By Bruce Levine-
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago White Sox have a battle on their hands to sign their No. 1 pick before the July 18 deadline.
Normally five weeks is a sufficient period of time to sign any top-tier draft choice. In the case of Carlos Rodon, the Scott Boras factor could loom large. Rodan, the No. 3 pick overall in last week’s amateur draft, has two choices.
First and foremost, he can receive around $5 million in slot money to sign with Chicago. His second choice is to return to North Carolina State and pitch one more season. If he stays healthy and has a great season, he could get a million or two more as the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft.
The downside to all of this is that the White Sox would miss out on a near-ready major league pitcher, and Rodon could blow a fortune if he craps out.
“Everything you said makes a lot of sense,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said when presented those very real situations. “As to how my conversations have gone or continue to go, it is nothing we are going to say publicly.”
Hahn and Co. will be battling the Godzilla of all agents in Boras. The super-agent not only wants top dollar for his players, he wants to make a splash for marketing purposes. Every contract his clients sign is orchestrated to get the most attention for him and his company. Truth be told, Boras is a brilliant tactician and has a photographic memory. That helps him defend the unique stat pack and razzle-dazzle that his PR staff publishes.
The Chris Sale comparison should be a great negotiation tool for Hahn. He can point to the White Sox’s ace getting to the big leagues just a few months after getting drafted in 2010.
“We were the ones, and Chris certainly did well with that, but that was a special situation,” Hahn said. “That was really a special situation and you don’t see that too often — a player makes his debut the same year he was drafted, let alone having an immediate impact and not going back to the minor leagues.”
All the talk on both sides won’t change the fact that Rodon is the most finished pitching prospect to get drafted.
“If there is one player in this draft who has the potential to (make it to the majors quickly), it would probably be Carlos Rodon,” Hahn said.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.