LSU’s anxiously counting down the minutes until the deadline finally passes for MLB Draft picks to sign. The Tigers are still closely monitoring what happens between Mac Marshall, the Houston Astros and Brady Aiken, crossing their fingers and toes with hopes their signing class remains intact.
The signing period officially ends at 4 p.m. local time, so LSU won’t have to wait much longer, but these final few hours will certainly be tense for the folks at Alex Box Stadium.
Not much has changed in the last few days when it comes to the Astros’ chances of stealing Marshall from LSU. It all depends on whether Houston can sign Aiken and for how much.
No one outside those negotiations has a good feel for what’s going to happen, as both parties have kept a pretty tight lid on the situation. But it’s hard to believe Houston letting their first overall pick walk away without a deal. Both Aiken and the Astros have too much to risk to not come to an agreement, which has led most experts to predict Aiken does eventually sign.
The question becomes: For how much and what will it take for Marshall to do the same?
According to sources on the LSU side, Marshall does have a number for which he’s willing to sign. Although he’s said all the right things publicly regarding the strength of his commitment, if the Astros offer Marshall about $1.5-1.6 million, LSU expects him to take it.
The Astros originally offered Marshall $1 million after taking him in the 21st round of June’s draft. He turned it down and began his life as a student athlete at LSU, enrolling in summer classes and working out with his fellow teammates. But Houston has never let up in its pursuit of Marshall, and they’re now trying to make the numbers work to match his desired bonus.
Between Aiken and Marshall, the Astros have about $6.8 million available to sign both prospects. So in order for Marshall to accept their offer, the Astros will need to get Aiken down to about $5.2-5.3 million.
Their original offer following the draft was $6.5 million, to which the two parties agreed. But once the Astros discovered ligament issues with Aiken’s elbow, they dropped the offer to $5 million. That didn’t sit well with Aiken nor his advisor, who has come out publicly to criticize the Astros’ handling of these negotiations.
In order to make the numbers work, Houston will have to get Aiken closer to their second offer, which is still a considerable amount of money. But perhaps the relationship between Houston and Aiken has soured to the point that he’s unwilling to cooperate on a deal lower than the original agreement.
Aiken not signing at all remains the best-case scenario from the LSU perspective. If he does sign, the Tigers have to hope the Astros don’t have enough left over to make their offer to Marshall. But if Houston can put together about $1.5-1.6 million, the Tigers do expect to lose him, which would be a devastating blow to their signing class this late in the process.
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LSU awaits MLB signing deadline
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