Does Scott Boras Really Have Stephen Strasburg's Best Interests in Mind?

Nicholas MinnixContributor IAugust 16, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA- APRIL 3:  Starting Pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the San Diego State Aztecs looks on from the dugout 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)

Scott Boras is looking out for Stephen Strasburg’s velcro wallet. Who’s looking out for Stephen Strasburg?

Mark Prior, the second overall choice in 2001, signed what is considered the standard against which all other contracts for first-round picks are to be compared. We all saw how that $10.5 million investment turned out.

I’m not suggesting Strasburg’s career will end up the same way. There are no guarantees, though, no matter how far scouting and mechanical evaluation have come in the past eight years. Strasburg has been labeled a once-in-a-lifetime prospect; don’t forget that Prior was also a can’t-miss kid.

Whether the triple-digit twirler is destined to be the greatest pitcher who ever lived is not the dilemma. The perception is that Strasburg’s odds are much greater to become such.

Boras is of the opinion that this belief makes the right-hander worth a contract that would severely alter the economic landscape of baseball, one that pays him like an established, mid-level major leaguer.

Boras wants to make history. He would set himself up for life. Who wouldn’t want this fella as his agent, then? 

It’s not like Washington is unaware of Strasburg’s potential. He could start on opening day next year. Team president Stan Kasten calls him impressive, mature, special.

He throws 102 mph, for crying out loud.

Whatever figure ($14-16 million?) club officials scribbled on a bar napkin and slid toward Dr. Alucard prompted a snide grin. Boras wadded up his Big League Chew, slapped it on that offer, balled it up, and swished it into the can behind the register.

Then, he jotted down a number of his own—Dice-K money, 52 mil?—stuffed it in Kasten’s jacket pocket, patted him on the chest, and skipped to the restroom to relieve himself.

stephen-strasburg-391x213-2009-06-09

Forget that the relatively cash-strapped Nationals, of all teams, are attempting to ink Strasburg. How good does he have to be to justify that kind of loot?

At least 10 to 12 wins per year in his first six years? His odds may be greater, but the odds aren’t great to begin with.

Of the pitchers who were No. 1 overall picks (14, including this year’s), not one is a Hall of Famer, or even particularly memorable. Three were All-Stars at some point; one never pitched in the majors. Granted, the jury is still out on Luke Hochevar (who skipped a year when Boras and the Dodgers couldn’t reach a deal) and David Price.

No matter the terms, if Strasburg’s John Hancock dries next to the X, the pact will set a record. It will be grand, especially for a college kid who is barely old enough to buy alcohol legally, has never pitched in a professional game, and has never faced adversity like he’ll face in The Show.

If Strasburg doesn’t sign, he’ll probably play in an independent league or Japan. Is there less risk involved for him by doing it Boras’ way?

Will that be good for his development? What if he gets injured? Why delay his approach to free agency, a time when he can really cash in? If he is special, doesn’t he want to begin that march? Where is the perspective? Why doesn’t he have to prove he’s worth what the Nationals are offering?

Maybe managing editor Tim Heaney is right and this is merely a negotiation ploy. I hope so. I’m sure Strasburg would rather play baseball than finish his hard-earned degree in public administration, whether for money, love of the game, or both.

Boras is already filthy rich.

It’s not about the money he’ll make on Strasburg; it’s about the power (and money) he’ll have if he gets what he wants for Strasburg.

Hey, he, like everyone, should shoot for the stars. But at some point, the cost is too great.

Does he really have the best interest of his client in mind?

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