By Matt Hammond

The 4 p.m. deadline for the Houston Astros to sign their 2014 draft picks has passed, and with it comes a near doomsday scenario.

Not only did the club fail to sign No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken, but they also couldn’t come to terms with fifth-rounder Jacob Nix and 21st-rounder Mac Marshall.

This plus the uncertainty surrounding last year’s first overall pick, Mark Appel, leaves Houston essentially without two years of first-round picks.

That stands to create a gap in the flow of prospects available to join the big league team.

It could also force management to stray from its preferred strategy of selecting high school players and begin taking more pro-ready college players.

Not to mention the potential fallout with other agents and future draft picks, who could view the way the Astros have handled the situation less than favorably.

After the sides agreed to a $6.5 million deal, team doctors failed the high school left-hander for an abnormality in his pitching elbow.

Aiken’s camp disputed those claims and accused the team of creating false medical information to try to lower his value. Houston reportedly re-opened negotiations by offering only $3.1 million.

Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle:

Aiken’s family advisor, Casey Close, was reportedly less than cooperative in the wee hours.

Since the Astros at one point offered at least 40 percent of Aiken’s slot value, they receive the second overall pick in next year’s draft as compensation, plus their own first-round pick.

Aiken now becomes eligible for the 2015 draft, so long as he doesn’t take an offer to pitch at UCLA, which would force him to stay in school until 2017.

It marks the first time in over 40 years that the first pick in the draft and the team that selected him couldn’t come to terms. The last was in 1971.

It’s been a tough summer for the Astros, between “Ground Control” getting hacked, Appel’s health and performance issues and the team falling 16 games under .500.

And it doesn’t look to be getting any better any time soon.



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