Decision time nears for Stassi
Single-A or UCLA?
T-minus five days and counting to the Mid-Valley knowing the future of it's brightest sports star.
By Aug. 17, Max Stassi will either be under contract with the Oakland Athletics or shopping for his dorm room. The date marks the deadline for clubs to sign picks from the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Stassi, who was taken in the fourth round, received an official offer from the A's on Monday, said Jim Stassi, Max's father and coach at Yuba City High.
And while the offer is still below "the bottom line" of what it would take to pull Max away from his full-ride scholarship, it still raised eyebrows.
"We're negotiating right now," Jim Stassi said. "It was more than what I anticipated they would offer."
The father declined to discuss monetary specifics of the offer or say just how close his son was to inking a contract with the A's. But he did say the offer was in first-round territory and they are "leaning that direction" toward the pros.
"They're definitely in the ballpark," Jim Stassi said of the offer.
Many of the 2009 first-round draft picks have yet to sign. But of those who have, only the 31st ($972,000) and 32nd ($900,000) picks' bonuses were below the seven-figure range, according to pgcrosschecker.
Prior to the start of June 10 draft, it was common knowledge among the 30 MLB teams that the Stassi camp wanted "top-20 money" for Max, a three-time Appeal-Democrat All-Area MVP who finished his prep career with a .514 batting average with 40 homer runs and 162 RBIs.
Over the summer, he played for the Gold Sox and honed his wooden-bat hitting against collegiate level pitching. In 34 games, he finished with a .301 average with 26 RBIs.
But on draft day, concerns over tendinitis in his shoulder and signability issues led the catching standout, who was a projected first rounder in many mock drafts, to fall to the A's at pick No. 123. Twenty four of the 30 fourth-round picks have signed, with an average signing bonus of more than $228,000.
Regardless of where he was drafted, the Stassi's remained resolute in their desire for first-round money, what they believe is the necessary amount to forgo a free UC education.
"The one thing about this whole process is that it's not all about money," said Jim Stassi, a former AAA catcher who wants to see his son chase his dream of playing pro ball.
"He wants to be a baseball player," said Jim Stassi, who added the option of UCLA before stating his son's desire. "He really doesn't want to be a fireman or a police officer or whatever — he's a baseball player."
On July 20, the A's brought the prospect down to Oakland Coliseum and had him catch a bullpen session for starter Trevor Cahill, take batting practice and spend some time in general manager Billy Beane's suite, Max said.
As for the next five days, the 18-year-old is "going to relax," he said.
"Yeah it's kind of in our ballpark range," he said, echoing the words of his dad. "We'll see how it works out."