Top pick may be deadline decision

DENVER — Whether Jose Fernandez signs with the Marlins may become a deadline decision.

According to a source familiar with the negotiations, talks are expected to go “down to the wire.”

All MLB teams have until 12:01 p.m. ET on Tuesday to come to terms with their draftees, meaning official notification has to be in the Commissioner’s Office when the clock strikes midnight.

A team that does not sign its first- or second-round pick will receive a compensatory pick in the 2012 Draft. That selection will come at the same slot, plus one. In other words, if a team doesn’t sign the No. 9 overall pick, it would receive the No. 10 pick — technically 9A — the following year. A team does not receive a 2012 pick if it does not come to terms with a selection made with a compensation pick this year.

Fernandez, the 14th overall pick, is a graduate of Tampa Alonso High School. A Cuban defector, the 6-foot-3 right-hander sports a fastball that has been clocked as high as 98 mph.

As of late last week, the two sides were far apart. The projected slot for the 14th pick is $1.6 million, and according to some reports, Fernandez is seeking close to $2 million more than that.

Joe Frisaro

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