Jays say top pick excited to be drafted

Jays say top pick excited to be drafted

TORONTO -- Deck McGuire has not spoken and remains unsigned. Despite how it looks on the surface, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos insisted Sunday that the pitcher was thrilled to be selected by Toronto in the first round of the First-Year Player Draft earlier this month.

"I know a lot was made of that," said Anthopoulos, referring to the fact that McGuire chose not to take part in a media conference call after being picked by the Blue Jays. "His family just felt like overall it's something that is better left to the point that, if he does sign and when he does sign, that's when they would prefer to do it.

"It was definitely not a slight to Toronto and not a slight to the organization. He was pretty excited about being drafted by the organization."

As for signing, Anthopoulos indicated he would not be surprised if negotiations with McGuire went right up until the Aug. 16 deadline. The GM said that is simply the nature of how the process works these days. Last year, the Jays did not sign their first-round pick, Chad Jenkins (20th overall), until two days before the signing deadline.

McGuire, who was added with the 11th overall pick out of Georgia Tech, will likely wait to see how the market shapes up, as do many of the early-round selections.

"We're going to continue to have dialogue and I expect that to carry out over the course of the summer," Anthopoulos said of the club's unsigned picks. "Maybe as some other players sign, and it starts to solidify the marketplace and [bring] a little bit more clarity, then maybe we can move forward."

A year ago, Jenkins received a signing bonus worth $1.359 million, but was forced to wait until this year to take part in his first professional season. If McGuire waits to sign until close to the deadline, he will likely be headed to instructional league this year before beginning pro ball in 2011.

That scenario is a product of the August deadline and one reason Anthopoulos believes Major League Baseball would benefit from a shorter signing period.

"I'd love to see the deadline pushed up to a week after the Draft or two weeks after the Draft," Anthopoulos said. "I think it would help everybody. I think it would help families. I think it would help colleges. I think it would certainly help Minor League baseball, because some of these players would be out playing, and also help players at well.

"I think those are some of the things that are going to be talked about in the next collective bargaining agreement."