Black Jack

Please Nationals, don't sign Strasburg

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  I've already covered this topic but as we wait for the final 16 hours of this made-up Scott Boras fiasco, I will ask once again to the Nats, please don't let this happen!
  Nobody is arguing that Stephen Strasburg has talent.  But it is ridiculous to think he deserves the type of contract that Scott Boras is demanding from the Nationals.

  Strasburg cannot be paid as a top Major League free agent because he has NOT had Major League success.  There is a difference between talent, which the minor leagues is full of, and consistent performance and adjustments that is the actual rare entity that creates a superstar.

   In reality, Strasburg hasn't even had top notch college success.  He did not pitch in a top college league, and when he did face a rated team, he was average.  His numbers are inflated as a result, and the hype machine that is Scott Boras is trying to ridicule baseball.

  I'm not saying that Strasburg will not come in and win 20 games five straight years.  But he has just as much of a chance to be a flame out like Mark Prior as he does of having Boras' predicted success.

   So, once again, please Nationals, don't do it.  Let the kid sit out the year  and hopefully some of these top picks will realize that it's far better to get their actual career started than running an inflated hype game that will only hurt them in the long run.

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27 Comments

Noneck said:

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I agree on your take of Strasburg but the Nats should have realized this when they made the pick. It is very tough to get the #1 pick and then piss it away.

Jack McDowell said:

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That's exactly why he should have gone undrafted. Boras needs to be stopped as I said in my first column on this. If they sign Strasburg for what he's asking for, they set their organization back three years. The trade off between "pissing it away" and what they'll have to pay to get it done is a no-brainer to me. Don't compound a mistake!

george said:

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I don't think Boras can ever be stopped. Players know if they want top dollar Boras will get it for them.

Jack McDowell said:

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That's why the teams need to take a stand. Free Agency is one thing, the draft is a complete other.

pcd71 said:

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Not only will they set the organization back, the next "phenom" that comes up will make more money than Strasburg. I wish they could somehow just have incentives on a lot of these rookies that come up. It seems as especially in football these guys are signed to crazy contract only to see them flame out.

GrebeckRules said:

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Black Jack -- Sorry to change the subject but need your thoughts. Last night the Dodgers starting pitcher was pelted in the head by a linedrive. Taken to the hospital. Very scary scene, I'm sure you saw it.

How come nobody talks about pitchers wearing helmets? The pitcher is closer to the batter than 60ft 6 inches after he throws it, and the ball comes off the bat faster than the pitch is thrown. Plus, the pitcher is not set up in a balanced manner after the pitch (usually), which means he's particularly vulnerable--I'd say more so than the hitter. It seems a no brainer to me that MLB would start having pitchers wear helmets.

Jack McDowell said:

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It's a bit off base that they make base coaches wear helmets now. I realize that the untimely death of Mike Coolbaugh deemed this "necessary." But let's cut to the chase, Coolbaugh was not struck in the head. He was struck in the neck below his ear in an area that would not have been protected by a helmet anyway. It should not be a mandated thing. Nor should it be a mandated thing for pitchers. Most pitchers will throw their entire career without ever experiencing a line drive that actually strikes them in the head. That's the difference between batters and pitchers. The batter has thousands of balls thrown within a foot of their body over their career. The chances of being struck are far greater than that of a pitcher.

GrebeckRules said:

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Those are good points. I guess the thing is you have old men coaching bases whose reflexes aren't exactly sharp. But still, I agree it's too much that they MUST wear them.

When you look at the history of the game, batters did not wear helmets for decades before Ray Chapman was struck in the head on a fluke play and died. Then they got smart to it. Of course, pitchers throw a lot harder now and things would be ugly without batting helmet--did you see David Wright last night? Exhibit A.

What's a helmet on the mound. Guys would get used to it and it could avoid a tragedy. Then again, pitchers like their hats I guess. Can you imagine Jenks jogging in with a helmet on--he'd be even more intimidating!

MB21 said:

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Strasburg is worth what Boras is asking and he should not give in. He'll get that money next year. You should check this out: http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/how_much_for_strasburg/

I don't understand hoping for him to not sign. Doing that is only hoping for a larger bonus next year because he is going to get it. If he's worth $20 to $30 million this year it's increased next year. If you want to bring salaries down then you want him to sign this year. I also don't understand why you wouldn't want the Nationals to sign one of the best players around. Shouldn't Strasburg be playing MLB soon? Wouldn't he improve the talent in MLB? Yes. Why do you care what the Nationals or some other team spend? They've been ripping these draft picks off for years. It's about time they start paying more.

Why is it that in baseball so many fans are pro-owner, but in every other business on the planet people are pro-employee? These owners aren't any different than any other corporation that you've been rooting against the owners in. not one bit.

