Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays execs wrap up draft situation
Posted Aug 17, 2009 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Aug 17, 2009 at 05:40 PM
The Rays never got to the point where they exchanged figures with second-round pick Kenny Diekroeger, and the gap between their offer to first-rounder LeVon Washington and what he asked for was sufficiently wide that talks stalled and never recovered.
Though the Rays kept an open line of communication with Diekroeger and his family the entire way, it was no surprise to anyone that he decided to go to Stanford instead of signing with the Rays. Washington, however, was another story. The Rays had remained optimistic they would be able to get him signed, holding talks with his adviser Scott Boras shortly after the draft and picking things up again a week or so ago, but they ultimately couldn’t come to a resolution earlier today in time to get Washington in for a physical they deemed mandatory considering he is coming off significant shoulder surgery.
“They’re very separate cases,” Andrew Friedman said of the top two picks. “In LeVon’s situation, we put forth an offer that was consistent with late-round, first-round picks, and if the gap between us had been small I imagine there would have been more conversations this morning and this afternoon, but we never really got to the point where that was relevant. ... When we got to noon today, it became pretty clear to us that this was going to be a situation we weren’t going to be able to resolve.”
Keeping in mind that there are still a few hours to go until the deadline, Friedman nonetheless deemed it “extremely unlikely” that the parties would have a change of heart and get things done before midnight.
“I can’t imagine we can set all that up,” Friedman said, speaking mainly of the physical. “I think it was going to be hard for us in the early afternoon to get it done in time. That midnight deadline is a firm deadline, so at that point (this afternoon) it seemed very unlikely and at this point it seems next to impossible.”
Washington is not believed to be headed to Florida despite committing to the Gators earlier this year. Junior college apparently is a more likely route for the 18-year-old from Gainesville.