As deadline looms, Brewers, first-rounders still talking

That general manager Doug Melvin needed a break from negotiations with the Brewers’ top two Draft picks might have said more about the status of those talks that Melvin’s words themselves.

Melvin appeared in the dugout for batting practice at about 4:30 p.m. CT on Monday, six and a half hours before the 10:59 p.m. CT deadline for teams to sign their 2011 First-Year Player Draft picks. The Brewers had already signed their second- through 11th-round picks but remained in discussions with two first-rounders: University of Texas right-hander Taylor Jungmann, the 12th overall pick, and Georgia tech left-hander Jed Bradley, who went 15th overall.

Asked for an update on talks, Melvin said, “I can’t say. I don’t want to comment. … I decided to come down here and get some fresh air.”

Melvin and Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid had been up in the Miller Park “war room,” co-handling negotiations with the players’ high-profile advisers. Alan Hendricks represents Jungmann and Greg Genske, the agent for Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, represents Bradley.

Melvin revealed that both Jungmann and Bradley were in Milwaukee on Friday to undergo physical exams. The Brewers invited both to attend that night’s game against the Pirates.

“They didn’t want to do it,” Melvin said.

Melvin had better news about the team’s 18th round pick, high school shortstop Chris McFarland, confirming that the sides were near an agreement. Two outlets — Perfect Game USA and Baseball America — reported that the Lufkin (Tex.) High School product received a $315,000 signing bonus. He had a scholarship to Rice University.

Besides Jungmann and Bradley, Melvin said he did not anticipate signing any of the Brewers’ other unsigned picks.

Including McFarland, 16 of the Brewers’ first 22 picks agreed to terms, pending the outcome of discussions with Jungmann and Bradley.

If Jungmann does not sign, the Brewers would get the 13th pick in next year’s Draft as compensation. But the Bradley pick is unprotected, because it was compensation for not signing 2010 first-round pick Dylan Covey, whose deal with the Brewers was scuttled by a last-minute Diabetes diagnosis.

Melvin would like to see the Aug. 15 signing date moved up.

“There’s no doubt the Aug. 15 [deadline] hurts the players,” said Melvin, who argues that players who sign early wind up arriving in the Majors a year to a year and a half earlier than those who drive up their bonuses by waiting for the deadline. Melvin sent a letter to both Jungmann and Bradley earlier this summer to argue that case.

“It hurts clubs, too,” Melvin said. “If a player signs earlier, some teams might say, ‘I’m not going to get involved in a free agent because that [Draft pick] might be ready in another year or so.'”


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