Brady Aiken, the 1st overall pick in the 2014 Draft, reportedly agreed to a $6.5 million dollar contract a while back but didn't sign it due to the fact his MRI turned up something. What that something is, no one seems to know. It's not an injury, but it is some sort of abnormality. This abnormality still allows him to hit 97 MPH with his fastball and Aiken's adviser Casey Close contends that usurps any medical speculation to what is wrong with his arm.
The Astros have a concern that Aiken's elbow may blow up and he is a huge part of their future and needs to be healthy and effective. If they have a concern, they have the right to offer him 40% of the slot and if Aiken doesn't sign for that, they will get the #2 pick in the 2015 draft. I assume that is not their goal. They want Aiken but they don't want to balance their risk. That's just business. They are following the rules laid out in the CBA with Aiken but they are in a gray area with Nix in my opinion.
My assumption is that after they saw the potential game changer in Aiken's arm, they thought the best insurance for this would be to offer Aiken less and use the money on another big arm. If I saw something worrisome in Aiken's arm, I would move to plan B. I would contact Mac Marshall, a top talent who I had #33 on my draft board, and offer him the same deal as Jacob Nix. He reportedly verbally agreed to $1.5 million and if Marshall would agree to that, the Astros still could offer Aiken just under $5.4 million without draft pick penalty. I think Aiken would sign for that and I would hope that amount would sway Marshall from LSU. If it didn't, I would be disappointed but would need to make sure Nix signs and live up to the deal made with him and not lose draft picks to do it. Aiken has to sign for that to happen. That's not only good business but best for the future of the franchise.
In reality, the Astros seem to be running this negotiation similar to the way they negotiated trades in the documents that leaked recently. They aim for the sky and hope for the best. They offered Aiken 40% to get a comp pick and wait to see if they can get the most bang for their buck. If he says yes, they get Aiken, Nix and Marshall. He didn't say yes and it sounds like it angered him and his family and representatives. That happens when you low ball someone. It doesn't mean the negotiation is over. It doesn't mean he won't sign but it could be a long term factor in the organizations relationship with him and his agent.
As of Friday at 4 PM central, I really think Aiken and Nix are both signed. I doubt they get Marshall signed, even though I think in the end they will have the money to offer him a deal he should take. I think Nix signs for the verbally agreed $1.5 million and Aiken gets $4.5-5 million.