round draft pick Phil Bickford to sign with the team prior to the July 12th deadline, according to Mike Wilner of

The Blue Jays selected Bickford with the 10th overall pick in the June Draft, hoping to lure the flame-throwing right-hander away from a commitment to Cal State Fullerton. However, it appears that the team was unsuccessful in that venture despite a slot value of $2,921,400.

If they fail to secure his signature prior to the deadline, Toronto will be awarded the 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft as compensation. Regardless, it could be seen as a major failure for the Blue Jays, who passed up catcher Reese McGuire (Pittsburgh – 14th), right-hander Braden Shipley (Arizona – 15th), and shortstop J.P. Crawford (Philadelphia – 16th) in the process.

If Bickford does fail to sign, there is somewhat of a silver-lining for the Blue Jays. The slot money that will be freed up will allow the team to heavily pursue some of their late-round picks that were deemed hard signs. That group includes left-hander Jacob Brentz (11th round), who is committed to the University of Missouri, and left-hander Eric Lauer (17th Round), who has committed to Kent State.

This will leave right-hander Clinton Hollon, Toronto’s 2nd round pick, as their highest signed pick of the 2013 MLB draft.

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  • Justin Rideout

    Doesn’t the new CBA mean the Jays will forfeit the slot money by not signing Bickford? In that case there is no benefit this year.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      I don’t believe so. Each team gets a bonus pool they cannot exceed, and each pick in the draft is assigned a slot value. If the team knows its not going to sign the first round pick, that value should become available to use on later round picks, as long as they can use it before the signing deadline expires.

    • Badgerpaw4

      They do loose the slot amount. They have about 2M now to sign any of there picks in rounds 10-40. Jays sign Brentz for 700K and Tellez for 850K.

  • Mech0t1

    Are you not allowed to talk to players first to check their intentions before drafting them? If so, why draft someone if you know/think they won’t sign???