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Fields Signs

Josh FieldsA surprising story came out of Mariners camp today. Pitchers and catchers start their first drills in a matter of hours, but news continues to be made off of the field. Reports are that the Mariners have agreed to a deal with their 2008 first round draft pick, RHP Josh Fields. Ever since the M's drafted him, they have refused to go above a $1.5 million signing bonus, while Fields (and his agent Scott Boras) have not been willing to discuss less than $2 million.

I figured all along that Jack Zduriencik would give up on signing Fields. I know I probably would have. He is a nice pitcher, and there is a chance that he could make the majors fast. He may now be the closer of the future, with the future as early as 2010 or 2011.  It was fun watching his power fastball and hammer curve devastate college hitters, and the combo should translate well as a professional.

Still, I am not sure that I am happy the Mariners signed Fields. The Mariners would have received a compensatory draft pick in this year's draft in the late first first round if Fields had not been signed, and I wanted to get as many draft picks in Jack's hands as possible. Plus, I doubt that Fields would go in the first round of the 2009 draft, meaning that the M's might have been able to select a better prospect as "compensation" for losing him.

All I hope is that Fields signed for $1.5 million or less. I do not understand why he did not sign at slot value in the first place, and I am glad that Bavasi never caved in. Fields was fortunate to get picked as high as he did, and both he and Boras should have realized he likely would not get $1.5 million in the 2009 draft. Plus, the M's were even thinking about bringing Fields up to the majors by the end of last year! Why Fields passed up such a golden opportunity for $500,000 that he should not get (and hopefully did not get) I will never understand.

Well, Fields is a Mariner now. I'm excited to add a power arm that could progress through the system quickly. I will revisit this decision in June though, to see what the M's could have had. All of a sudden, Josh Fields is now one of the more interesting stories in camp though. He will not make the opening day roster, but what he does in Peoria may go a long way towards deciding what level he starts his professional career at.