The drama surrounding Brady Aiken and the Houston Astros has reached soap opera levels, and LSU awaits the fallout.
With the deadline just days away for MLB clubs to sign draft picks, the Tigers are still keeping a close eye on the Astros and their pursuit of Mac Marshall. What ultimately happens between those two parties will depend significantly on Aiken, the Astros' first overall selection.
That situation took a turn for the worse Tuesday, as Aiken's advisor, MLB agent Casey Close, publicly criticized the Astros in an interview with Fox Sports.
TSD outlined the issues last week between the Astros and Aiken, explaining how that affects LSU. Give the link a click for the details.
To summarize, the Astros have significantly lowered their offer to Aiken with hopes of using the additional savings to sign a pair of high-school arms — Marshall and fifth-round pick Jacob Nix. The Astros claim they're concerned with a problem in Aiken's elbow, but his advisor cried foul to Fox Sports.
"We are extremely disappointed that Major League Baseball is allowing the Astros to conduct business in this manner with a complete disregard for the rules governing the draft and the 29 other clubs who have followed those same rules,” Close said. Read the full Fox Sports story here.
All this drama has created the very real possibility that Houston fails to sign their first overall selection. That's the best-case scenario for LSU as that would force Houston to forfeit the allotted slot money for that pick — about $7.9 million — leaving them with nothing to offer Marshall.
But if the Astros do manage to sign Aiken for a discounted rate, an offer as low as about $3.1 million has been reported, that would free them make a significant run at Marshall.
The Astros have maintained contact with both Marshall and his advisor. As recently as this past weekend, Houston invited Marshall to come for a visit, though he declined because of school obligations.
Marshall has been in Baton Rouge since June taking summer classes, giving the Tigers optimism that it'll take a significant offer from the Astros for Marshall to even consider going pro at this point. But the LSU coaches will still sweat until the deadline passes, as losing Marshall at this stage would be a devastating blow for their 2014 signing class.
LSU will closely monitor what happens between the Astros and Aiken. Tiger coaches have even been in contact with Aiken's advisor to stay updated on the negotiations, ensuring they aren't caught off guard.
But even if the Astros make a significant offer to Marshall, there's no guarantee he takes it. Especially when you consider that he's been immersed in LSU life for more than a month now, the Tigers are hopeful that Marshall remains adamant in his commitment to college.
Marshall has even said publicly that he doesn't intend to sign professionally. But LSU knows that won't stop the Astros from pursuing him and will await that deadline with cautious optimism.
The drama will only increase over the next couple days, making this still a trying time for the Tigers. To stay updated on the situation, head to the premium TSD Message Board for the latest.
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