PHOENIX — Hunter Greene does not yet have a driver’s license.
During his trip to Cincinnati to take his physical earlier in the week, he had to use his birth certificate to get through airport security. When he accidentally left it behind in his Cincinnati hotel room, he was able to talk his way on the plane back to Los Angeles anyway because he’s under 18.
Whenever he does become a licensed driver, the 17-year-old right-hander from Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) will be able to buy whatever car he wants. At the last second Friday, the last day to negotiate, the Cincinnati Reds and the No. 2 overall pick agreed to a record-breaking bonus of $7,230,000, according to multiple sources.
The negotiations came down to the very last second, according to Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams. The Reds had until 5 p.m. Eastern to strike a deal, and the deadline actually passed before any official word of an agreement was distributed.
“Anybody that aspires to be a GM should have shadowed me today,” Williams said. “That would have disabused them of the notion, I think. It was just tough because there was a lot at stake.”
That bonus beats the previous record of $7,005,000, given this year by the Tampa Bay Rays to No. 4 overall pick Brendan McKay, who forced his way to that spot because the Rays could guarantee such a payday.
The bonus came in $36,000 above slot, which this year was $7,193,200 for the second overall pick. Greene is the only draftee taken in the top two picks in the history of the current draft system, which began in 2012, to sign for an above-slot bonus.
Greene likely will report to Rookie-Advanced Billings (Mont.) to begin his professional career, although Williams allowed for the possibility that the 17-year-old could first head to the Reds’ spring training facility in Arizona to begin a throwing program. Greene hasn’t pitched in several months.
Once Greene does reach Billings, the Reds plan to have him pitch the rest of the season in order to set him up for a decent workload in 2018, although Greene occasionally could serve as a designated hitter in games he doesn’t start.
There’ll be plenty of time to figure that out. The stressful part is done.
“It’s like when we had to do our homework,” Williams said. “You take until the last night before the homework was due to get it all done. In cases like this, there’s a lot at stake for both sides and it takes a while sometimes for everybody to get comfortable that they’re getting a deal that maximizes their interests.”