Draft unfair ... but lucrative

June, 9, 2009
6/09/09
1:33
PM ET
According to Jim Callis, Stephen Strasburg's agent isn't the only one who's got high hopes for the immediate future ...
    According to multiple team sources, several of the draft's best high school players blew them away when they revealed their price tags. California lefthander Tyler Matzek, the best prep prospect in the draft, wants "precedent-setting money," which is interpreted to mean that he wants to surpass the record $7 million guarantee for a high schooler given to Josh Beckett and Rick Porcello. Texas righthander Shelby Miller, previously believed to be signable for around MLB's bonus recommendations, is asking for $4 million.

    --snip--

    Teams are indignant about what they believe to be unrealistic expectations. Two different scouting directors remarked last night that they were getting seven-figure signability estimates for players their clubs hadn't even planned to draft. On the other side, agents are just as upset about commissioner Bud Selig's unilateral 10 percent reduction in the slot recommendations.

Look, here's the way it works: The player (and his agent) can ask for whatever he likes, and the team can offer whatever it likes. If the player doesn't like what he's being offered, he can delay his professional career for one, two or three years while playing high school, college, or independent baseball. Eventually, though, he'll again be subject to the draft, and the whims of whichever team chooses to draft him.

Is that fair? No, not particularly. But the system is what it is, and the players and their agents make a great deal of money while working within that system (a system that, by the way, has been collectively bargained by the owners and the players). Scott Boras wonders what Stephen Strasburg would do, if he had been born in Tibet. Well, that's a cute little rhetorical trick, but if Strasburg had been born in Tibet he probably wouldn't throw 101 miles an hour and he probably wouldn't have become a future multimillionaire while pitching for San Diego State.

I'm sorry, but I simply don't have any tears to spare for a young man who's soon going to be worth $15 million instead of the $50 million he so obviously deserves.

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