At the conclusion of the third day of the amateur draft in June, the clock began ticking towards August 16. The significance of that date is that it represents the deadline for clubs to sign any of their draft picks to professional contracts. After this date a team can no longer negotiate with the player.

Any team unable to sign their first-round selection will be compensateedd with a supplementary pick in next year’s draft one spot below their draft slot. In the Diamondbacks case that would mean if they cannot sign their first-round selection, Barret Loux who was drafted sixth overall, the team would receive the seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft.

This has some significance especially in the case of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Shortly after the June draft the team began negotiations and had found common ground on a contract. As part of the process Loux was given a physical, but he failed the physical as a result of arm problems.

The Diamondbacks rescinded their contract offer and the two sides began to distance themselves from each other.

Loux began playing in the Cape Cod League to show his arm was healthy, but Arizona seemed less than interested in how sound Loux was physically.

The 2010 draft had been classified as a rather weak draft class. After the first couple of picks it became a crapshoot trying to decide who warranted being drafted at a particular round or slot.

On the other hand, the 2011 draft appears to be shaping up to be fairly deep with better talent available.

While other teams rushed to sign their first-round picks, Arizona seems content to let time pass absolving them from making a wrong decision. Of course Loux is not the only draft choice unsigned by the Diamondbacks.

Arizona has 20 draft choices who have yet to sign a professional contracts. The Diamondbacks expect to be busy throughout the day leading up to the deadline hoping to sign as many of these players as possible.

Three players of particular interest are right-handed pitchers Blake Perry and James Green and outfielder Tyler Linton. Of these Linton is the most fascinating. At 6-3, 210 lbs Linton is tall and lean. He has tremendous athleticism and could play either center field or first base.

Linton who is a high school graduate of Charlotte Christian in Matthews, NC is a two-sport player with a football scholarship to North Carolina. Based upon his football options Linton has more leverage than your average 14th round draft pick.

If the Diamondbacks want his services they will need to go well over slot money in order for him to renounce his football scholarship.

Arizona has been down this road and has been creative in their signings, offering specific educational compensation to make sure the player still receives a college education. Don’t be surprised if Linton gets signed just before the deadline.

With nearly half of their draft picks still un-signed, the Diamondbacks plan on being busy today. Their internal goal is to sign at least two of the top six unsigned players.

From the sounds of things they should be able to accomplish that goal; unfortunately one of those won’t be first-round pick Loux.

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