TigsTown Draft Notebook: Whose Gonna Sign?

With the signings of three more players last week, including third-rounder Luke Putkonen and 43rd-rounder Richard Zumaya, the Tigers have signed 24 of their 45 selections from June's draft, but don't be surprised if that number pushes 30 by the time the signing period ends next month.

Obviously, the biggest prizes are first-round selection Rick Porcello and fifth-round pick Casey Crosby. In both cases, negotiations have dragged on slowly due to the rollback on bonuses that MLB has placed on bonuses.

However, it seems the Tigers are prepared to add several of their late-round picks, which if they are able to sign them in addition to Porcello, Crosby, and potentially Cale Iorg and Dominic De la Osa, this draft could potentially be the best in team history.

Besides Crosby, the Tigers have been in discussions with the other prep lefties they selected, which include Chris Hernandez (14), Matt Hoffman (26), and Forrest Moore (32). The Tigers also have high profile right-handers Kevin Rhoderick (18), and Kyle Brule (21), as well as college standouts Steve Susdorf (27) and Warren McFadden (28) under control, so there is no question the Tigers have many options to choose from.

One option that closed this week was Barrett Loux (24), who turned down a substantial offer from the Tigers and will attend Texas A&M. The projectable right-hander missed time this spring with shoulder problems, but is healthy now and has been clocked at 95. Look for him to resurface as a potential premium-round pick in 2010 if he continues to make good progress with the Aggies.

Despite losing Loux, the Tigers could still land a handful of these players, and it would be a huge boon to a farm system that needs an infusion of high ceiling prospects, and it would be a welcome change of aggressiveness in pursuing later round picks after losing several players without making much effort to land them. In Crosby's case, the Tigers had agreed to his bonus parameters right after the draft, but don't expect any announcement on the left-hander's potential signing until right before the deadline to at least appease the commissioner's office.

For those who live in the mid-Michigan area, you will get the chance to see Crosby take the hill for his summer team, the Illinois Sparks, who will be competing at the Connie Mack Regional in Battle Creek this weekend. If his team wins the regional, they will compete at the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, New Mexico the following weekend.

As far as Porcello goes, he has spent the summer thus far working out with a private trainer to stay in peak shape while keeping an eye on how things are going on the negotiation front. Speaking of which, look for negotiations between the Tigers and Scott Boras to begin in earnest after the trade deadline when general manager Dave Dombrowski has the opportunity to get involved with the proceedings.

With just three weeks to go to the finish line, the Tigers are in the rare position to add a lot of premium talent to their organization. Who they sign is obviously the biggest question, and that likely won't be resolved until after August 15th.

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