Daniels Fields, a former U of M committ, was called up to the Tigers Class A Advanced Affliate the Lakeland Flying Tigers. For those of you who don't know, he was a Michigan committment out of U of D Jesuit this past year but the Tigers drafted him in the 6th round and gave him a $1.6 million signing bonus. It looks like he's on the fast track to play outfielder in the majors.
Due to real time updating, we're doing it via diary tonight. Also, I've noticed how crappy the diary editor is, so sorry for frequent updates as it keeps screwing up the html.
Tonight at midnight is the signing deadline for all drafted MLB prospects. If they don't sign tonight, they either go to college for 3 years or sit out (play in independent or foreign leagues) until next year's draft. Michigan has three recruits drafted, Daniel Fields (Tigers - 6th), Derek Dennis (Rays - 10th), and Patrick Biondi (Tigers 35th).
Fields, son of career minor leaguer and one time Tigers hitting coach Bruce Fields, did indeed sign with the Tigers around 10:30pm tonight. Fields was widely considered the top prospect out of Michigan this year (he or Dennis depending who you asked). He is expected to receive a 7-figure bonus for signing and attend the next few weeks in Lakeland, FL as the minor league season ends at the end of this month.
From the Jason Beck Tigers Blog:
"It was a very tough decision," Fields said Monday night, "because I'd fallen in love with Michigan ever since I went on my visit. It was a very tough decision. It was actually pretty hard calling coach [Rich] Maloney and telling him I wasn't coming."
The 7-figure bonus was way above the normal compensation for a 6th round pick, but his commitment to UM was the main culprit to his fall from the first 3 rounds to the 6th. The Tigers will probably get a slap on the wrist from Commissioner Bud Selig for the salary inflation but probably nothing more.
This is a pretty big loss for Michigan as Fields could have been a starting middle infielder this upcoming season. With Kevin Cislo graduating, the second base job is up for grabs and his to take.
In other signing news, Derek Dennis may be having a couple extra suitors at his door tonight. The Rays' top two prospects, LeVon Washington (2B) and Kenny Diekroeger (SS) both chose college over the pros. This leaves the Rays with Dennis as their top remaining unsigned middle infielder.
Dennis sounded like a Michigan lock only two months ago, but he was also invited to take batting practice with All Star third baseman Evan Longoria. Nothing's been heard since that June quote, so Dennis could still be mulling over his options.
If we hear anything about his signing tonight or tomorrow, I'll update you here.
Everything I've continued to read still has Dennis as a 100% Michigan lock.
The Freep also ran their article on Fields, where he described coach Maloney as "the main reason why I chose Michigan. I love him to death."