For just the third time in Major League Baseball history, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft has not signed a contract with the team that drafted him after the Houston Astros and San Diego-based high school pitcher Brady Aiken failed to agree to a deal before Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
“We are disappointed that we were not able to reach an agreement with Brady Aiken today,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “As an organization, we devoted a great deal of time and resources to these negotiations. Despite our best efforts, a deal could not be reached.”
The Astros also did not reach a deal with fifth-round selection Jacob Nix, another high school pitcher from California.
Negotiations between the Astros and Aiken began to turn south when a team physical revealed an area of concern regarding the ulner collateral ligament of Aiken’s left pitching elbow, according to multiple reports.
The fact that an agreement could not be reached between the Astros and both Aiken and Nix, who share the same agent, irked the MLB Players Association.
“Today, two young men should be one step closer to realizing their dreams of becoming Major League ballplayers,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “Because of the actions of the Houston Astros, they are not. The MLBPA, the players and their advisers are exploring all legal options.”
In his statement, Luhnow defended the Astros’ actions during the negotiation process.
“The Astros offer to Brady was extremely fair considering all the factors involved in this case,” Luhnow stated. “As always, we approached these negotiations in good faith and with the best interests of the Astros organization in mind, both short-term and long-term. Throughout this entire process, we have absolutely acted within Major League Baseball’s rules and guidelines, which MLB has confirmed on numerous occasions.”
According to MLB rules, Aiken now has the option to fulfill his college commitment to UCLA and reenter the draft after three seasons or attend a junior college and be eligible for next year’s draft.
The Astros will be given the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft as compensation for losing Aiken, according to reports.