08/16/10 1:00 AM ET
Tigers lock up top three Draft picks
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
A source confirmed to MLB.com that Nick Castellanos reached an agreement with the Tigers on a contract with a $3.45 million signing bonus. University of Texas reliever Chance Ruffin, the second of Detroit's two first-round selections, agreed to terms with the club on a contract that includes a $1.15 million signing bonus.
"I knew it might come down to the last minute, but I didn't know it would come down to the very last minute," Castellanos said.
"It was definitely tough," Castellanos said. "It was exciting. It was exhausting, now that I think about it."
University of Arkansas left-hander Drew Smyly, the Tigers' second-round pick, also agreed to terms with the Tigers for a $1.1 million signing bonus, according to a published report.
The Tigers confirmed the deals late Monday night. ESPN.com first reported the Castellanos agreement, while the Austin American Statesman first reported the Ruffin deal.
Though the Tigers didn't have their own first-round pick, having surrendered it to the Astros to sign free-agent closer Jose Valverde, they gained two supplemental picks near the end of the first round as compensation. They felt like they received true first-round talent in Castellanos, a sweet-swinging infielder from Archbishop McCarthy High School in south Florida, but they also knew the challenge to sign him.
Castellanos has a scholarship offer to the University of Miami, but in the end chose the opportunity to enter pro ball with the Tigers, the team his mother's family grew up following in Michigan.
Ruffin was the 48th overall pick in the June Draft, but he went just four picks after Castellanos. The son of former Major League pitcher Bruce Ruffin, his negotiations took longer than some might have expected as he weighed whether to return to a talented Longhorns squad or start advancing toward the big leagues now.
"It was pretty tough, all the good memories in college and great teams," Ruffin said. "It was tough to leave all that behind. But it was time for me to move on and pursue a professional career."
His signing adds another talented relief arm to a Tigers farm system that already has quite a few. Ruffin has been projected by some as a pitcher who could progress quickly through the system, and has garnered comparisons to Major League closer Huston Street. He isn't the prototypical power arm the Tigers usually go for, but he has a good arm and a solid track record with the Horns.
Smyly, the University of Arkansas left-hander who was a Draft-eligible sophomore following an outstanding season for the Razorbacks, had an intriguing decision to make. He could have gone back to school and come back out for the Draft after his junior year, or he could capitalize on his 2010 collegiate campaign. Smyly and his adviser picked up talks with the Tigers over the weekend.
Though full details on the deadline signings won't be known until the Tigers make an announcement Tuesday, it appears fourth-round pick Cole Green was the highest-drafted Tiger not to sign. Ruffin's teammate at Texas told the Austin American Statesman that he turned down a $300,000 bonus to return to school.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.