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Covey Goes Unsigned; Can’t Blame Anyone

Sometimes, things just don’t work out.  You could call it the motto of the Brewers’ 2010 season, I guess.

Free agent signings haven’t worked out the way the front office had planned.  Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun have gone through prolonged slumps.  And now, the team’s top pick in this year’s draft, Dylan Covey, decided not to sign with the Brewers after discovering he has Type 1 Diabetes.

Monday night brought a lot of emotions and kneejerk reactions when the news started to come out that Covey wasn’t signing.  Were the Brewers being cheap over a few hundred thousand dollars?  Did Covey see the slew of outrageously overslot bonuses being handed out behind him and suddenly want more?  At first we heard it wasn’t about the money, but it’s easy to be skeptical about that when contract negotiations break down.  Whenever someone says it’s not about the money, it actually is about the money 99% of the time.

This was part of that 1%.

Once we found out Covey was recently diagnosed as diabetic, the decision to stay closer to home and keep his commitment to San Diego was understandable.  For a 19-year old kid recently diagnosed with a serious disease, it’s probably not best to be learning how to deal with it while riding around on minor league bus trips.

There’s been a lot of finger pointing this year when it comes to the team’s problems on the field.  It’s Macha’s fault for burning out the bullpen.  It’s Melvin’s fault the rotation wasn’t sufficiently upgraded.  It’s Peterson’s fault every pitcher the team had last year has regressed.

This wasn’t anyone’s fault.  By all indications, the Brewers didn’t know about this when they drafted him.  When they found out, they could have easily ceased all negotiations, like the Diamondbacks did when Barret Loux failed his physical.  To the organization’s credit, they still wanted to get a deal done.  They wanted to figure out a way to make things comfortable for Covey to sign.  They made every attempt to get their first round pick under contract, but the club couldn’t have done enough to get Covey’s name on the dotted line.

This was a family decision, and one that was made under what must be incredible emotional stress, along with the pressure of the signing deadline.  Does this stink from the Brewers’ perspective?  Sure, it does.  But let’s not forget the fact that Covey is passing up $2 million that he’s not guaranteed to get again the next time he’s draft eligible.

As Bruce Seid said, no one is excited about this, but the silver lining for the Brewers is that they will get the same pick in next year’s draft as compensation, likely giving them two Top 15 picks in what’s being described as a very deep draft class — especially when it comes to pitching.