Baseballer Corey Adamson could make a shock AFL debut in 2015, with West Coast set to sign the West Australian in the coming days.
An AFL spokesman confirmed this afternoon that the Eagles had lodged paperwork to sign Adamson under the non-registered rookie rule for next season.
The AFL was yet to receive all the necessary paperwork, but expected that the move would be approved within days of receiving it.
The signing is allowed without any other club having a chance to pick the 22-year-old up because he has not been registered to the sport at any level for at least three years.
Adamson, who played in the Perth Heat’s Australian Baseball League championship winning side last season, is understood to have been a talented junior footballer before choosing baseball.
Adamson, the son of former Heat player Tony, was signed by Major League Baseball side the San Diego Padres as a teenager and has split his time between the US and Perth ever since.
Heat general manager Lachlan Dale said it would be a huge loss for WA baseball.
Dale confirmed Adamson, who is about 187cm, was the quickest player on the Heat roster.
“He is in the top five players in the Australian Baseball League and he leaves us with a massive hole to fill in our outfield,” he said.
“At the same time, we are realistic with what our budget is that we couldn’t match what they are paying.”
West Coast national recruiting manager Rohan O’Brien said the club had kept track of Adamson despite his baseball involvement.
“Knowing Corey’s background, where he was a very talented junior before taking up an opportunity to sign a contract with the San Diego Padres, we felt this was an opportunity for us to take on a project at no cost under AFL drafting rules," O'Brien told the club website.
“We know Corey, we know his ability and while he hasn’t played football for six years we believe he can re-acclimatise and make the adjustment.
“We initiated discussions with Corey and his family, with Trevor Woodhouse and Brad Smith doing a lot of background work before Brad flew to the US to complete some athletic and skills testing.
“While he has not been in the football system, he has been entrenched in a professional environment and has shown his commitment to play at a high level which, coupled with his achievements as a junior footballer, made the decision easy for us.”