2017 Reds / Draft

Reds sign first-rounder Hunter Greene with seconds to spare

As you will recall, with the #2 pick in last month’s MLB draft, the Cincinnati Reds selected pitcher/shortstop Hunter Greene from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. Greene, an athletic 6’4″ prospect, has been called the best high school right-hander of all time, and he has already appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

As today’s deadline approached without the Reds and Greene reaching an agreement, everyone was getting a little antsy. As reported by the Enquirer‘s Zach Buchanan:

As Cincinnati Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams prepared to head with the team to Phoenix for the final series before the All-Star Break, it became more and more likely that the team’s negotiations with No. 2 overall pick Hunter Greene could go down to the wire. The Reds have until Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern to sign Greene.

If they don’t meet that deadline, Greene will be unable to enter the pros for at least another year. He could go to a junior college and re-enter the draft next year, or honor his commitment to UCLA and become draft eligible again in three years.

Go read the entire piece (and subscribe to the Enquirer, for crying out loud).

If you were following the drama on twitter, you know that everyone was freaking out. Because the Reds and Greene literally took these negotiations down to the wire. Finally, the news emerged, at 5:01 p.m.:

So there you have it. Greene is in the fold, signed to a contract with a $7.23 million bonus, the highest bonus ever. Exciting times.

And what a relief it is for everyone involved. Can you imagine if the Reds had been unable to get Greene’s signature on a contract? It would be a bad look for everyone involved, as Trent noted.

Of course, it wouldn’t have been a total loss. If the Reds had been unable to sign him, they would have received the #3 pick in next year’s draft, along with whatever high pick they’re likely to earn with this year’s on-field performance. That ain’t nothin’, as they say.

But with all the hype surrounding Greene, the Reds had to get a deal inked. And they did, even if it took every last second for the ink to dry. Whew.

25 thoughts on “Reds sign first-rounder Hunter Greene with seconds to spare

  1. Man I resigned myself how this was not going to work out, someone tell me this is a good thing because I saw all these pros of not signing him
    – the can put all that money for a top tier Free agent in 2019 when they are competitive and do not have to wait around 4 or 5 years for this kid to ML ready
    – Baseball players are overpaid-let him miss out on all that money
    – Reds do horrible with high school pitchers
    – they would get the #1 and #3 pick next season and get college players that will be big league ready before him
    – I could root for him to be a bust (just like I rooted for Lebron- know one can be that good..right??

    • “– they would get the #1 and #3 pick next season and get college players that will be big league ready before him”

      I had played out the idea of drafting two college players nerarly MLB ready during the 2018 rule 4 draft too. I was more in the #3 & #5 to #7 though.

      The thing about the Reds lack of success with HS prospects is they simply haven’t been able to draft kids with the pedigree of Greene. There’s a big difference in drafting top 5 and drafting 20+ after the top prospects have already been picked over.

    • Time will tell if it’s a good thing or not, but I believe it was the best option available now. As for the pros of not signing him, saving $7 million doesn’t get you very far with top tier free agents who now want $20 to $25 million a year. While it’s true that high school pitchers often don’t work out, I’m not as concerned because of the fact that he’s also a top flight prospect as a position player. Now that he’s signed I just hope the one of the geniuses at GABP doesn’t look at his 102 mph fastball and say “hey we should get his feet wet with the big club by bringing him out of the bullpen”. Given how they bungled the Chapman situation, the first guy that says that should get fired. If he can pitch and his arm stays healthy he has to be a starter, if God forbid he hurts his arm and can’t start the best value would be to then develop him as a position player.

  2. Geez, the Old Cossack just realized that Greene will be playing his age 18 season…NEXT season.

    I feel good for the kid and hope his future continues to the rosy.

