MLBTR is reporting (via Peter Gammons) that Scott Boras is looking for a record setting bonus for the highly touted San Diego State pitcher.
ESPN.com’s Peter Gammons heard from some club officials that top amateur pitcher Stephen Strasburg and his agent, Scott Boras, could demand $50MM over six years if he’s selected first overall by the Nationals in the June draft. If the Nationals pick Strasburg and seem unwilling to pay him as much as he wants, Boras could threaten to send the prospect to pitch in Japan for a year. If the Nats are scared off, the Mariners and Padres are next in line for Strasburg.
So how could an amateur player get away with these lofty demands? Strasburg has struck out 74 and walked only seven in the 34.1 innings he’s pitched for San Diego State and scouts rave about his stuff.
For some context, last year’s top draft pick Tim Beckham signed with the Rays for 6.15 mil, and only 2 other players (Hosmer/Alvarez) got as high as 6 mil each. The all time record to this day is still Mark Prior (10.5 mil 01 draft) followed by Mark Teixiera (9.5 mil 01 draft) and David Price (8.5 mil 07 draft).
At that price tag, its not inconceivable he might fall to one of the big market teams at the bottom of the draft. If the Red Sox (28th pick in 09) were willing to pony up 100 mil for Dice-K and the Yanks (29th pick) could spend 42 mil for the immortal Kei Igawa, then neither team would blink at that price tag for a once in a generation talent like Strasburg. It’s also possible that if any of this happens Strasburg might end the MLB amateur draft system as we know it. If a perfectly healthy pitcher was to fall that far in the draft simply due to salary demands, it would be obvious to all involved that Boras is steering the high end talent to the big market teams, which shatters the whole premise of giving the teams with the worst record (typically small market teams) the top picks and a chance to get better via the draft.
A team could still select him and call Boras’ bluff, but they would run the risk of having the player go unsigned and wind up without a 1st round pick in 09. They would retain the same pick for next year’s draft, but that still represents a year of lost development time and a wasted 09 draft pick. A player like Strasburg might be ready to play in the bigs before that team selects again in the draft. But things like this have happened before, and chances are this is just Boras blowing smoke.
Stay tuned . . .
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