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Jacob Nix and the Astros Reach Settlement

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At least one portion of the Houston Astros draft debacle has come to a conclusion. Jacob Nix, the Astros fifth round selection in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft, went unsigned despite a verbal agreement to pay him $1.5 Million bonus to forgo his commitment to UCLA. Instead, as the Astros were unable to their first round selection Brady Aiken, they did not sign Nix due to the forfeiture of fufture draft picks from exceeding their bonus allotment.

Naturally, this did not sit well with the MLB PLayers Union and Nix. The MLBPA filed a grievance to get Nix his bonus, and, potentially, be forced by an arbitrator to sign their fifth round draft pick. However, the Astros and Nix were able to settle prior to the hearing, and according to Peter Gammons, Nix will receive that full $1.5 Million bonus that was agreed upon.

So, in the end, Jacob Nix gets $1.5 Million to never actually throw a pitch for the Astros. While this is still a far cry from the $5 Million, or the original $6.5 Million that was offered prior to their inability to sign Aiken, getting $1.5 Million to essentially wait a year before re-entering the MLB Amateur Draft is not a bad proposition. Personally, I would be willing to not throw a pitch for much less than that, but the Astros didn’t make me one of their draft choices.

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This payout, as Gammons said above, does essentially come as an admission of wrongdoing in the way they handled signing Nix. And Gammons does bring up a valid point as to why the Astros are not getting punished by Major League Baseball for this debacle. However, it may well be that the full $1.5 Million being paid to a pitcher who will not play at all in their system was determined to be punishment enough.

For Jacob Nix, this could actually prove to be beneficial. Not only does he receive that payout, but if he does pitch at the junior college level as expected, Nix could find his draft stock having increased. If so, he not only gets the money from the Astros for nothing, but could find himself with an even better signing bonus after the next draft. Not a bad scenario.

In the end, while Jacob Nix sees his dream of playing professional baseball as delayed for another year, he still gets his payout. The Astros, meanwhile, have essentially lit that money on fire. At least now, the Astros likely do not need to worry about forfeiting draft picks over the next couple of years, so there is a bit of solace in that.

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