The clock is ticking, and things aren't looking so good for the Nationals...which means, things might be looking good for Mizzou.
9. RHP Aaron Crow, Washington Nationals
The Nationals would have loved to have had Crow in the fold shortly after the Draft and gotten straight to work with him. But he and his reps, the Hendricks brothers, are playing hardball, looking for considerably more than the $2.15 million the club gave Ross Detwiler, last year's first-rounder. This one is contentious, and it doesn't appear the Nats will budge. Crow was talking in the $8-10 million range before the Draft, and that's just not realistic.
He can take his chances and go back to Missouri for another year, but next year's crop of Draft-eligible pitchers is much deeper. Crow has some leverage, but he might just use it to push himself out of a good deal. Washington signed its third- and fourth-round picks earlier this week, but the club has been adamant about not giving out a Major League contract.
While $8-$10 million is absolutely insane (without checking, I'm pretty sure it'd make him the highest-paid player in the Nationals organization), the Nationals need to sign Crow—who, unfortunately for them, has all the leverage here. Crow could contribute to the big league club as early as next year and could form a pretty solid 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation with John Lannan, and if Washington can't get him signed, they're going to continue to have pitching problems for years.
On the other side, Crow would be crazy to go back to Mizzou for another year. If he got hurt (remember this? There seems to be a decent chance of that happening), he'd drop out of the first round and lose a lot of money, even if he demanded more money as a later-round pick. It's just not worth the risk for Crow, and ultimately, his camp could fold and take a deal for much less money than he initially wanted.
The MLB.com article also writes that Orioles #4 overall pick Brian Matusz's negotiations likely will be impacted by what Crow gets—so if Crow ends up getting somewhere in the $7 million range (still pretty high), the O's might have to give Matusz a ridiculous contract. If Matusz signs before Crow and gets less than Crow wants, though, it'll give Washington a ton of leverage into signing him.
In the end, I think somebody budges—which usually happens right before the deadline—but out of all the negotiations, it seems like this one has the highest potential to fall apart and send a player back to college.