Stewart, a right-handed pitcher from Eau Gallie High School in Florida, was selected by the Braves with the eighth overall pick in last year's draft, and negotiations were complicated by a wrist injury. Because he didn't sign, the Braves get an extra selection in the first round this June, the ninth pick overall.
The eighth pick had a slot value of $4,980,700 for its signing bonus, and the union claimed the Braves failed to make Stewart an offer of at least 40 percent of the slot value. Major league rules specify that if a club fails to make such an offer to a drafted player who is not part of Major League Baseball's pre-draft MRI program and who later fails a club-administered physical, the player would become a free agent and the team would not get the extra draft pick.
Arbitrator Mark Irvings held the Braves made a 40 percent offer to Stewart, which meant he did not have to rule on any of the other issues presented by the case. The union declined to comment.
Stewart is enrolled at Eastern Florida State College.
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