CINCINNATI -- Friday's 4 p.m. CT deadline to sign players taken in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft came and went with little noise in St. Louis, largely because the Cardinals had already solidified their class.
The Cardinals ended up signing 34 of their 44 selections, including each of the first 14 players selected by the club. Four of those players -- right-hander Michael Wacha (No. 19 overall), outfielder James Ramsey (No. 23), third baseman Stephen Piscotty (No. 36) and third baseman Carson Kelly (No. 86) -- received a bonus of at least $1.43 million.
Wacha topped the group with his $1.9 million deal.
"We feel really good about signing 34 players from our Draft class," first-year Cardinals scouting director Dan Kantrovitz said. "In particular, one of our goals was to get all of the top 10-round picks signed and to get the majority of them out on the field as quickly as possible. Looking back on it, I think we accomplished that."
General manager John Mozeliak credited the Draft changes instituted in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement for pushing Draftees to sign quickly after being selected. Not only was the signing deadline moved up by a month, but players were also aware that teams only had a select pool of money to hand out bonuses from.
"The fact that they could go out and play [this summer] benefits them in their career," Mozeliak said. "In the past, when you had the Aug. 15 signing deadline, a lot of deals were getting done at the 11th hour, and then the season was almost over. And I think a lot of the angst in the negotiations that there have been in the past is relatively calm compared to past years."
The Cardinals' Draft bonus pool for players chosen in rounds 1-10 (and those taken afterward who receive a bonus upwards of $100,000) was $9.1311 million this season. St. Louis spent more than that allotted amount, but because the overage was under a five-percent threshold, the organization incurs only a tax. The Cardinals do not lose any future Draft picks as a penalty.
Among those not to sign with the Cardinals were Tate Matheny, son of manager Mike Matheny, and Eduardo Oquendo, son of third-base coach Jose Oquendo. Tate Matheny, who was selected in the 23rd round, will honor his commitment to play at Missouri State University. Eduardo Oquendo, a 32nd-round pick, will return to Olney Central College in Illinois.