This type of story disgusts me, particularly as America struggles to recover from a serious recession:
Stephen Strasburg, this year’s No. 1 amateur baseball draft pick, may walk away from a record deal because his aggravating agent, Scott Boras, once again thinks his client is worth more money than any ballplayer who came before him.
The specific amount of the Washington Nationals’ offer to Strasburg is not known, though some sources peg it between $16 to $20 million. The record signing deal for an amateur pitcher is $10.5 million, given to Mark Prior in 2001. Yes, that Mark Prior, the can’t-miss kid who was awesome for the Chicago Cubs in 2003 but subsequently won only 18 more major-league games before a series of injuries ultimately led to him being released by the San Diego Padres this month. So what would make Strasburg worth 50 percent more than Prior — two great seasons in the majors?
Strasburg needs to wise up and realize there are no guarantees in baseball, let alone life, and sign with the Nationals before tomorrow’s midnight deadline. He’ll look awfully foolish if he turns down $16 million in an attempt to sign for more money in 2010, then gets hurt playing independent-league baseball. Once again, Prior is the applicable cautionary tale, as he should also be for next year’s likely No. 1 draft pick, Bryce Harper.
Consider this also, from Washington Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell:
Since 1965, when the draft began, only one pitcher taken in the top 18 spots in the first round has ever won 200 or more games (Kevin Brown). All-time greats? There’s not one out of more than 300 such selections. Based on the history of high picks, Strasburg should be viewed as having a good chance to become a very good pitcher. But not more. No pitcher taken in the first four overall picks has ever won a Cy Young Award or made more than two all-star teams. Worst of all, major health concerns, such as the elbow surgery that top Nats prospect Jordan Zimmermann now needs, demonstrate the fragility of pitchers. Bid high. But beware. The No. 2 overall pick next year as compensation may be almost as good.
My gut feeling is that Boras will make Strasburg play this cat-and-mouse game out until about 11:50 p.m. Monday, then agree to the Nationals’ offer. Contrary to what Boras would have you believe, getting $16 million before ever throwing a single pitch professionally is a pretty awesome deal. Strasburg would be a fool to pass up that much money.
But we all know the sports world has plenty of fools in it, don’t we?