Mahtook agrees with TB with minutes to spare

Rays secure LSU's star outfielder after snaring him with the 31st pick of the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft.

In a deadline-day deal that went literally right down to the wire, LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook bid adieu to the Tigers and college baseball Monday night when he agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays picked Mahtook with the 31st round of the first round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft in June. He confirmed late Monday night that he received a financial package that includes a $1.15 million signing bonus.

"I got my deal done 5 minutes before deadline and I'm very excited," Mahtook said via text message.

It seemed a foregone conclusion Mahtook would jump at the chance to launch his big-league career, but the negotiations dragged on all summer and contract details weren't hammered out until late Monday – minutes before the 11 p.m. central time deadline for players to either maintain their amateur status or sign a pro pact.

As a junior in 2011, Mahtook batted .383 with 14 home runs, five triples, 29 stolen bases, 61 runs scored and 56 RBIs – leading LSU and ranking among the SEC's top five in all categories.

Those numbers earned Mahtook named a spot on the Baseball America first-team All-American team. He was also named first-team All-SEC and was named to the league's all-defensive team.

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's All-America teams were also released Wednesday and Mahtook was tabbed second team.

A three-year starter, Mahtook was a key cog in LSU's 2009 national championship team. He emerged as the starting center fielder in March and batted .316 with 41 runs, seven home runs, 38 RBIs and was spectacular in the field.

He followed that last season by hitting .335 with 14 homers and 50 RBIs, hitting leadoff most of the season.

Despite the loss of Mahtook, LSU managed to hold onto eight players of the 14 current or incoming players taken in the draft. That list includes the pitcher trio of Aaron Nola, Nick Goody and Cody Glenn, a group that is expected to combine with rising sophomores Kurt McCune, Kevin Gausman and Ryan Eades to give the Tigers one of the top staffs in the SEC.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri will address the results of the MLB Draft and the Tigers' incoming recruiting class on Tuesday.

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