Agent Casey Close: Houston Astros not following draft signing rules

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Casey Close, who represents Brady Aiken, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft, criticized the Houston Astros and Major League Baseball for how they are handling the signing process, reports.

Close said that the Astros are using a medical concern about Aiken's left arm to pressure him into accepting a lower bonus so that they can sign two of their other draft picks, Jacob Nix and Mac Marshall.

The Astros believe that Aiken’s physical revealed a “significant abnormality” in his left elbow. Close denies that Aiken has any arm troubles, and said he threw 97 mph in his final start before the draft.


“Brady has been seen by some of the most experienced and respected orthopedic arm specialists in the country, and all of those doctors have acknowledged that he’s not injured and that he’s ready to start his professional career,” Close said.

Close said the Astros have offered Aiken $3,168,840 million, which the minimum amount required to ensure the team would receive the second overall pick of the 2015 draft as compensation if they failed to sign Aiken.

Aiken was drafted straight out of high school in June's draft. Close also represents MLB stars Derek Jeter and Clayton Kershaw, among others. 

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The Astros, if they fail to sign Aiken, would lose his assigned bonus value of $7,922,100. If they then signed Nix, they would exceed the maximum they are allowed to spend in the first round 10 rounds of the 2014 draft, triggering the loss of at least one future pick.

“We believe that it is a clear violation of the rules being attempted solely to avoid penalty,” Clark said. “The Astros made a deal with Jacob Nix and should honor that agreement.”

The deadline for teams to sign players selected in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft is Friday, July 18.

- Sarah Barshop