From the Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton.
It™s day 40 and counting for the stalled negotiations between the Royals and top draft pick Luke Hochevar (above), a right-hander represented by Scott Boras.
And while scouting director Deric Ladnier continues to characterize the talks as cordial, he acknowledges Hochevar is on the verge of throwing away a second professional season.
œIf he doesn™t get out and pitch, Ladnier said, œthat becomes undeniable at some point. I don™t know what that date is, but there™s no getting around that.
The minor-league seasons conclude roughly around Labor Day, which leaves about seven weeks, but Hochevar is likely to require a conditioning period once he signs before entering active duty.
Hochevar, 22, re-entered this year™s draft after failing to reach agreement last year with the Dodgers. He made four starts for the Fort Worth Cats, an independent-league team, before the Royals selected him June 6 with the first overall pick.
Ladnier said the two sides œhaven™t talked for a while. He also said the club has not received a formal response from Boras to a revised offer tendered more than two weeks ago.
Ladnier declined to comment on growing speculation within the industry suggesting the Royals are holding firm to their financial offer but are willing to sign Hochevar to a major-league contract.
Club officials previously confirmed their offer to be in excess of $4 million, which is more than Boras and Hochevar sought last year from the Dodgers. It would also be the highest bonus given this season to a first-round pick with 26 of the 30 selections already under contract.
With all due respect to Ladnier and his incredibly well-run organization, if the Royals fail to sign Hochevar, they’ll have wasted a number 1 overall draft pick. Not that they aren’t having unparalleled success in player development or anything.
Though the Tigers have owned K.C. for much of the year, The Fightin’ Mientkiewiczes have turned the tables for one afternoon, at least, leading 7-1 in the top of the 6th. Joey Gathright has singled, tripled and knocked in 4 runs for the Royals, while Scott Elarton has held Detroit to a pair of hits (one of ’em a Carlos Guillen solo HR to left center).