Etiwanda shortstop Tyler Freeman made it official. He signed with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, officially declining the scholarship he had to Texas Christian University.
Freeman, 18, was in Cleveland earlier this week and signed his first professional contract before the Indians game against the Texas Rangers. Several family members were there to help him celebrate.
Then it he caught a flight to Arizona to join the Indians rookie ball team in Goodyear, just outside of Phoenix.
Saturday is an off day for the Indians rookie ball affiliate but Freeman said he plans to stand in so the team’s pitchers can get some extra work and he’ll get the chance to see live pitching which he hasn’t in a few weeks.
He hopes to be in the lineup playing regularly Sunday or Monday.
Freeman, who led the Eagles to the Division 2 CIF championship, ended up getting the signing bonus of $816,500 which is the slotted amount for where he was drafted – the second round, 71st pick overall.
He had been asking for seven figures but decided the slot value was enough.
He admitted calling his coaches at TCU and telling them he would be turning professional was difficult. But he was anxious to start his professional career.
“I felt bad because I told them what I was asking for and ended up taking less,” he said. “But each day that went on I was more sure it was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up.”
And Freeman didn’t exactly splurge when landing the lucrative signing bonus. He said there will be no frivolous purchases. He plans on investing in some real estate and banking the rest.