Oregon State Beavers pitcher Drew Rasmussen, a redshirt junior, was a star reliever in Omaha for the College World Series this summer, and before that was drafted 31st overall in the 2017 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay rays.
Before that, however, was Tommy John surgery, from which he was recovering throughout the 2016-2017 season.
Now that the College World Series is over, the Rays were able to take a close look at the pitcher they drafted and enter into contract negotiations. Rasmussen, as a first round draft pick, had an assigned value of $2,134,900.
Whatever the details, Rasmussen has surprisingly declined the Rays contract offer, and can now either become a free agent or return to Oregon State for his senior year.
According to Marc Topkin, the Rays made a competitive enough offer for the player to “retain” the pick, and will be assigned the 32nd overall selection in the 2018 draft to compensate them for the player walking away from the deal (MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis heard differently), as allowed by the MLB Draft rules.
Tampa Bay was previously able to reach an agreement with their 4th overall selection in the draft, LHP/1B Brendan McKay, the best college hitter and best college left handed pitcher in the draft class.
We don’t know what happened between the Rays and their first round selections, but money does not appear to be the problem. McKay was signed to the largest bonus in the history of the bonus-pool draft despite being drafted fourth, and as mentioned above, the Rays offer was “competitive enough” to allow them to keep their draft pick for next season, per draft rules.
In recent history, Houston was unable to come to terms with Brady Aiken as the first overall selection, another pitcher with injury concerns, and were assigned the second overall pick the following season, with which they drafted Alex Bregman.
You can follow the full 2017 Rays Draft Board here.