COLUMBIA — Kyle Gibson and the Minnesota Twins reached an agreement minutes before the deadline for teams to sign draft picks Monday night.
Gibson, the former Missouri Tigers ace who was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft, signed for $1.85 million, he said by phone.
“I’m just pumped,” Gibson said. “I’m excited to be a Twin.”
The Twins selected the 21-year-old Gibson with the 22nd overall choice in June.
“We are very excited,” said Rob Antony, the Twins assistant general manager. “This is a quality young man.”
Although Gibson had been projected to go in the first ten picks, he dropped after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right forearm days before the draft.
Gibson had said he would return to Missouri for his senior year if he did not sign. But Monday night he said he had faith the Twins would reach an agreement.
Gibson will report in September to the Gulf Coast League Twins, the Twins rookie league affiliate in Ft. Myers, Fla.
The Twins see Gibson as a potential front-line starter, Antony said, but not “before he’s ready.”
Heading in to the final weekend of negotiations, Gibson and the Twins were not close to reaching an agreement.
“We were still stuck,” Gibson said Sunday night.
Gibson’s adviser, Randy Rowley, maintained that Gibson, should be compensated according to his pre-draft potential, particularly since he had been cleared by Twins doctors.
The Twins countered that Gibson should be paid in line with MLB slot recommendations, approximately $1.287 million for the 22nd pick, according to Baseball America’s executive editor Jim Callis.
On Monday, Twins CEO Jim Pohlad approved an offer more than $500,000 above the slot, Antony said.
Gibson’s side, meanwhile, reduced its initial demand for a bonus in excess of $2 million.
“We worked to get to the middle,” Gibson said.
Gibson was the second Missouri pitcher in two years selected in the first round of the draft.
Aaron Crow, Gibson’s former teammate, was picked ninth overall by the Washington Nationals in the 2008 draft, but failed to come to terms with the team, rejecting a $3.5 million bonus.
After pitching for the Fort Worth Cats in the independent American Association this past spring, Crow was selected again in the 2009 draft by the Kansas City Royals with the 12th pick in the first round.
MLB ruled on August 6th that Crow was not bound by Monday’s signing deadline because he didn’t pitch in college in 2009.
Callis said he doesn’t think Crow will sign anytime soon.
The next target date will be early enough for him to play in the Arizona fall league, which doesn’t start until October, Callis said.
Despite news reports to the contrary, Missouri pitching coach Tony Vitello said that Crow and the Royals have made some progress in their talks.
“He wants to go out and pitch,” Vitello said, “but he wants a reasonable deal.”
Crow could not be reached for comment.
Strasburg signs: The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a contract with No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg.
The last-place team and the hard-throwing right-hander from San Diego State faced a deadline of midnight Monday night to reach a deal.
Strasburg went 13-1 last season, leading Division I pitchers in ERA and strikeouts, and won the Golden Spikes award for the top U.S. amateur baseball player.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.