Parker and Lee Sign Baseball Contracts, but Take Different Paths
Both players were plenty busy, however.
Lee and Parker, a pair of first-round draft selections in last June's Major League Baseball amateur draft, signed last-minute deals to play professional baseball -- Lee with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Parker with the Colorado Rockies. The difference is Lee has taken his last snap at LSU, while Parker will continue to play football at Clemson this upcoming season.
Lee was once considered unsignable after the right-handed pitcher and incoming recruit expressed a desire to play football at LSU. He fell to the Dodgers at No. 28 in the first round. Lee attended summer classes at LSU and immediately impressed the coaching staff in practice with his strong arm and poise.
Still, Lee wasn't expected to contend for the starter's role for a season or two. Terms were not released but reports have put Lee's deal at $5.25 million over five years, easily topping the Dodger organization's high-water mark of $2.3 million it gave to pitcher Clayton Kershaw in 2006.
"This was a very personal decision for Zach and his family," LSU head football coach Les Miles said in a statement. "This opportunity was just too difficult to pass up. We wish Zach and his family the very best. He's an outstanding young man and we hope he develops into a great Major League pitcher."
Parker, meanwhile, also agreed to terms just before the midnight deadline on Monday for reportedly $1.4 million. It was believed that Parker, the 26th overall selection, wanted twice that amount to walk away from football and play pro baseball full time
Parker batted .344 with 20 homers and 64 RBI in 67 games for the Tigers last season, helping them advance to the College World Series.
Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney commended Parker for his ability to focus on football during his continued negotiations. Parker tossed three touchdowns in Saturday's scrimmage.
Swinney didn't hesitate to allow Parker to return home to be with his family in Augusta, Ga., to work out the contract with the Rockies.
"This is a very important decision for Kyle and he has a lot of things to work out, so he has the rest of today and Tuesday off," Swinney said, according to the team's practice report.
"I told him he could take all of Monday off, but he wanted to be here for this morning practice. He has done a great job focusing on football since he came back to school. He had a great scrimmage on Saturday. I know he is looking forward to getting this contract settled. We won't have practice Wednesday, because it is the first day of school, so we will see him Thursday."