Although much of the pre-draft speculation coming from Seattle Mariners blogs and beat writers was that Duke commit and top prep catcher Steven Baron had agreed to a pre-draft contract with the team, a recent report in the Miami Herald sheds some doubt that a Baron signing is a fait accompli.
Speaking with the Herald's Joseph Goodman, Baron indicated that unless the Mariners could agree to a contract worth around $1.3 million, that he would likely decide to honor his commitment to play at Duke. Baron also added that Duke had raised the value of his scholarship offer to 90% of tuition.
The news that Duke has augmented its scholarship offer adds interesting wrinkle to the situation. Generally, the dynamics of a draft negotiation between an MLB team and a committed high school prospect leave college programs powerless to influence negotiations, but Duke's enhanced scholarship offer shows that the Blue Devils do have at least a limited amount of leverage in attempting to convince Baron to choose school over Seattle.
"I have until August 15 to negotiate, and we'll see what happens,'' Baron said.
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