ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have agreed to terms with switch-hitting shortstop Riley Unroe, their second-round selection in last week's First-Year Player Draft, and signed five more of their picks.
Unroe, drafted out of Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, Ariz., will travel to Florida on Thursday and sign with the Rays on Friday. According to a baseball source, Unroe's signing bonus is $1 million.
The Rays were optimistic that they'd be able to sign Unroe, who had a full scholarship offer to the University of Southern California, as soon as they drafted him. Several reports cast doubt on whether Unroe would accept the slot value assigned to the 60th overall pick ($927,500) when he could instead play at USC. When Unroe spoke to MLB.com the day after he was picked, he admitted it was going to be a "tough decision."
But less than a week later, exactly a month before the July 12 signing deadline, Unroe is preparing to start his professional career. Scouting director R.J. Harrison has spoken highly of Unroe's up-the-middle defense, whether it lands him at shortstop, center field or second base, as well as his natural baseball instincts and Major League bloodlines. His father Tim played for the Brewers, Angels and Braves from 1995-2000.
On Wednesday, Tampa Bay announced the signings of right-hander John Farrell (21st round, no relation to the Red Sox manager by the same name), left-hander Stone Speer (25th round), right-hander Hyrum Forno (27th round), left-hander Derek Lorea (28th round) and right-hander Colton Reavis (30th round).
The Rays have officially signed six of their 41 Draft picks, with Unroe soon to be added to that list.