Down to the wire hon
In June we saw the happy end of the emotional spectrum when the Orioles drafted Dylan Bundy. At midnight tonight (while the O's are playing the Oakland A's) we'll see the other side of that if they can't sign him. If you believe scouting reports, Bundy is a future A-Lister; then again so were a lot of players who couldn't seem to hack it this year. But I digress; Bundy's brother Bobby is already in the Orioles' farm system (Frederick). So that in itself was part of the draw to Bundy from the perspective of the Orioles' director of scouting Joe Jordan. That of course would make things all the more painful if Bundy doesn't sign by midnight. MLB is the only sport in which players don't really have to sign with the team that drafts them. Basically if they aren't signed by August 15th, they can go back to high school or college and re-enter the draft the following year. Certainly NFL and NBA players are free not to sign as well, however if they don't sign, the team that drafts them continues to hold their rights (for up to a year). I would also mention that if Bundy doesn't sign, the O's would get a supplemental pick in next year's draft.
Personally I fail to believe that the O's and Bundy won't get something done. Then again, I've been wrong about pretty much this entire season, so what do I know? However teams don't blindly draft players; they do so with the knowledge that odds are that guy will sign with them. However wouldn't it be the Orioles' luck that Bundy doesn't sign and then next year gets drafted by a team and ends up the next Nolan Ryan? This is partially why the failures of Matusz, Tillman, and others this season resonates so loudly. People such as Dylan Bundy see that, and it potentially makes them wonder if they wouldn't be better off sitting out another year and re-entering the draft in 2012. Would his skills atrophize in Baltimore? Would some freak injury befall him? These are all questions that have to come up in a prospect's mind in these situations, because he'll be with the Orioles' system for the foreseeable future.
The most recent big-name picks the Orioles have made (most notably Matt Wieters and Manny Machado) signed at the 11th hour when there was evidence to suggest that they wouldn't. Wieters has certainly panned out, and all evidence points to Machado being the Orioles' shortstop of the future. Most of what's been reported this summer has been that the big issue in signing Bundy has been related mostly to money. One has to hope that the two sides are able to come to some sort of happy medium in that department, otherwise Joe Jordan and the Orioles will have a lot of 'splaining to do in the morning.