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Auburn's Tyler Beede turned down a $2.5 million signing bonus tonight from the Toronto Blue Jays, the team that picked the hard-throwing right-hander 21st overall in June's MLB draft.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Beede is now headed to Vanderbilt University with dreams of winning an NCAA title. He won't be eligible to re-enter the draft until 2014.
Beede said the Blue Jays called with their final offer at 11:55 p.m., but the former Lawrence Academy and Auburn High right-hander stuck to his original request of $3.5 million.
The negotiations ended there, Beede said.
Midnight was the deadline for major league teams to sign their college-eligible draft picks.
Beede was the only first-rounder not to sign. The top pick, UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole, signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for $8 million. Three years ago, Cole chose not to sign with the Yankees, who took him with the 28th overall pick.
Beede committed early to Vanderbilt University in December 2009.
Meanwhile, Toronto receives a first-round pick in next year's draft as compensation.
“I'm Vandy-bound,” Beede said. “I'm couldn't be more excited to play under some of the best coaches in the country. I'm not only going to get better as a player, but as a person.”
The Blue Jays' first call to Beede tonight came at 11:10 p.m.
“They were still far off,” Beede said. “They ended up getting to $2.5 million, but that still wasn't what we valued the Vanderbilt education at. It was obviously the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but I'm tremendously excited.”
Before the negotiations picked up, Beede said he spent most of the day lounging around his Auburn home. He also went to the gym, for a walk and to church.
It's not uncommon for teams to wait to negotiate with their top picks, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos wasn't in the mood to haggle.
“You make an offer you feel is fair. If it's good enough, great, (we) would be thrilled to have the players,” Anthopoulos told MLB.com on Sunday. “If it's not good enough, for the top three rounds we'll get the picks back the following year and we'll move on.”
After helping Auburn High win the Division 2 state title as a sophomore in 2009, Beede transferred to Lawrence Academy in Groton and went 14-1 with 189 strikeouts in 96-1/3 innings. He was 8-0 with an 0.69 ERA this spring.
In June, Beede became the first high school player from Massachusetts taken in the first round since Jeff Allison of Peabody in 2003.
Beede said the Blue Jays remained professional throughout the process.
“In the end of the day, it's a business and I'm looking forward to going to Vanderbilt,” he said.