Slapping Scott Boras: What I Would Do in the Strasburg Situation

Ricky ButtsCorrespondent IAugust 17, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA- APRIL 3:  Starting Pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the San Diego State Aztecs throws from the mound against the UC Davis Aggies during their game on April 3, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

He is a super phenom with a 102 mph fastball.

His ceiling is higher than almost any pitcher in history, so they say.

Some think that he could be the Washington Nationals opening day starter in 2010.

But, Scott Boras is his agent.

With only a short time to sign Strasburg, the Nationals could very well take a first round slap, for the second straight year.

They have offered, what has been reported as a record-breaking deal.  One that seems to make Mark Prior's 10.5 milli snarl.

I knew the Nationals were bad, but I didn't know they were crazy.

For one, MLB history says that pitchers taken first overall do not fair too well.  There has never been a 200-game winner taken first overall.  Does history repeat, or is Strasburg really worth breaking the bank over?

I understand that it is not everyday that a player of this caliber comes along.  I also understand that unlike LeBron James in basketball, one pitcher will not turn you from worst team in professional baseball, to a World Series contender.

So a team that selling at the deadline, three short weeks ago, should now invest somewhere around $20 million into a pitcher that has yet to throw a minor league pitch? 

I remember when the Royals were criticized for signing Gil Meche to a five year deal worth $55 million, or $11 million a year.  He was 55-44 with a 4.65, but he had roughly 750 innings under his belt.  He now stands at 83-77, with a 4.38 career ERA. 

So, while he hasn't gained the wins, he has actually been more effective.  He should thank the Kansas City Royals for the lack of wins.

That same summer, the Cubs were ridiculed for doing about the same thing with Jason Marquis and Ted Lilly.  Both of those guys made the All-Star team this year, albeit Jason Marquis is now in Colorado, pitching fantastic for the Rockies.

Both those guys also had established themselves as adequate major league pitchers.

So, first, I think it is crazy that this guy can get a $7 million per year contract.  He established himself against college hitters and could be as good as advertised, but what if he isn't.

The Nationals already have major troubles. 

Hell, they are the team that spelled their names wrong on their jerseys.

Jordan Zimmerman is likely out for 2010, likely making the Nationals front-runner for worst team in the majors, yet again.  Yes, I am assuming that they finish there this year.

If they finish last this year, they will also find themselves with the first overall pick in 2010.  To go along with that if they cannot sign Strasburg, they will get the No. 2 pick in next years draft. 

So, let's look at this. The Nationals can end up with the No. 1 and 2 picks in next year's draft.

The same draft that Stephen Strasburg will once again be available in.

So what would I do?

I retract the offer that is on the table, now offering about 65 percent of the speculated $20 million he was offered.  Coming in somewhere around $13 million sounds good.

Strasburg will almost undoubtedly take his chances and not sign the deal.  Making him wait till June to be drafted again.

Ok, so it hurts that the No. 1 pick goes wasted.

What if it's not?

Next year, the same Nationals could pick Strasburg second overall, taking the top pick title away from the negotiation table, though it won't matter much in this situation.

Now, it is Strasburg that is in the hot seat.  He either has to sign with the team or wait yet another year to play professional baseball.

I don't think Scott Boras could talk Strasburg into missing two full seasons so that he can sign a contract that is out of this world. 

The young man knows he is an all-world talent, but he also knows that two years out of baseball could damage his image (see JD Drew), his strength, progression, and ultimately lower the super high ceiling that he has.

It would be a bold move by a team that has cleaned baseballs basement the past two seasons.  On the other hand, what difference does it matter if he is on their roster in April of 2010 in June, or even at all next year?

It is a risky move, but even if the second time didn't work out for them, they essentially only lose one, though a top pick, and no money.  If it works, they get the world's best amateur pitcher for a price that everyone could be happy with.

Minus Scott Boras.


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