The general consensus here (and elsewhere) seems to be that the Giants went cheap with their fifth and sixth selections: Williams at #43 and Culberson at #51. The way the narrative goes, there's not much money left in the budget since they're going to be paying 4 of the first 32 picks of the draft. So, they drafted players they wouldn't have considered until much later under normal circumstances, figuring that they will happiily accept much less money than their draft slot warrants.
Everything about this narrative seemed reasonable to me, until I looked up the signing bonuses for the top 100 picks in 2005 and 2006 in Baseball America. I only found a few examples of teams clearly saving over $100,000 with a signing.
The Cubs saved about $150K in the first round last year, while the White Sox saved about $150K in the second round last year.
2005? Wade Townsend to Tampa Bay at #8 was a 500-700K bargain. There were some odd issues with Townsend, but I think the D-Rays knew what they were doing. This is clearly the biggest price break of the last two years. The Marlins saved about $200K at #22, the D-backs saved about $150K at #49, and the Astros saved about $140K at #89.
By my estimation, that's one pick in two years who saved their team more than $200K, and he was picked in the top ten. Is there any reason to believe that the Giants are going to save any more money than this with these two picks? That they are somehow taking signability to a whole new level? If not, the likely choices are a) the Giants really wanted these players and were worried they wouldn't be available in the fifth round, or b) there were over a hundred players on their board that they preferred over Williams and Culberson, but they overlooked all of them in an effort to save $200-300K total. I honestly don't know which of these scenarios is accurate or how valuable these players will turn out to be; I was just surprised to learn that we're talking about chump change in an organization's budget here.
(Also, I realize that the Giants could have drafted players that were considered difficult signs with these picks, and either paid well over slot or lowballed them to the point where they wouldn't sign. However, when people say the Giants went "cheap" with those two picks, I am assuming that they mean they were planning to pay under slot, not simply that they were avoiding players who would require more than slot. Of course, nothing would save more money than drafting an unsignable player, but that clearly wasn't the case here.)
Anyway, I'm just throwing this out there for Brute, Doc, and Steve and the rest of you out there who understand amateur baseball a lot more than I do? Am I missing something, or is there not much money to be saved by going "cheap" once you get past the first ten picks or so?
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