It went down to the wire, but Alex Lange officially agreed to join the Chicago Cubs organization Friday, minutes before the deadline for Major League clubs to sign their draft picks.
The hold up was an issue with the physical he took with the team Monday, causing the two sides to spend the majority of the week in negotiations.
Lange, who was selected with the 30th overall pick of this year’s draft, was initially planning to sign Tuesday in Phoenix, Ariz. Lange's adoptive mother, Renee Lange, was there with him in Phoenix.
"We thought he was going to sign on the Fourth of July," Renee Lange said. "There were some medical things — I honestly don’t know what (they were) — that came up. … But it didn’t happen that day and they extended it a couple days. It turned out OK."
Lange's deal was for $1.925 million, $259,300 below the $2,184,300 slot value for the pick. Lange was not alone in being a first-rounder to sign a below slot deal.
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Of the 30 players chosen in the first round, 11 signed deals for less than the slotted value according to the MLB Draft Tracker, which tracks signing bonuses doled out to draftees.
Prep infielder Royce Lewis, the No. 1 overall pick of the Minnesota Twins, signed for nearly $1 million less than the $7,770,700 slot value for the pick. Several others settled for far more under slot than Lange.
Every player chosen in the first round this year signed a professional contract. Lange was the last to reach a deal, not far behind No. 2 pick Hunter Greene, who signed for $7.23 million.
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The Missouri native finished his decorated LSU career as a two-time All-American, going 30-9 in 53 career starts and becoming the second pitcher in LSU history to record 400 career strikeouts (406).
He went 10-5 with a 2.97 ERA as a junior, ranking second nationally with 150 strikeouts in 124.1 innings.
Friday, that LSU career officially came to a close when he reached his contract agreement with the Cubs.
"He was thrilled," Renee Lange said. "He’s excited about being a member of the Cubs. He’s going to miss LSU something awful. I will say this: LSU has been more than a baseball team to him. LSU has been a family.
With LSU’s runner-up finish in the College World Series now in the history books, and coach …
"He’s very excited about the prospect of playing for the Cubs and this next chapter, but he’s going to sorely miss the family that LSU has become."
Lange became the last of eight players from LSU’s 2017 roster to sign professionally. Four LSU signees also chose to sign professional contracts rather than attending school.
LSU DRAFTEES (slot value in parentheses)
1/30 Alex Lange, Chicago Cubs, $1,925,00 ($2,184,300)
2/43 Greg Deichmann, Oakland A’s, $1,700,000 ($1,597,300)
4/124 Kramer Robertson, St. Louis Cardinals, $150,000 ($424,800)
4/133 Cole Freeman, Washington Nationals, $150,000 ($390,000)
9/261 Jared Poché, Oakland A’s, $40,000 ($145,000)
9/271 Michael Papierski, Houston Astros, $141,600 ($141,600)
18/537 Hunter Kiel, Chicago White Sox, $30,000 ($125,000)
25/737 Doug Norman, Cincinnati Reds, $125,000 ($125,000)
1/28 Nate Pearson, Toronto Blue Jays, $2,452,900 ($2,302,900)
3/76 Blayne Enlow, Minnesota Twins, $2,000,000 ($755,500)
3/85 Jacob Pearson, Los Angeles Angels, $1,000,000 ($656,300)
5/136 Andrew Bechtold, Minnesota Twins, $600,000 ($378,700)
*Most figures via MLB Draft Tracker