Negotiations pushed toward the signing deadline, but Wesleyan grad Grayson Garvin decided late Monday night to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays and to give up his senior season at Vanderbilt.
The Rays selected the left-handed pitcher in the compensatory round, with the 59th overall pick, in this year's Major League Baseball Amateur Players Draft. As a junior, Garvin had the option of returning to Vandy.
"I was trying to weigh in certain factors, but this is what I wanted do, play pro baseball," the Suwanee resident said. "It's been my dream since I was a little kid. I'm glad the whole process is over and I'm very excited to get to work and I'm very excited to get better at a game I love."
Baseball America reported that Garvin received a $370,000 signing bonus, below the slot value of that spot of $614,700, because the Rays were concerned with something in his medical report from a 2009 injury. The whole negotiation process showed the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder a different side of baseball.
"The negotiation was kind of unexpected," Garvin said. "As an amateur athlete, you don't see that business side of it. My eyes were kind of opened a little bit to that."
Any past medical issues didn't seem to bother Garvin the past few seasons.
He earned SEC pitcher of the year honors this past spring, going 13-2 with a 2.48 ERA as Vandy reached its first College World Series. He earned Cape Cod League pitcher of the year honors in the summer of 2010, rebounding from arm pain that flared up in 2009.
"I feel great now," Garvin said. "I haven't had any problems this year or last year or in the summer. I fully expect it not to be a problem."
Garvin expects to begin his career in Port Charlotte, Fla., with the Rays' instructional league team. He has been working out on his own this summer since Vandy's season ended, spending most of his time with Lawrenceville-based trainer Ryan Goldin.