Last night the Rays drafted speedy middle infielder/center fielder LeVon Washington with the 30th pick of the draft. Shorty after being selected, Washington sounded eager to sign with the Rays and Andrew Friedman sounded eager to get him in a uniform.
LeVon Washington had already impressed the Rays with his speed. Then he really showed them something about an hour after being the 30th pick in the draft Tuesday night, announcing on a media conference call he already was committed to sign: “I’ll be a Ray.”…”That’s great news,” Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said later, “and we feel the exact same way.”
Not so fast. There is one person that has yet to show the same eagerness and in the end it may be his opinion that matters most of all. That is Washington’s agent, Scott Boras.
Boras rarely makes a move with his clients before it is absolutely necessary. He prefers that his players wait as long as possible before signing contracts. It is his belief that waiting almost never costs a player money, but quite often it makes them more. And no matter what you think of Boras, he is usually right.
So what does this mean for Washington and the Rays? Unless the Rays open the wallet, we expect that like David Price, negotiations will go down to the August deadline, but that eventually a deal will get struck.
But more important may be how this affects Washington’s playing career. If a deal is not made prior to August, it is unlikely that Washington will play this season for any of the Rays farmclubs.
Whereas Tim Beckham was able to get on the field last summer and was ready for a full-season this year, it is more likely that Washington will play in the fall instructional leagues and won’t make his Rays debut until next June in one of the short-season leagues.
In other words, it could be a while before Washington starts his Tampa Bay Rays career.
Tampa Bay Rays draft Gainesville prep star LeVon Washington with first-round pick [St. Pete Times]