Earlier in the month, the Baltimore Orioles with the No. 1 pick. On Monday, the two sides reached an agreement on a record-breaking deal that will see Rutschman receive an $8.1 million signing bonus, topping the previous high set by Gerrit Cole ($8 million) when he was the No. 1 pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011.
It’s not a coincidence that Cole, the last No. 1 pick before slotting was instituted in 2012, held the record for nearly eight years. Baseball’s hard-slotting system exploits young players by removing leverage from their side — even the No. 1 picks, who have since averaged a $6.3 million signing bonus. For perspective, No. 1 pick Tim Beckham signed for $6.15 million in 2008.
The Orioles have now signed all but one of their top-10 round selections. The holdout is third-rounder Zach Watson, an outfielder from LSU whose slot value is less than $800,000.
Rutschman, for his part, is held in high esteem by talent evaluators. He profiles as a potential All-Star-caliber backstop who contributes on both sides of the ball.