Phillies Have Deals With Top Two Picks

The Phillies drafted 50 players in this week's draft and they've got the top two deals already done. It's a good start to filling out the rosters for the short-season clubs.

Technically, top pick Jesse Biddle isn't signed yet, but there is a deal in place just waiting for an official signature. The only hold up is that teams can't sign high school players until they've officially graduated and Biddle's graduation isn't official until Friday. Immediately after that, he'll sign his deal with the Phillies and head for Clearwater to start getting ready for the short-season leagues, most likely the Gulf Coast League for Biddle.

With Biddle's deal done, the Phillies turned their attention to their second pick, pitcher Perci Garner out of Ball State. Like Biddle, the impressive right-hander was an easy deal to get done with the two sides working out a contract that will also have Garner head for Clearwater. It's possible that Garner will report to Williamsport in time for the New York - Penn League season.

Biddle, who attended Germantown Friends near Philadelphia, didn't figure to be a tough pick for the Phillies to sign. Yes, Biddle had a letter of intent to attend Oregon, but when a kid has the chance to be drafted by the hometown team that he has always loved, going to college somewhere across the country doesn't seem like a great enticement. It's likely that the Phillies could have wined and dined the kid at Geno's or Pat's Steaks and gotten him a tour of the Tastykake factory and he would have signed anything that they put in front of him. And what kid wouldn't?

As for Garner, he could have returned to Ball State, but odds are that he wasn't necessarily going to get himself any higher than the second round and a pro contract was just too good to pass up.

Down the road, the Phillies face much tougher signings. For instance high school, catcher Tyler Ross - taken with pick number 1,401 - is throwing around concerns about money being the issue to getting himself signed like a kid drafted that low has no right to be doing. Ross is committed to LSU and was going to be a tough signing because of that commitment, which is why he fell lower in the draft and his latest comments aren't encouraging.

"It really depends on the money. That's the main thing now," said Ross.

Fifth round pick Scott Frazier is committed to Pepperdine and could be one of the tougher picks for the Phillies to sign out of their top ten choices. On the upside, Frazier's "advisers" are Creative Arts, who also handle Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard, two Phillies players who recently got nice extensions, so there may be some good will built up between the two sides.

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