The Marlins are said to be making progress on a possible deal with the No. 6 overall pick from last month's draft, University of North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran. And that's a very good thing, because two of their next few draft picks -- left-handed prep pitcher Matt Krook, a competitive balance pick, and Orlando prep shortstop Ben Deluzio, a third-round pick -- may well both be choosing college over the Marlins.
Miami's scouting and player development people have done a very nice job over the years, but now, with the team 30-52 despite some extremely good young players (Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez, Jacob Turner, etc.), is when they can least afford to waste draft picks.
The Marlins are believed to have offered at least the $3.5 million slot to Moran, generous in light of the fact that the vast majority of the top 15 picks signed for under slot money, including the Nos. 1, 3 and 5 picks. People familiar with the Moran talks suggest there's no big impediment expected to hold up the deal, though one person said there was still work to be done and another suggested the player was seeking some extra perks. (Moran's adviser, Casey Close, didn't return messages.)
Moran, a left-handed hitter with a crazy-good walk-to-strikeout ratio (almost 3-to-1) and the nephew of longtime big-leaguer B.J. Surhoff, had to wait to start negotiations until his UNC team was eliminated from the College World Series. But he may have gained some leverage with a couple of unfortunate surprises for the Marlins involving their second and third picks. Miami, which could be in line for the No. 1 or 2 overall pick next year as it currently has the second worst record in MLB to the Astros, has signed its remaining top-10 picks.
Deluzio, a third-rounder and the No. 80 pick overall, is said by people familiar with the situation to now be "leaning toward'' attending Florida State University even after the Marlins are believed to have offered him at least the $680,000 slot money and earlier comments from him expressed excitement over starting a pro career. "I feel this is the right decision for me to get ready and start the grind. It definitely caught me off guard. I'm ready to go, and I'll go with it,'' Deluzio was quoted as saying to the media on June 10, four days after he was selected, about signing a pro deal.
Deluzio did not use an adviser, which may have led to some early miscommunication.
Krook, the No. 35 pick overall in what is termed the competitive balance round right after round No. 1, has told people now he has decided to take a Univeristy of Oregon scholarship instead of signing with the Marlins, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com first reported. An issue came up related to his physical, and the Marlins reduced their original offer of about $1.5 million, which was slot money, causing Krook to switch to college. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel first reported the lowered offer.
As is the case with Deluzio, Krook, a hard-throwing lefty, technically has until July 12 to change his mind, but there is no indication he's even considering doing so. There was no suggestion of injury as he dominated a prep league in San Francisco while Marlins people scouted him. And while there were varying degrees of concern among the three doctors over the physical, the Marlins' own doctor was the one who had the most concern. Assuming Krook stays with his decision to attend college, and there's zero indication that he will change his mind, the Marlins will get a compensatory pick, at No. 36, for next year's draft.