The Washington Nationals are expected to take highly-touted San Diego St. pitcher Stephen Strasberg with the first pick in tomorrow’s draft. That’s a bold move.
As everyone knows, he is represented by the notorious Scott Boras, who will use all of his tools to insult the Nationals for not being “forthright” in negotiations. It is said that record breaking dollars for a #1 draft pick will be necessary to sign him. How much? Over $10.1 million upfront plus an additional $40 million over the life of the contract. This for a pitcher, arguably the best prospect at that position ever, who has yet to throw a professional pitch. To put this in perspective, $50 million is more money than the entire payroll of three mlb teams and nearly as much as the Nationals 2009 $59 million payroll.
Now I know he won’t get this in one lump sum but it is still beyond comprehension. Say Strasberg signs and is in the Nationals’ rotation by September, which many are predicting. Does that justify the $1millon plus bonus, which is more than anyone else on the team makes? That will create animosity for sure.
Pitchers, by the nature of the position, are more prone to elbow and shoulder injuries. If Strasberg eventually faces the dreaded Tommy John surgery before the completion of the contract, the Nationals will be paying him star money for doing nothing but rehab.
The Nationals as an organization is revenue-challenged. This is because there is a certain level of fan apathy due to the dumb moves the team has made leading to the 74-141 record since the start of the 2008 season. So where are they going to come up with the money to pay him? A bank loan? Right.
Boras has already threatened to take Strasberg to the independent leagues or to Japan if the Nationals play hardball. Wait, doesn’t the client and his family have any say in this?
Give the team credit. They are not going to back away. Yes, there will be lengthy and acrimonious talks and it will be nearly impossible to sign Strasberg. But the Nationals’ fans should laud this move.
Will this madness ever end? Not as long as there are bloodsucking agents like Boras around, or as Nationals President Stan Kasten says, ” “I used to think [agents] were a necessary evil in sports. Now I just think of them as evil.”
Commissioner Bud Selig is urging owners to push back during the next labor negotiations in 2011. They will fight to reduce the bonus “slots” now being routine in the draft. But there is nothing routine about the audacity of Boras’ relentless pursuit to bankrupt the game which by then he will have enough money to form his own league using his own players. Let’s see how much he would pay them then.
Trust that the Nationals will do the right thing, which will be to tell Boras to take a hike. Nobody, no matter how talented, is worth bankrupting a franchise. Maybe after all of this drawn out drama ends, they will join other teams who won’t even consider signing any player represented by him.
Now, I know that there will be some who defend Boras’ for representing the best interests of his clients’ and to that end, they are correct. But he has taken this to a whole new fantasy land level.
Yes, this is the Land of Make Believe, ruled over by a King who pillages teams and shares the spoils with his faithful peons. What will he have to rule over when the teams’ are ravished and forced to disband?