This bit of news got a bit trampled and forgotten about, in all the trade deadline hoopla. But in terms of the long-term effect on the franchise, it’s probably safe to say that this is likely more significant than the loss of Joakim Soria for a couple of months. So, I’m going to give it its own damn write-up. As first reported by John Gambadoro, the Diamondbacks have signed the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, shortstop Jordan Lawlar, which took place earlier this month in Denver. Some mock drafts had Lawlar going as high as the first selection, so it was a bit of a surprise that he was still on the board when the D-backs’ turn came up.
Consequently, there had been some concerns as to whether the team could sign the high-schooler, who had provisionally committed to go and play ball at Vanderbilt. The slot value for the #6 pick was $5.72 million, but the team had been able to save some money elsewhere in the draft. For example, they signed third round pick Jacob Steinmetz for about $300,000 below the expected value, and could potentially put the money towards inking Lawlar. If the team had gone over their total pool allocation, penalties would have been applied, beginning in the 0-5% overage range, with a 75% tax on the excess. According to Jim Callis, the team spent every cent they could, just shy of a million above slot.
1st-rder Jordan Lawlar's agreement w/@Dbacks is for $6,713,300 (slot 6 value = $5,742,900), max they could pay w/o exceeding their bonus pool. Texas HS SS, might have highest ceiling in entire @MLBDraft, solid to plus tools across the board. Vanderbilt recruit.— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 30, 2021
Had they not signed Lawlar, they would have received the seventh pick in next year’s draft as compensation. However there’s no guarantee that a player of that quality would be available, and the general consensus is that it is a very good thing that Lawlar was convinced to join the Diamondbacks. As for his future, the team has Nick Ahmed under contract through two more years after this season. On Opening Day 2024, Lawlar would still only be 21 - though that’s still older then Fernando Tatis Jr. was, when he reached the majors. Dare we hop Lawlar will end up bringing the same degree of production to Arizona? Though, personally, I could live without any Manny Machado-inspired “swag”.