The San Diego Padres selected right-handed pitcher Jacob Nix in the third round of the MLB draft 85 overall Tuesday, one year after Nix was a casualty of the Houston Astros' inability to sign top pick Brady Aiken.
The Astros took Nix in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, intending to sign him for $1.5 million with money saved from inking Aiken, the first overal pick, for less than his slot value. When Houston developed concern Aiken's medical records, the team dropped its offer to the pitcher. Aiken refused to sign, costing the Astros the entire monetary value of the top slot and preventing them from signing Nix.
From SI's March profile of Nix:
Nix waited two weeks to hear what was holding up his own signing. Although he and Aiken shared the same adviser and were friends, Aiken had to keep his negotiations secret. Nix found out about Houston’s medical concerns the same way the rest of the world did: on Twitter.
Then Nix waited another week to hear whether his deal would come together. At last, a little more than an hour before the signing deadline, he says he got an email from Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow with a revised offer: $616,165. Nix passed and, with the backing of the union, filed a grievance—which jeopardized his NCAA eligibility, locking him out of his UCLA scholarship. He spent six months at home, watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix and playing catch in the park.
Nix played at IMG Academy in 2015 to remain eligible for this year's draft. San Diego selected him with the 11th pick of the third round.
Aiken was selected in the first round, 17th overall, by the Cleveland Indians on Monday.
- Alex Putterman