For the last week or so there have been rumors swirling around about why the Astros have yet to sign top pick Brady Aiken. John Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that the 17-year old from San Diego has an issue with his elbow ligament. If this is true, Aiken may need Tommy John surgery.
Aiken arrived in Houston late last month and the Astros were reportedly prepared to sign him for a bonus of $6.5 million, pending a physical. When a few days passed with no news of an actual signing, speculation was that Aiken’s physical exam had produced a red flag. According to Heyman, that appears to be the case.
Meanwhile, Aiken’s trainer, Paul Flores, tells The Chronicle that Aiken is “absolutely healthy. But Flores’ comments do come with some qualifiers as he goes on to say that it’s not his area of expertise.
The Astros are still attempting to sign Aiken, but some reports suggest that the offer has shrunk to $5 million. The team has until July 18th to get a deal done. MLB’s collective bargaining agreement allows a team to offer considerably less than “slot value” to an injured player. This year, the slot value for the top overall pick was set at $7,922,100. If the Astros are unable to sign Aiken — which is not the outcome that Jeff Luhnow is hoping for — the club would get an extra pick at the top of the first round in next year’s draft.