The University of Nevada’s loss is the San Diego Padres’ gain. Colby Blueberg, former Carson High and University of Nevada baseball standout, agreed to terms on a contract during the weeknd with the San Diego Padres.
Blueberg, drafted in the 24th round after compiling a 3-2 record with a save and a 1.39 ERA, is currently in Peoria, Ariz., with other Padre draft picks. He refused to disclose the amount of his signing, but it will cover three more semesters of college plus cash.
“I got what I needed,” Blueberg said in a phone interview. “There was a number I asked for, and they met that.
“I felt like I was ready to go. Seniors tend to get little or no respect money wise. I could have stayed another year at Nevada, but then I would have given up any leverage I had money wise. There are a lot of seniors here that decided to stay for their last year. One guy said he was offered $100,000 after his junior year, and ended up with less than $20,000. I took that into account when I made my decision. If you don’t sign after your senior year, you don’t play.”
Blueberg’s dad, Jim, who was drafted 33rd overall in 1986, was glad that the situation had been resolved.
“The chaos is over,” said the elder Blueberg. “I know Colby was stressed out. I’m proud and happy. This is his journey. I get to watch and enjoy. He’s about to embark on a tough road. There is nothing easy about it.
“Going to the Padres is great. He’ll get to stay on the West Coast. The rookie team is in Arizona, then there is Eugene and California League team is in Lake Elsinore.”
Blueberg’s decision didn’t surprise Jay Johnson, Nevada’s first-year head coach.
“I’m more surprised he went low,” Johnson said. “I think teams missed on that.
“It’s a two-sided thing. I want our program to be a training program for profesional baseball. He made it evident that he wanted to sign. I would have liked to see him get drafted in a higher round so he could get a better offer.”
Blueberg has been working out in Arizona the past few days, awaiting his assignment.
“Usually the college guys that have signed get sent to Eugene (short-season),” Blueberg said. “The high schools signees usually stay and play in the Arizona league.
“I’ve been throwing bullpens, and I don’t think I’m behind any of these guys. I’m right in the mix.”
In what role Blueberg used still is a question mark.
“I like him as a bullpen guy,” Johnson said. “If they give him a chance to start, I’m sure he’d do a great job.”
Blueberg said before the draft he would do whatever the team that drafted him needed him to do. One could tell, however, that he would relish the opportunity to start. He hasn’t started a game since his days at Carson High. Blueberg was slated to start this year, but a minor injury put him in the bullpen to start the season, and he excelled.
Johnson said that Blueberg’s efforts in the weightroom would help him in being a starter, and the fact that he’s developed a change-up will help him if he’s put in a starting role.
“The coaches at Nevada were great about it,” Blueberg said. “They weren’t upset or angry. I know they wanted me to come back.”
Blueberg said the coaches talked to him about the advantages of staying and the advantages of leaving.