It was uncomfortably close for a fan base scarred by years of watching their team blow opportunities, but with just seven minutes to go before the 12 AM Eastern time deadline, the Mariners signed their top draft pick, Dustin Ackley, a 21-year-old lefty hitter out of the University of North Carolina. Ackley's agent, of course, is the mega-loathed Scott Boras, a notoriously hardass negotiator. And Ackley got a pretty sweet deal--in addition to a $6 million signing bonus, $1.5 million in guaranteed salary, and $2.5 million in incentives, Ackley got signed to the team's major league roster, which may encourage the Mariners to bring him up quicker, as--sunk cost or not--they'll already be paying him like he's up. While elbow surgery (the dreaded Tommy John) kept him at first base, the Mariners project the speedy Ackley as an outfielder, which may make Seely-favorite Michael Saunders the odd man out on the outfield grass in 2011, when Ackley seems likely to join the club.
In addition to the money, Ackley's contract guarantees him an oversized helment.