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Tribe maintaining dialogue with top pick

Tribe maintaining dialogue with top pick

CLEVELAND -- With less than a week to go before the deadline to sign selections from the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, the Indians haven't inked their No. 1 selection, right-hander Alex White.

The Indians plucked White out of the University of North Carolina with the 15th overall pick in the Draft. Now, White is one of 19 first-round picks who has yet to sign.

"Everyone is waiting to see what everyone else does," said Brad Grant, the Tribe's director of amateur scouting.

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When the waiting game is over and the dominoes begin to fall in earnest in the coming days, Grant remains optimistic that the Tribe will sign White.

"We've had consistent dialogue but have yet to reach an agreement," Grant said. "We still remain hopeful and optimistic that we'll get a deal done before the deadline."

The deadline is midnight ET on Monday.

For the sake of comparison, the Nationals signed No. 10 overall selection Drew Storen to a bonus of about $1.6 million, and the D-backs signed No. 17 overall pick A.J. Pollock to a bonus believed to be worth $1.4 million. Before the Draft, White was perceived by some to be likely to be selected higher than 15th overall, and it's possible he's seeking out a bonus more in line with those projections.

Should White sign, the Indians will discuss his developmental path with him. At the time of the Draft, Grant had said that the Indians intend to convert White to relief work. They have since backed off that stance slightly, saying they are open to the possibility of White developing as a starter.

White, who turns 21 on Aug. 29, recently finished up a junior season at UNC in which he went 8-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 16 starts.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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