Baseball – Groome and Red Sox Agree to $3.65 Million Deal
Updated at 11 p.m., July 14
Barnegat alum Jason Groome has agreed to a contract with the Boston Red Sox that will guarantee him a signing bonus of $3.65 million, as first reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network and FanRagSports.com and confirmed by Hudson Belinsky of Basebal America.
Red Sox President Dave Dombrowski did not confirm the signing, according to multiple sources, but said he is encouraged that it will become official on Friday.
Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald was first to report that Groome was in Boston for a physical in advance of the agreement between the 6-foot-6 left-hander and the club.
With No. 7 overall pick Braxton Garrett still unsigned, Groome's $3.65 million signing bonus is the eighth-highest bonus in this year's draft, behind only the first seven signed players - which includes No. 8 overall pick Cal Quantrill of the San Diego Padres.
According to an earlier report by Heyman, the Padres had a pre-draft agreement in place with Groome to draft him with their No. 24 overall pick and pay him roughly $5 million, or the third-highest signing bonus in the draft. The Red Sox drafted Groome - regarded as the No. 3 overall talent in the draft by Baseball America and No. 1 according to MLB.com - with the No. 12 overall pick well before he could slip to the Padres.
Entering Thursday, the Red Sox had not yet officially come to terms with three of their 10 picks in the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft, which caused a logjam ahead of the 5 p.m. Friday deadline to sign 2016 draft picks. Fourth-round pick and University of Arizona infielder Bobby Dalbec and Maryland right-hander and Gloucester Catholic alumnus Mike Shawaryn also agreed to terms with the Red Sox Thursday above their respective slot values according to multiple reports.
The $3.65 million left the Red Sox with extra bonus money to pay Dalbec and Shawaryn, which would not have been available if the team met Groome's reported demands. Assuming the Red Sox did not pay either Dalbec or Shawaryn above slot, they could have paid Groome up to $3.84 million without exceeding their MLB-mandated bonus pool of $6,997,400. If the Red Sox decided to exceed their pool by five percent of the total - the maximum allowed before draft pick forfeitures become the punishment - Groome could have netted a maximum bonus of $4.19 million from the club.
The deal suggests a compromise, not only between the club and Groome's representation, but also between Dalbec and Shawaryn. While Groome reportedly turned down Boston's offer of $3.5 million earlier in the week, he will reportedly be settling for less than the $4 million-plus asking price his adviser, Jeff Randazzo, was seeking according to multiple reports.
Despite being widely-regarded as one of the top-three available players in the 2016 Draft, Groome fell out of the top 10 due to a number of factors. It was reported by many media sources early on that the Philadelphia Phillies did not want to draft a high school pitcher with the No. 1 overall pick and the following 10 teams to pick before Boston all passed because of a combination of signing bonus demands and questions about his maturity. A source close to a team drafting between the Phillies and the Reds indicated his team passed on Groome because of "off the field" questions.
Coaches and teammates close with Groome, however, have praised him for being a good teammate and the Red Sox front office was comfortable with Groome's makeup when deciding on the No. 12 pick.
Ironically, the Red Sox will be closer to Groome's home in Barnegat this weekend than their first-round pick is. Boston is in New York to take on the Yankees for a weekend series and returns to Fenway Park Tuesday to host the San Francisco Giants.