It’s D-Day — decision day — for Charlie Tilson.
The Illinois baseball recruit faces an 11 p.m. Monday deadline to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals. Tilson, the 2011 Gatorade Illinois Player of the Year from New Trier High School, was drafted in June by the Cardinals in the second round with the 79th overall pick.
If Tilson and the Cardinals don’t reach agreement by the deadline, he would become the highest-drafted Illini recruit not to turn pro since at least 1981. According to records in the team media guide, the highest-drafted recruit in that span to reject a pro deal and enter the UI was pitcher Jason Anderson in 1997. The Danville native was a sixth-round selection of the Kansas City Royals.
According to Baseball America, the recommended signing-bonus amount from the commissioner’s office for Tilson’s slot in the draft is estimated at $457,200. Tilson’s negotiations are being handled by his father, Joe Tilson, an attorney who specializes in organized labor agreements and employment litigation.
Charlie Tilson, a 5-foot-11 outfielder, is far from alone in taking negotiations down to the final 24 hours. Entering Monday, 98 of the 331 selections in the first 10 rounds had yet to sign pro contracts, Baseball America reported. The unsigned group includes 23 of the 33 first-round picks and 11 of 27 supplemental first-round selections.