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Miami Marlins Unlikely To Sign First-Round Pick Andrew Heaney

Earlier today, Sam Evans discussed some of the early results for the Miami Marlins' draft picks of this season. One name you are not likely to see this year in the Marlins' system is first-round selection Andrew Heaney, as it seems the Marlins are unlikely to sign him by the Friday, 5 PM deadline for signing draftees. Here is the Sun-Sentinel's Juan C. Rodriguez on the issue.

The Marlins’ proposed a $2.6 million signing bonus, $200,000 less than the slot amount for the ninth overall pick. Heaney, a left-hander out of Oklahoma State, asked for the full $2.8 million. Per club policy, the Marlins require a physical and full bloodwork before consummating a deal. They no longer have time to complete it before Friday’s deadline.

As compensation, the Marlins will receive the 10th pick in the 2013 MLB Draft for failing to sign this pick. However, they will not be able to use any unused slot money designated to go to their first-round pick in order to sign their remaining unsigned talent, third-rounder Avery Romero. Romero has a scholarship at the University of Florida waiting for him if he chooses not to sign.

This is an interesting move for a few reasons. On the one hand, the Heaney selection was a little underwhelming for most draft experts. While Fish Stripes' own Sam Evans grew to like the selection, neither he nor Eric Weston were all that impressed with the pick, as Heaney was a low-ceiling college pitcher. His main advantage, as discussed earlier, was that he would potentially be ready as early as 2014, when many of the Marlins' current core would be able to leave for free agency. But with Heaney being a weak but safe pick, perhaps the Marlins felt it unnecessary to go the full length to sign him.

At the same time, it is frustrating to see the Fish once again fail to offer money in the draft in order to potentially improve the team. We know that the Marlins have notoriously been cheap in the draft and that such a move is nonsensical given the team's classical dependence on young talent. When you have to promote talent from the minors constantly, spending money to draft the best talent seems to be a logical step. When you fail to do so and fall back on "signable" picks, you miss out on top talent that slides due to signing concerns and thus miss out on adding excellent prospects with mid-round selections.

Heaney is not an elite prospect, however, so perhaps the Marlins felt it best to save the money (not the slot money, but the actual money they would pay to Heaney) for the 2013 draft. I have not heard much about the comparisons between this year's draft and next year's, but this year's was presumably a weak one, so perhaps the Fish thought it best to try for talent next year rather than settle for Heaney. But if that was the case, why even select Heaney when both Fish Stripes experts agreed there were better players on the board? It is a puzzling decision by the Marlins, but one that I feel is unlikely to hurt them badly, provided they can find some college talent next season who could be ready to provide for the team quickly.