Chad Bentz, the Juneau pitcher who was the 203rd overall selection in the seventh round of Major League Baseball's free agent draft last week, signed a six-year deal with the Montreal Expos on Saturday.
The specifics of the contract were not made available, but according to Bentz his signing bonus was in the six-figure range plus schooling benefits.
"They came here on Friday, and we went fishing and I signed on Saturday," Bentz said. "I don't think I realized what's going on. I just want to go out and play and start my journey to the big leagues. I'm looking forward to going out and breaking some bats."
Bentz, who went 2-3 with a 7.42 ERA this year playing for Long Beach State, will leave Thursday for Burlington, Vt., to join the Expos' Single-A affiliate.
"I'm gonna do some starting and relieving," Bentz said. "I'll be the utility pitcher, but I'm gonna start for a while. We're going to play 71 games in 75 days. It's gonna be tough. I've never been even remotely close to that."
Bentz, 21, says the Expos organization would like to see him on their Major League squad in four years.
"They want me to be there when I'm 25," Bentz said. "I'd like to be in Triple-A in three years and maybe get called up if somebody gets hurt. They only pay us $850 a month in Single-A because they don't want us to get settled. They want us to move up. Triple-A makes some pretty good money and the big leagues are insane."
Bentz plans to play for the Expos' minor league team this summer, then will participate in an instructional league in Florida in the fall. He still plans to attend Long Beach State, where he is in his sophomore year.
"I'm not going to school in September," Bentz said. "But I'll come back to Juneau in the fall and do some free pitching camps. We got some good players here and we're definitely on the line."
Bentz joins Toby Staveland as Juneau's only representatives in the minor leagues. Staveland pitches for the Atlanta Braves' short-season Single-A affiliate, the Jamestown Jammers, in Jamestown, N.Y.
"I got treated very well for where I was selected," Bentz said. "My agent did a great job of getting every dime we could out of them. Now I'm looking forward to playing for the Expos.