ST. LOUIS -- On the day pitcher Stephen Strasburg was voted the Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur player in the United States, baseball commissioner Bud Selig predicted the Washington Nationals will make "a very meaningful offer" to the No. 1 draft pick.
Selig also hinted that management will propose major changes to the amateur draft during collective bargaining in 2011. It's possible baseball will propose a firm slotting system of signing bonuses.
Amateur draft picks are currently free to negotiate any contract they can, but management has a system of slotting recommendations and tries to get teams to adhere to it. Some do, and some don't.
"Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Howard, I could go on and on, they all signed at slot or under. They're all doing pretty well," Selig said during a question-and-answer session with the Baseball Writers' Association of America. "Let's be honest about it: In this economy, the numbers that are being spent are pretty good."
Strasburg, who has a fastball that's been clocked at 102 mph, was 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA. He beat out Dustin Ackley (North Carolina), Mike Leake (Arizona State), Kent Matthes (Alabama) and A.J. Morris (Kansas State) for the Golden Spikes Award.
Strasburg is represented by Scott Boras. Talks are expected to go up to the Aug. 17 deadline, and Strasburg could receive a package worth more than the record $10.5 million pitcher Mark Prior got following the 2001 amateur draft.
"They're very sincere about signing Strasburg, and I'm hopeful that they will, and I know they're going to make him a very meaningful offer," Selig said. "Now, what happens from there is going to be up to Mr. Boras and Mr. Strasburg and what they want to do and what the Nationals want to do."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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