The First Rounder Who'd Rather Play For The Long Island Ducks Than Sign With The AstrosS

The Astros are high on UConn outfielder George Springer, who they took last month with the 11th overall pick. How high? He's got some wondering if Hunter Pence isn't now expendable. But the deadline to agree to terms is August 15th, and Springer spent his weekend on Long Island, meeting with the GM of the independent league Ducks.

The Ducks, like other independent teams, are known for signing has-beens to sell tickets, and never-weres looking for a paycheck. But they're also an effective form of leverage.

Ducks GM Michael Pfaff confirms the meeting with Springer and his father on Saturday at Bethpage Ballpark, and sounds resigned to being a backup plan.

"We were contacted by the agent for Mr. Springer, who was interested in discussing options should he not agree to terms with Houston," Pfaff says. "If he is unable to agree with the Astros we may discuss further but, as of now, this is the extent of it."

It wouldn't be unheard of: Aaron Crow played a year for the Fort Worth Cats rather than sign with the Nationals, and he's now a closer-in-waiting in Kansas City. But it would be a blow to the Astros, who have little talent and less hope. How much would it take to avoid this fiasco? Somewhere around $2 million.