A top Royals official said no agreement has been reached yet with the club’s No. 1 draft pick of 2009, right-handed pitcher Aaron Crow.
That came after a report by ESPN’s Buster Olney that Crow was on the verge of signing a Major League deal that would pay him between $3 million and $4.5 million.
“Apparently Buster Olney knows something we don’t know,” said J.J. Picollo, Royals assistant general manager-scouting and player development.
“There’s nothing to report on, there’s no confirmed deal or anything. We’ve picked up the talks with them the last couple of days and that’s about it. We’re working at it.”
But Picollo said the Royals are pushing to get something done on Thursday or Friday so that Crow could begin play in the Arizona Instructional League which opens on Monday. Crow is represented by the Hendricks brothers of Houston.
“I’ve maintained all along that we’re going to work a deal out, it’s a matter of when. But I think it’ll work itself out. I’ve never lost faith in this whole thing,” Picollo said.
Crow, from the University of Missouri and Wakarusa, Kan., was the 12th overall pick in this year’s First-Year Player Draft. He was drafted in 2008 by the Washington Nationals but did not sign, reportedly turning down a $3.5 million offer.
He was not subject to the Aug. 17 signing deadline this year because he had played independent pro ball and had no college eligibility remaining. Major League Baseball ruled that he and first-round supplemental pick Tanner Scheppers were exempt.
That relieved the Royals of deadline stress – they had gone to the final minutes to sign 2007 first-round pick Mike Moustakas and 2008 first-round Eric Hosmer – and negotiations with Crow continued.
In 2008 for Missouri, Crow was the Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year and a Golden Spikes Award finalist after going 13-0 with a 2.35 ERA in 15 starts. He had 127 strikeouts and logged 43 consecutive scoreless innings that season.
He throws a mid-90s fastball and a sharp slider.
So the negotiations are continuing and Instructional League players are to report to Surprise, Ariz., on Sunday and begin play on Monday.
“Once there’s a yes, I think things will happen fast because they know we have a timetable to work with,” Picollo said.