MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager Doug Melvin would like to get both of the team's first-round Draft picks signed and sent off to a Minor League affiliate, but he's not holding his breath. More and more, top Draft picks are waiting until the signing deadline -- midnight ET on Aug. 15 this year -- to settle on a bonus.Right-hander Taylor Jungmann, the 12th overall pick in the Draft who is advised by agent Alan Hendricks, is still active with the University of Texas in the NCAA Super Regional, and talks cannot begin until his collegiate season is over. Georgia Tech left-hander Jed Bradley, the 15th overall pick in the Draft, is advised by Greg Genske. Melvin and Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid will at some point open negotiations with both players. Melvin will push the benefits of signing early in the summer, in time to join one of the team's Minor League affiliates. "I try to tell guys that and they don't understand," said Melvin, who has spoken personally with both Jungmann and Bradley. "Look at all of our guys who signed quickly and were in the big leagues by 23 -- Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks -- and now they're all making $30 million-$100 million on their contracts. "You can also look at players on other clubs -- [Tim] Lincecum, Ryan Zimmerman -- I think [Buster] Posey signed fairly early. They all played, and they're in the big leagues. They don't understand that players need to sign and get going."
That group of players represents a cross-section of high school and collegiate Draft picks. Weeks, for example, was the Brewers' first-round selection in 2003 out of Southern University."Jonathan Lucroy is another guy that's here," Melvin said, referring to Milwaukee's starting catcher, a third-round pick in 2007. "He was a quick sign and had [about] 250 at-bats his first year. If he doesn't have that, he's not here now." Why do so many first-round picks wait until the deadline to sign? Because the size of one player's signing bonus is tied to the pick before and after him in the Draft, and nobody wants to be the first to set the standard. Melvin wishes that more players would buck that trend. "The money is made up here" in the Major Leagues, he argued.
Jungmann still quiet on his future with Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Taylor Jungmann was still a University of Texas Longhorn on Friday night, and until that team's collegiate season is officially over, he had little interest in discussing a future with the Milwaukee Brewers.The Brewers picked Jungmann, Texas' 6-foot-4, right-handed ace, with the 12th overall selection in the First-Year Player Draft on Monday. He declined to participate in a Draft-day conference call with Brewers beat writers, bucking a tradition followed by each of the team's top picks since at least the early 1990s, because the Longhorns are still alive in the NCAA Super Regional. Jungmann pitched 7 1/3 strong innings but lost to Arizona State, 3-1, in the opener of a best-of-three series on Friday. The loss could prove to be Jungmann's final amateur outing, but when Austin American-Statesman reporter Kirk Bohls asked the pitcher about a potential future with the Brewers, he had little to say. "It's exciting for my family and friends, but I'm just not focused on that right now," Jungmann said. Jungmann made clear he has nothing against Milwaukee. He simply has business to tend to first. "There's just not anything going through my head right now," he said. "Like when you asked about this maybe being my last game here. It's not something going through my mind. I'm not worried about that at all." Jungmann was one of two Brewers first-round picks; the team also selected Georgia Tech left-hander Jed Bradley at No. 15 overall. He has also declined interview requests at the urging of his advisor, Greg Genske. Genske is a well-known football and baseball agent who also represents Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman called Melvin this week to ask permission to invite Brewers special assistant Dick Groch to join the festivities planned for Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit. Groch was the Yankees scout who pushed in 1992 for New York to draft Jeter, who as of Saturday afternoon sat nine hits shy of his milestone. Groch is currently scouting the Red Sox in advance of the Brewers' visit to Fenway Park next weekend, and whether he attends depends on how quickly Jeter makes it to 3,000. Reliever Takashi Saito, on the disabled list with a left rib-cage strain, remains on schedule to pitch an inning at Class A Wisconsin on Sunday. If that goes well, he is tentatively set to pitch Thursday, and then Saturday or Sunday at Triple-A Nashville before the Brewers consider returning Saito to the big league bullpen. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said two other injured relievers -- Brandon Kintzler (triceps) and Manny Parra (elbow) -- are making only modest progress at the club's rehab facility in Arizona. Neither pitcher is throwing off a mound. Former Mets and Expos general manager Omar Minaya has been hanging around Miller Park this week as a guest of Melvin, who said it's simply a friendly visit. They met in the mid-1990s, when Minaya was working as a scout for the Rangers and Melvin was named that club's GM.