Royals expect Starling talks to reach 'final hour'

Royals expect Starling talks to reach 'final hour'

KANSAS CITY -- Any Royals fans anxious to see top Draft pick Bubba Starling signed needn't hold their breath.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore expects the negotiations with the fifth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft to go right up to the deadline.

"There's nothing -- there won't be anything until the final hour of August 15," Moore said in a phone interview Thursday.

Teams have until 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday to come to terms with their draftees, meaning official notification has to be in the Commissioner's Office when the clock strikes midnight. A team that does not sign its first- or second-round pick will receive a compensatory pick in the 2012 Draft. That selection will come at the same slot, plus one. In other words, if a team doesn't sign the No. 9 overall pick, it would receive the No. 10 pick -- technically 9A -- the following year. A team does not receive a 2012 pick if it does not come to terms with a selection made with a compensation pick this year.

Draft Central

And while the Royals signed their second-round pick, catcher Cameron Gallagher, they still have their third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks to worry about, in addition to Starling.

Kansas City took high school pitchers Bryan Brickhouse and Kyle Smith in the third and fourth rounds. Patrick Leonard, a high-school third baseman, was taken in the fifth round. All three have scholarships to play Division I baseball: Brickhouse at North Carolina, Smith at Florida and Leonard at Georgia.

Gallagher's signing means the Royals have signed six of their first 10 and 18 of their first 25 selections from this year's Draft. Gallagher signed on Aug. 1 and is currently playing for Surprise, the Kansas City affiliate in the Arizona League. The second most-recent draftee the Royals had signed was 21st-round pick Kenny Swab, on July 1.

Overall, the Royals have signed 26 of their 50 selections from the 2011 Draft. Kansas City has also signed 11 non-drafted free agents.

Hometown kid Starling is a local product out of nearby Gardner Edgerton High School in Kansas. The toolsy outfielder is currently in Lincoln, Neb., as he has a scholarship to play football and baseball at the University of Nebraska.

That gives the recent high school graduate leverage, an advantage for his adviser, agent Scott Boras.

Anyone looking for indications as to how the Starling negotiations might play out can look at two current Royals, rookies Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.

Moustakas was the Royals' first-round pick in 2007, drafted second overall. Hosmer was taken third overall by Kansas City in 2008. Both are Boras clients. And both agreed to sign with the Royals about 10 minutes before the deadline.

Hosmer signed for a $6 million bonus. Moustakas got a $4 million bonus. Starling is expected to be offered between $7 million to $10 million, which would break the record held by Hosmer for largest signing bonus given to a Royals Draft pick.

Gallagher reportedly signed for $750,000, and none of the three of Brickhouse, Smith or Leonard have the two-sport leverage Starling does. There are no indications from any of the three that they will not sign with the Royals, either.

Monday should be a busy day for Moore, because, as he likes to say, he doesn't draft anyone he doesn't think he can sign.

Adam Holt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.