TigsTown Roundtable: Sign the '09 Picks?

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Will the Tigers be able to sign Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver and Daniel Fields?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
I think the Tigers end up signing both Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver, but will see Daniel Fields get away and head to Michigan. Turner wants top money, and there is obviously the precedent out there that agent Scott Boras could re-route him to independent ball for a year and try again next summer, but Boras also knows he's already working with one of the organizations most willing to over-spend for premium draft talent. If he can't get it out of the Tigers, how is he going to get it out of another team that hasn't been willing to pay big money before? Oliver's stock fell because of his struggles with his breaking ball, but it's a problem that is correctable, and something he's better off correcting working on it full-time (and Oliver likely knows that too). The risk of returning could also mean he still can't find the pitch, and he'd fall even further in the draft and have little negotiating power. So, in the end, Oliver will sign. But Fields has always been someone that would command first-round money, has strong family influences pushing him toward school, and there is still some uncertainty about how serious the Tigers have been about signing him. I think they make an attempt, but not one big enough to snag him.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I think the Tigers will be able to get two of the three deals done. I believe they will absolutely get the Turner deal done, and I think they'll get one of the two done between Oliver and Fields; with the most likely being Oliver. Turner -- despite having a strong college commitment -- has little motivation to go there. If the Tigers come anywhere near his asking price of 'Porcello money,' he's walking a line of being crazy not to take it. The kid signs on the dotted line, and he's set for life. He can negotiate into his contract that the Tigers pay for his education; it happens all the time. There's too much at stake for him to turn down that kind of money. Fields is a different story, as few scouts viewed him a mid- to late-first round talent, which is the type of money he's looking for. If the Tigers really like his tools and want the local kid in the system, then I think they'll make a hard push; I'm just not sure the Fields family will collectively bite. Oliver's case is a bit more complex. His standing with the NCAA has been tenuous at best over the last 18 months, and that alone should make him more prone to signing. However, he's also coming off a year that saw him plummet from a potential top ten pick, out of the first round, all because he lost his breaking ball. The Tigers want him in the fold, and will pay him over slot to get it done, it's going to come down to his desire to sign this week. When the deadline rolls around on the 17th, I think Turner and Oliver ink deals that get them in the fold for the fall instructional league, while I'm only 50-50 on Fields at this point.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think they will. The Tigers knew going into the draft what their price tags were, and they wouldn't have drafted them if they thought there was little chance of signing them. Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver are both being advised by Scott Boras, which obviously complicates matters, but they've been down this road before with Rick Porcello two years ago, and I expect both of them to get over-slot bonuses. Two years ago, the Tigers signed Cale Iorg for $1.5 million as their sixth-round pick, and although it could take more money, I believe the Tigers will land Fields. The Tigers have watched his every move this summer, and I don't think they would've committed the time and effort, not to mention an early pick, if they didn't think they had no shot at signing Fields. I think the bigger question is will the Tigers sign anyone beyond that trio (assuming all three sign), and I think it's imperative the Tigers do more than that. There is a lot of talent the Tigers have a chance to sign, and while they have paid close attention to a few of those players, they need to seal the deal and add a nice infusion of talent to the organization. If they don't, a great opportunity will have been missed.

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