The major question of the Red Sox 2016 draft is whether or not they’ll be able to sign first-round pick Jason Groome. Groome was considered a consensus top talent, one who was top-five or top-three and even topped some analysts boards altogether. The Sox selected him 12th overall, and news arrived shortly after that pick saying Groome would require "top-five" money to sign.
What exactly "top-five" money translates to is a bit unknown, but there are some rumors floating about that could lend clarity. Specifically, Over the Monster has learned that Groome had a deal in place with a team that wasn’t the Red Sox, one that expected to be able to select Groome later in the first round Instead, Boston grabbed Groome when he was still available at 12, leaving this other club without the 17-year-old lefty and with a verbal contract that now meant nothing.
This deal Groome had in place pre-draft was supposedly for $4 million — that’s actually a little less than top-five money, but close enough to likely satisfy both Groome and the team who was going to give him that bonus. If this is true, then the Red Sox are now in a good place after their most recent draft signings: Boston signed two of their senior picks, Matt McLean and Ryan Scott, for a combined $20,000, giving them an extra $359,100 in budget space to assign to Groome’s bonus.
The 12th pick in the draft has a slot value of $3,192,800. Add in the $359,100, and the Red Sox are at $3,551,900 of space for Groome. That’s not all they have available to them, however: second-round pick C.J. Chatham signed for $1.1 million, $132,800 under slot, and sixth-round selection Steve Nogosek signed for $31,100 under slot. Add that to the above total, and the Sox have $3,715,700 in budget for Groome.
That’s not quite $4 million, but Boston also has up to five percent over their budget that they can spend before incurring a penalty worse than a tax on those dollars. That’s an extra $349,700 to play with: add it all together, and that’s $4,065,400. That should be enough for Groome, with a little bit to spare.
This also doesn’t count that the Sox still have five of their first 10 picks unsigned, which could open up additional budget space — Boston didn’t draft anyone besides Groome who was expected to sign over slot, and, barring a surprise, none of the rest of the bunch have signability issues that would detract from the overall budget. If that $4 million pre-draft deal with another team is accurate, then the Red Sox likely already have enough draft budget moved around to sign Groome. And given Groome would fit in comfortably alongside Anderson Espinoza in Boston’s prospect rankings, that’s no small thing.
The deadline to sign draft prospects is July 15, and in that time, Groome could reduce his demands slightly while Boston increases their offer from wherever it currently stands — that’s how negotiations work. Even if he doesn’t, the money is now there to sign him, so there shouldn’t be a reason for him to head to junior college and reenter the draft next June instead of coming to the pros.