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Orioles close to signing top draft picks: What we know

Rutschman's signing bonus could be historic

June 24, 2019 - 2:48 pm
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By Jake McDonnell 

With Major League Baseball’s July 12 cutoff date for clubs to sign 2019 draft picks two and a half weeks away, the Orioles appear close to signing their top two picks. 

Earlier today reports started swirling regarding the status of first-overall selection, Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman and second-round high school infielder Gunnar Henderson. Per MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman, Baltimore is close to reaching a deal with Rutschman that could break the record for the largest signing bonus given to a drafted player. 

Regarding Henderson’s status, a local reporter from an Alabama news station said in a tweet yesterday that the young shortstop will sign with Baltimore sometime this week. Then earlier today MLB Pipeline writer Jim Callis released the assumed dollar figure of Henderson’s pending contract. 

Should both of these signings go through, the Orioles will have 31 of their 41 draft selections under contract. 

The expectation all along was that both of these players would get signed, but sometimes high school prospects take some time to put pen to paper due to prior college commitments. 

It was never a question whether Rutschman would get signed. The most pressing question with him seems to be figuring out at which level of the Orioles minor league pipeline he’ll be assigned to. Many baseball pundits have already said that Rutschman is talented enough to skip rookie ball. It will be exciting to see if the Orioles go the classic route and start him at Aberdeen or ship him to Delmarva to play with his former Oregon State teammate Cadyn Grenier. 

Although the deals remain unofficial as of this writing, it appears that some of the “big fish” Mike Elias referred to after the draft are close to officially becoming Baby Birds. After that point, it’s just a matter of getting these players to their appropriate levels and finding out if Rutschman’s rapid acceleration to the major leagues comes to fruition. 

UPDATE: The Orioles officially signed Rutschman just after 6:00 p.m. on Monday night. Per MASN's Roch Kubatko, Rutschman will take part in a press conference Tuesday afternoon ahead of the Orioles 7:05 start against the Padres. Then during the game, Rutschman will wave to the fans to give Baltimore a chance to welcome the second first-overall pick in franchise history. Henderson is believed to have agreed to a deal with the dollar figure mentioned above but it is not confirmed that he has been in the building yet to put pen to paper.