Reds 'still far apart' with top pick

Reds 'still far apart' with top pick

ST. LOUIS -- Last week, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty was optimistic Cincinnati could soon sign first-round Draft pick Mike Leake.

This week? Not as much.

The Reds and Leake, the eighth overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, have drifted further apart in negotiations.

The Braves' signing of their seventh overall pick, lefty pitcher Mike Minor, to a $2.42 million bonus was above this year's slot recommendation by Major League Baseball and equal to last year's.

"That didn't help us," Jocketty said. "We'll keep negotiating and hope we can get it done before the deadline. We are a reasonable amount apart. We've moved considerably and they haven't moved at all. We're still far apart."

The deadline to sign Draft picks is 12:01 a.m. ET on Aug. 18. Any unsigned player after the deadline will automatically go back into the Draft pool, which means the Reds would receive a compensatory pick the following year in the same slot where Leake was picked.

In 2008, the Reds had the seventh overall pick and signed first baseman Yonder Alonso just minutes before the deadline. Although Alonso was given a five-year, $4.55 million Major League contract, his $2 million bonus came in below slot.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.