Back a few weeks ago, there was high optimism that Rays second round draft pick, Chris Betts, would sign early with the team. Those thoughts were only exasperated as Betts live tweeted his way to St Petersburg. But the days came and went with little news as to what happened. Meanwhile, Betts was still playing baseball helping lead the CBA to a championship.
With the hours winding down to the deadline to sign, news finally broke that Betts had reached a deal with the Rays for an above slot amount.
The agreement we reported between #Rays and 2nd-round pick Chris Betts was for $1,485,000, per ESPN's @keithlaw, about $325,000 above slot— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 17, 2015
The news was a sigh of relief as Betts was a great selection by the Rays. He was the top ranked catcher in this years draft, but slipped to the second round due to an injury as sustained the past season. The only question mark really though was if the Rays were willing to shell out the amount of cash that Betts was looking for as a first round talent.
After all, he has only just graduated from high school and was selected in the second round. He could simply go to college for a few years, hopefully play well enough, and be selected in the first round and receive plenty more.
However, Betts seemed pretty excited to begin his professional career.
Officially a Tampa Bay Ray signed and ready to go, couldn't be happier!!! @RaysBaseball— Chris Betts (@ChrisBetts26) July 18, 2015
A twist to #Rays signing of 2nd rd pick C Chris Betts - he'll have Tommy John surgery, right elbow injury discovered during team physical.— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 18, 2015
With the news, it seems Betts won't begin his professional career for at least a year due to the surgery.
During the past season, Betts strained his right forearm. A MRI was done and it revealed no structural damage, but Betts still decided to play it safe and DH'd the rest of the season. However, it seems that wasn't enough to prevent the surgery.
The physical was probably done back during Betts first visit to St Petersburg and is more than likely what halted his signing. Nevertheless, the Rays feel that Betts was still worth signing after having the knowledge that he'd undergo the surgery.