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Beeston wishes he could have gotten through to Paxton Add to ...

The one undeniable fact concerning Paul Beeston, the interim president of the Toronto Blue Jays, is the man can talk.

And he only wishes he was able to use his persuasive oratory skills directly on James Paxton, the Blue Jays supplemental first-round pick from Ladner, B.C., who was unable to come to terms on a contract with the club.

The left-handed pitcher will now head back for his senior year at the University of Kentucky and will be eligible to reenter baseball's draft next year.

"I think he wanted to sign and it was just a number that we could not bring ourselves to pay," Beeston said earlier today.

Beeston said the Jays offered money above the slot that is recommended by Major League Baseball.

Beeston personally handled the negotiations with Paxton, the top Canadian selected in the draft and his agent is Scott Boras.

When Boras is involved, Beeston said, you can only talk with Boras.

"Because it was Scott, the way that you deal you deal through him," Beeston said. "You don't deal through the family. Now I would prefer to deal with the family and I wonder whether I could have done a better job on it. I kind of criticize myself.

"But I don't think it would have changed things because you're dealing with one of the shrewdest and best prepared negotiators in sports. I have no regrets."

While the Jays were able to sign their top pick, right-handed pitcher Chad Jenkins out of Kennesaw State to a contract worth $1.3-million, the Blue Jays struck out with their next three selections - including two Canadians in Paxton and Jake Eliopoulos of Newmaket, Ont.

Eliopoulos, a high-school pitcher, was chosen by Toronto in the second round.

Jake Barrett, a Phoenix-area high-school pitcher who was chosen in the third round by the Blue Jays, also did not come to terms on a contract.

While the Blue Jays were able to sign 34 of the players they selected in the draft, Beeston agreed the club was irked by the ones who got away - especially the Canadians.

"For me personally I thought both Paxton and Eliopoulos, both being Canadian, would have been terrific for us," Beeston said. "It just didn't happen. And I guess they'll both go to school next year and they'll be back in the draft and who knows we might pick them again."


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