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Brewers want Arnett’s autograph

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McClatchey-Tribune
June 11, 2009
— The stars seem aligned for the Milwaukee Brewers to sign first-round draft pick Eric Arnett quickly.

The Brewers want to sign the University of Indiana right-hander as soon as possible.


Arnett is eager to begin his professional career.


Arnett’s agent, Joe Speed, would like to live up to his name.


“We have a good working relationship,” Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid confirmed. “He wants to get going and we want to sign him.


“I think we’ll come together soon and have him signed and off to start his career.”


The Brewers could make an offer to Arnett as early as today. Based on signing bonuses in the 26th spot in the first round in recent years, the money would around $1.3 million.


Because of the tough economy and shrinking budgets, offers are expected to go down this year, however. The Brewers probably will offer Arnett about $1.2 million.


“All we’re looking for is a fair deal for where Eric was picked,” said Speed, who also represents Brewers reliever Mitch Stetter. “Eric wants to go out and play, so I don’t expect this process to drag out.


“I don’t have a problem with my guys signing early. We don’t need to wait if the deal is fair.”


Seid said the Brewers planned to “stay within the parameters” of Major League Baseball recommendations for signing bonuses in each round. Area scout Mike Farrell will be involved in the Arnett talks, according to Seid.


Because Arnett had a heavy workload at Indiana (12-2, 2.50 earned run average in 109 innings, six complete games), Seid said the Brewers would be cautious in his first professional season. The plan is to send Arnett to the rookie club in Helena, Mont., and closely monitor his innings.


“He did pitch a lot this year,” Seid said. “Indiana really relied on him. They made it to the (NCAA) regional, and he was a guy who carried them on his shoulders.


“In this situation, you want to make sure you take care of all the guys with big workloads.”


The draft resumed Wednesday and went through 30 rounds, leaving 20 rounds to be completed Thursday. Of the 30 players selected by the Brewers, 21 were from the collegiate ranks.


Fourteen selections are pitchers, including 11 out of college. But Seid said there was not a concerted effort to select more advanced players.


“You’re really not drafting for need,” he said. “If the combination works and that guy’s available and he’s a position guy you need, then that’s great. But the bottom line is you want to get guys in your system that have value.


“There were some (high school) guys that were ’unsignable.’ You don’t want to waste a pick on those guys.”


After selecting Arnett and Kennesaw State right-hander Kyle Heckathorn (supplemental first round) on Day 1, the Brewers stuck with big, power pitchers in Round 4 with Steven “Brooks” Hall, a 6-5 prep right-hander from Anderson, S.C.


“He was at our workout (Saturday),” Seid said. “He throws it up to 92 (mph), he has a good delivery. There’s a pretty good up side to him.”


Hall has a scholarship to South Carolina and reportedly fell due to bonus demands but Seid said the Brewers were “dedicated” to signing him.


“It may take a little longer to get him signed to a Brewer contract,” Seid said. “There’s no question we wanted to get big, strong bodies, athletic, guys with combination of power and strength, ability to play, instincts.”


Another player who dropped due to “signability” questions was Sarasota (Fla.) prep shortstop Ryan “Scooter” Gennett, taken by the Brewers in the 16th round. Gennett is considered key to Florida State’s recruiting class.


“I think the kid wants to play,” Seid said.


The Brewers’ 15th round selection, Alabama left-hander Del Howell, also dropped much lower than expected after suffering a bout of mononucleosis early in the season and struggling afterward (5-3, 6.33 in 11 starts).


“But just because we drafted him 15th, that doesn’t mean he’ll sign for 15-slot money,” Seid said.


The Brewers went for skills over polish in the fifth round with Florida State outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson, who concentrated on football at the expense of baseball development.


“D’Vontrey, we have a lot of history with,” Seid said. “We worked him out; we were able to spend time with him. I spent time with him, saw him in limited action. His athleticism is there.”



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