    • Trammel is having a really good season at A in his 19 season. Senzel took 1.5 million below his slot number and the Reds were able to get Trammell to sign with the extra cash. Talk about a team guy. Senzel just turned 22. Tyler Stephenson turns 21 at the end of the year.
      This young nucleus with Greene and perhaps the 2 supplemental picks are easily a top 5 core in MLB for under age 22. That doesn’t include the under 25 pitchers with Lorenzen/Castillo/Mahle/Romano/Hernandez. Id like to see a big trade at the deadline with Iglesias to add 2 more elite players under 22. The 2018 draft should net a top 10 pick and the Reds would set themselves up for a potentially long window of success from 2019/2020 through the end of Joey Votto’s career. They could then add FA’s or trade assets to fill needs when they are 1-2 players away.

      • If Votto was any other elite player, I would strongly object to wasting the Votto years, but Votto will be around and playing at an elite level for some time.

        With the bullpen options in the Reds minor league systen that haven’t even reached the major leagues yet, I have no issue at all with unloading Iggy for a haul of young prospects.

        • Exactly. The hysteria over “we can’t deal Iglesias, we won’t have a closer” is insanity.

          Basement dwelling teams do not need a closer.

    • I haven’t read a ton on Greene, but I have yet to run across this comparison, which he brings to mind for me. Especially with the “generational talent” comments coming from the front office.

      Dwight Gooden

      Year Age Level ERA GS IP H BB SO
      1982 17 R/A- 2.75 11 78.2 64 28 84
      1983 18 A 2.50 27 191.0 121 112 300
      1984 19 MLB 2.60 31 218.0 161 73 276

      I know, it’s one in a million. I don’t expect it either. Don’t want to put the additional burden of comparing anyone to Willie Mays, right? But if he’s as special as they are trying to lead us to believe with the “generational talent” moniker, this is the path one might expect.

  3. Oh, thank God – I was worried they’d have to dump a record amount of money to get him signed.

    Under what scenario – for a small market team – is spending more for a signing bonus for a #2 pick (not even #1) than any other team in the history of baseball a “good” thing?

    • In my opinion it’s neither good nor bad as far as the $$$ spent. It’s what the market is. The Reds could have declined to sign him but they had a pool of $$$ available to spend on their first several picks without penalty. They managed to get them all signed, including Greene, and stay under the penalty. It worked out and, if all of the scouting reports are accurate, he has the potential to be a super star. They’ve spent a lot more money on players that didn’t work out than what they spent on signing Greene.

    • His contract is only 40,000 over what his slot was. Not going to make or break any team! If he turns out to be a star he will make the reds millions of dollars on his rookie contract! If he flops, it will be unfortunate but it won’t make be detrimental to the team!!

  4. I just for the life of me can’t fathom how the Reds even let this be a possibility. Dick Williams called him a “generational talent” today. If the team truly thinks that highly of him, PAY THE KID and get him in a uniform!

  5. Its unreal how much money they have to give to these guys that might not ever play in the majors. Things were better when the prospect had to work his way up to the big money.

    • The issue with that is generally that minor league players, especially at the low levels, don’t even really make a living wage. I’m not crying “hardship” for them but the signing bonus is the only money they will get that’s guaranteed. Without it, if I’m a HS talent, there is no way I’d sign a contract and forgo my NCAA eligibility. As a college player, there would be more of an incentive to sign without the large bonus but how long do you stick it out before you get a “real job”?

      • It might be interesting if the MLB draft was more like the hockey draft where the teams retain rights for a number of years but the players maintain amateur status and can eventually become free agents at the end of the signing rights period.

    • I contracted some hitting lessons for my son a few years ago from a minor leaguer who had just retired and he made it very clear how much the non-first rounders struggled to make ends meet. I can confirm that it looked like his junker of a car was well lived in.

    • The MLB draft grew out of the “bonus baby” era (roughly the end of WW2 through 1965) where teams bidded against each other for the top talents. Bonus Babies” were guy who signed for more than $4K (in dollars of that day). Similar to Rule 5 today, they had to be placed on the team’s 25 man roster and remain there for years or be subject to waiver claim if the team wanted to remove them It would be interesting to see in a real dollar comparison whether the Bonus Babies or today’s top talent in the draft cost the teams the most..

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