Danny Hultzen not new on Mariners’ radar

Jun 6, 2011, 11:01 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2011, 10:36 am

Jack Zduriencik joined Matt Pitman and me on the post game show tonight and we were able to go a little bit more in depth with the pick of Danny Hultzen earlier this afternoon.

It turns out that scouting director Tom McNamara has a long history with him, actually scouting him in high school.

“His numbers were ridiculous in high school,” said Zduriencik. “He really made his mind up he was not going to sign, he was going to college. He has always been on our radar. Tom saw him in high school, he knew him really well out of high school and he continued to perform all through his college career.”

Hultzen-mug
Danny Hultzen

With all of the players available at two I asked what put Hultzen over the top for the Mariners. Zduriencik had what I thought was a surprising answer.

“A gut feeling more than anything else,” he said. “You could have taken one, two or three other players and you would have been very happy with those guys but I think any of us in the game for a long time realize the premium on pitching, the extra premium on left-handed starting pitching, and that as we sat there and waited… When you can get the best college left-handed pitcher available? It was tough to pass up.”

Now that Hultzen is drafted the next order of business is signing him. This could take some time. I asked Zduriencik what was next and he indicated that they were prepared for a bit of a wait.

“He’s pitched 106 innings already and he could pitch as many as three more starts. That is quite a bit of innings for a college kid,” he said. “Realistically he is probably going to sit most of the summer and we will see where it ends up at.”

Hultzen has said that he informed teams that could draft him this week of what it would take to sign him. There have been reports of a figure as high as $13 million as a signing bonus. For reference, last year’s No. 1 pick, Stephen Strasburg, received a $15 million bonus. Prospect Insider’s Jason Churchill, who was also on the post game show, pointed out that the $13 million figure may have been floated to dissuade the Pirates from selecting him.

We don’t know what has been communicated to the Mariners but we do know that there is a relationship. Hultzen as a junior has the option of returning to school but there is not much room for him to move up.

Baseball America rated him as the player who could get to the big leagues the quickest and the quicker a player gets to the big leagues the closer he gets to free agency, where the dollars can dwarf even the top signing bonuses.

“There is an education that goes on,” said Zduriencik. “Familiarity with the agent and the family, sitting down and explaining to them a plan, that although your signing bonus is going to be substantial because of where you were selected, the real money is when you get to the big leagues and start your career and we want to get you there quicker than sitting around and waiting another year. We are hoping to get a good negotiation going when he his finished playing.”

The draft continues Tuesday with the Mariners holding the second pick in the second round.

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Danny Hultzen not new on Mariners’ radar