Wed, June 11: Illini recruit might return
University of Illinois pitcher Brett Weber has rejected several offers from the Philadelphia Phillies and is close to making a decision whether to turn pro or return for his senior season.
"We're still negotiating," Weber said Tuesday from his family's home in Glenview. "I've set my demands (for a signing bonus) and it's to the point where it's an either-or thing – either they meet them or I go back to school.
"It should all be completed by the end of this week or early next week because I want to get this over with."
Weber was selected by the Phillies in the 16th round of the amateur draft June 3. The team made its first offer Friday, then boosted it a day later.
"But it wasn't what we were looking for," said Weber, 5-4 with a 3.52 earned run average for the Illini this spring.
Negotiations continued Monday, the right-hander said, but without progress.
Weber said he is eager to get back on the mound, whether it's in the Phillies' minor league system or in a summer collegiate league. Before the draft, he had committed to play for Waterloo, Iowa, of the Northwoods League.
"If this thing goes any longer, I might just go there and start playing and see what happens," Weber said. "I just want to get out and start playing somewhere. I don't want this to be a four-week thing ... so I can get on with my summer."
Weber was the only Illini underclassman taken in the draft. Illinois also saw two of its recruits – pitcher Jason Anderson of Danville and shortstop Rob Fischer of LaGrange Lyons – drafted. Anderson was selected in the sixth round by the Kansas City Royals, Fisher in the 27th round by the New York Yankees.
Negotiations with both could not begin until their high school seasons ended. Anderson's Danville team played its final game Monday, a 13-6 loss to Mattoon in the Class AA sectional semifinals. Fisher's Lyons team played Tuesday in a Class AA sectional title game against New Trier at Niles1 .
"(The Royals) might have called (Monday night) and left a message, but I haven't heard from them (today)," Anderson said. "Right now, I'm just relaxing."
Fisher has said he intends to attend the UI.