Of the three key baseball players that have to decide whether or not to return to Clemson next season, one looks as though he'll return, another appears to be leaving, while the third is still up in the air.
Clemson first baseman Andy D'Alessio, who was drafted in the 10th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers, told CUTigers.com he'll likely return for his senior season, which is good news for Tiger fans.
The main reason he's planning on returning is money and market value.
Coming out of high school in Florida, D'Alessio was drafted in the 10th round with the 291st overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds. The Dodgers selected him this year with the 293rd overall pick.
Location of his selection isn't the issue. The problem is that Los Angeles is offering a considerably lower amount to sign than what the Reds did three years ago. Thus, he's likely going to return to Clemson.
At this point, the odds of pitcher Stephen Faris returning to Clemson don't look good.
Faris, who was drafted in the 12th round by San Diego, has been bartering with the Padres the last week or so and are now very close to reaching a deal.
One of the main sticking points is education. Faris said he won't be able to graduate on time and that he wants the Padres to pay for his two remaining semesters at Clemson and not just one, which is all they are willing to do at this point.
"We're talking right now," he told CUTigers.com. "It's gotten a little closer. We keep talking, but right now, we're at a standstill."
The other issue is the amount of the signing bonus, which Faris is seeking about $100,000. However, the two sides are pretty close in this area and it's doubtful this particular subject will prevent a deal from getting signed.
The third player is Sean Clark, who came out of nowhere and may have been Clemson's best pitcher over the final month of the season.
His decision rests solely on money: Not how much a team is willing to pay, because he wasn't drafted, but rather how much scholarship money the Tigers can give.
Clark has already graduated and will be attending a graduate program if he returns. He'll also have to pay the majority of his tuition and living expenses, which he said would come close to $30,000 per year.
Clark also said that if he did return, he'd do it all the way and get his masters, which takes two years to acquire.
"I don't come from a family with a lot of money, so I've got no one to help me," he told CUTigers.com. "I'm already $30,000 in the hole from loans to come here. I just have to decide whether taking out another $60,000 is worth it."
A few months ago, it was a forgone conclusion that Clark would be in the job force by now, making some serious cash as a financial service broker. That was when he was an afterthought on the roster and had only pitched a few innings.
Then came the ACC Tournament, where out of necessity he started in the championship game. He won that game in amazing fashion to give the Tigers their first tournament title in 12 years.
He then pitched eight innings to get the win in an NCAA Regional game against UNC Asheville, before pitching the opening game of the College World Series, where he also earned a win.
"The ACC Tournament kind of messed everything up," he said. "If everything were free, I'd be pitching at Clemson next year. I'd love to come back, but I just have to figure out if it's feasible. I battle with it every day."
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