Post-Signing Day Q&A: Jason McLeod (Pt 2)

With Aug. 15 in the rear-view mirror, we figured it was a good time to catch up with Red Sox director of amateur scouting Jason McLeod for an exclusive Q&A regarding the draftees the Sox did—and didn't—sign at the deadline. In part two, McLeod discusses the Hunter Morris saga, the new deadline and the "slot" recommendations and why fans shouldn't expect the Sox to sign everyone they select.

How about Hunter Morris? Were you surprised you were unable to sign him?

Jason McLeod: No, I think we knew a month ago that it wasn't going to get done. It was unfortunate. Obviously, you never want to feel like you've missed on a second-round pick in terms of not being able to sign the player. We had an understanding that if we selected him that he was going to sign for the amount that our area scout had talked to him about. And unfortunately, he changed his mind. And I think he was hoping to get something more [than] what slot paid out. And we said no. We put a value on the player and we just didn't see [going beyond] that in that scenario. We didn't see us going forward off that number, moving off it. And I wish Hunter the best. It's unfortunate that it happened. He's a great kid. He came down and worked for us down there in Greenville and we really like him personally. And I hope it works out for him at Auburn. But we just decided we were going to part ways and not get that done.


Is there anyone else whom you thought you'd be able to sign and didn't?

Jason McLeod: Not really. We did spend a lot of time this summer scouting the kids and we scouted the [players such as] Justin Grimms. And at the end of the day, a player has expectations and you have to place a value on where you would go for that player. And some of these guys, the gap was just too wide. And I have a responsibility to the Boston Red Sox to make the best decisions for the organization going forward [with] signing amateur players. And just because we're a team that's seen as a big [or] a large-market club—or call it what you will, a team that has deeper pockets—that doesn't mean that I'm going to be irresponsible with that money. I take this responsibility greatly. And if you just have a gap that's too wide, I'm not just going to go spend money.


Along those lines, what do you say to fans who expect you to sign every single player you draft exactly because you're a large-market team>

Jason McLeod: What I would say is take it the way I do: Our draft is an investment for the franchise going forward. And all these players, it's like a personal portfolio ever year. I'm going to do my best to spend John Henry's money as wisely as I can. So I would say if this is your money that you were investing, would you just go spend foolishly on the high-priced items that are out there because you have [money]? I don't think people would. That's how I treat it. Again: I'm not going to be irresponsible and just buy up expensive items because the money's in the checking account. It's not going to work that way.


Do you have a strict and set amount of money you can spend on each draft or is it a fluid amount?

Jason McLeod: We certainly have a budget. We set a budget for the draft every year and we certainly try to work within it. It hasn't happened yet where—let me put it this way: If something were to happen with a player where we had to go to ownership for more money and we felt extremely strong about why we were doing that, I truly believe that John, Tom [Werner] and Larry [Lucchino] would support us in that.


What kind of effect did the new signing deadline have on negotiations and the draft in general?

Jason McLeod: I don't know if the date so much had an effect as probably the [slot] recommendations being reduced from last year. And again, it's all over the web, it's all over the papers, about that—signings going up this year. Although I think you've got to look at that with a grain of salt somewhat because of the major league deals that were given out inflated the numbers somewhat. I don't think the deadline did much to change things other than you just kind of [had a] universal date you had to have it done by. And I'm sure there were long days in the days leading up to it. But I still think, in the end, teams still did what they were going to do whether Aug. 15 was the signing deadline or not.

I don't think [the slot recommendations] had much [effect] on who was signed and who wasn't. Look at the first two rounds of the draft: There weren't many who were unsigned [two out of 94], although we were unfortunately one team that did have a player who [didn't] sign. I don't think it changed in that regard, in the players signing. I think it made a little bit difficult to try to negotiate, if you will, [because] you were working with lower numbers and lower figures.


Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752. To subscribe to Diehard or diehardmagazine.com, CLICK HERE.

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