Decision ahead for Esquivel
By Jason McDaniel
Jaime Esquivel has a big decision to make this summer. Fortunately for him, he has plenty of time to make it.
The South Houston pitcher was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 28th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, but with a letter of intent to play with Rice in hand, they're not planning on signing him quickly.
They're not going to make him an offer right now," South Houston coach Donnie Elliot said. They're going to wait because they said they want to see him pitch more this summer.
Well, I told Jaime, They've already seen you pitch eight or nine times.' What they're doing and you can't blame them, they took 27 guys ahead of him is they're going to see if they can sign these other guys and how much money it takes."
Elliot went through a similar scenario when he was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. He says if the Orioles do sign the first 27 guys, the odds of him landing a big signing bonus go down.
But if they don't, then they may go to Esquivel, who they likely view as an insurance policy, with a big offer and see if they can sway him from playing for the Owls.
It's not really important what round you get drafted in, it's more important how much money they invest in you, because the more money they invest in you the more chances you're going to get, the bigger head start you're going to get against other guys," Elliot said.
It's all about the money they invest in you and I tried to explain that to Jaime. And especially with him, since he has a full ride going to Rice, I told him and his mom it would take a whole lot of money and I mean a whole lot of money to pass up a chance to pitch at Rice."
For Elliot, a whole lot of money is at least a $500,000 bonus, along with an offer to pay for Esquivel's college tuition.
If they made that offer, Elliot says he couldn't blame Esquivel for taking it.
But if he signs on the dotted line, there's no turning back.
It all comes down to, what would you sell your amateur status for?" Elliot said. Because once you sign a contract you're never going to play amateur baseball again."
While Esquivel waits on the Orioles, he'll be pitching for the Baytown Knights, an 18U select team coached by Goose Creek Memorial coach Chris Rupp, who's also coached at Rice and San Jacinto College.
That will give the Orioles plenty more time to watch Esquivel, but Elliot says that's not the real reason they're waiting. They saw him plenty during the season, then took him, which Elliot says is unusual.
Usually the team that watches you the most, or the team you think is going to draft you, nine times out of ten doesn't end up drafting you," he said. It's almost like they look at you so many times they start looking at negatives, what's wrong with you instead of what's right, and so they don't draft you.
But that was actually the team that showed him the most interest and followed him the most."
In other words, they already know plenty about him, lending credence to Elliot's belief they're waiting to see how much money is left in their budget after working with the first 27 players drafted.
I really don't know what he'll do," Elliot said. I hope that if he foregoes Rice that he gets a lot of money. I know the opportunity, and I know a degree from Rice, an opportunity to pitch at a high level, possibly the College World Series once or twice, is big.
They're going to have a chance to go to the College World Series every year he's there. It would be hard for me to pass that up. My advice to him was, Man, they'd have to back up a Brinks truck for me to forego Rice University,' but every kid is different.
My wants may be different from his needs."
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