GrebeckRules said:

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People are pro employee in the real world because in the real world employees don't make 20 million dollars for signing a five year deal with Pizza Hut.

Jack McDowell said:

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Are you kidding me? I'm as anti-owner as it gets. But, that being said, the draft...as it stands, and the free agent system has created the best parity in all professional sports for baseball. Boras is set on "breaking the draft" by overvaluing his drafts to the point where the draft will change. It is completely unfounded in the sport of baseball. Nobody who is "talented" just steps into baseball at the highest level their first year. That's why it is the only sport where the minor league system actually develops "stars" and not just fill-in players. How the hell do you think Strasburg will add value to his worth next year above the overinflated value Boras is asking for? Maybe if he were to transfer to Arizona State and run up the numbers Leake did!

eriqjaffe said:

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Actually, the free agent system has created the professional sport with the least amount of parity possible. When's the last time Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kansas City, etc., have made the playoffs? Sure, you get teams like the Marlins, but those are outliers, really. They make their run when the players are still relatively cheap and then sell off the parts when they get too expensive.

Jack McDowell said:

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Wrong. I'm not going to do ALL the work for you looking it up, but of the three majors here, football, basketball, baseball, baseball is BY FAR the sport with the most parity. The organizations you mention above have been run poorly...period. How about Oakland? How about Minnesota? And the Rays sucked until they straightened their organization out. The Yankees run of titles starting in 1996 followed 13 years of NO POSTSEASON appearances. They signed all the top free agents and it didn't work until they straightened out their organization from the inside. They won with homegrown talent...Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera, Posada, Soriano, Bernie Williams, Jim Leyritz, Pat Kelly, Ramiro Mendoza, Bob Wickman. That was the core of the team and then pieces were added along the way. But when they started getting everyone in sight through free agency, the titles magically stopped! The Red Sox are staying on top, not strictly through free agency, but through their system producing top players. 14 different World Series Champions in the last 20 years! Can't get much batter than that.

bkelly said:

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So you're saying you'd like baseball to return to the era of the Reserve Clause where free agency didn't exist?

Jack McDowell said:

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I think the free agency system works fine, as does the draft. It has been proven over and over again that you cannot buy a championship through free agency. You must have a core or organizational players.

bkelly said:

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I totally agree. I think most people don't realize what free agency and the amateur draft have done for baseball. If neither existed, we'd be seeing the teams with the most wherewithal to pay just stockpiling talent. I think the Yankees from the 50's are a perfect example of this. There is no way they could have signed or retained all of that talent if there were a draft and free agency.

I think it is extremely important to have a group of players that came through the minors together playing together at the big league level. The missing pieces can be filled in through free agency. As you said before, the Twins and A's, and even last year the Brewers proved this was a way to reach the post season.

Jack McDowell said:

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BTW...what if's don't apply to BULLSHIT. What if he were a free agent??? Beating the half assed college teams Strasburg did does not translate to winning 17 games in the big leagues, while also getting your ass kicked a bunch of times along the way, yet having the balls to keep coming back more fierce than ever. You obviously have NO IDEA what it takes to be successful at the Big League level. It's more than PR.

HermsBigApple said:

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This might be one of the stupidest things I've read about this ordeal. MB21, I don't know how you think Strasburg's value will INCREASE next year, especially if he doesn't sign. He would have to play in independent ball or in Japan, and he would have to impress. And then his value would remain the same because every other team in the league is watching this crap go down and would be reluctant to offer any more than what the Nats already have. Scott Boras is the epitome of what's wrong with corporate America and capitalism, and it's unfortunate that Strasburg is attached to him. Because in the end, Strasburg is not at the bottom of the totem pole again, and he needs to show his value before he gets "his." Whatever happened to proving one's worth and being proud of a modest salary? This whole thing sickens me.

HermsBigApple said:

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By the way, good blog, Jack.

Jack McDowell said:

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The only thing I disagree with is that Scott Boras and his push is what's wrong with America. He is exactly what makes America work, go for it and get what you can! My problem is with the "actual" corporate America, ie ownership, who doesn't tell him to go f*&% himself!
That's the way capitalism works, and why it works better than any other system in this world.

BlueBombay said:

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Jack, you have to make up with Hawkeroo, and Q-U-I-C-K!

I don't think my television speakers can stand to be turned up any louder to (not be able to) hear Mike Huff's whispery and boring-ass commentating!

Go buy the man a bag of golf balls, will ya? I long to hear Hawk trumpeting your praises every time someone mentions a splitter or a pitcher that don't take no 'guff.

Let's go - PATCH IT UP!

Jack McDowell said:

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Patch what up? I have no beef with him. He jumped state borders, media borders, and common sense borders to bust my chops. I think he's got the beef and therefore he will need to patch things up.

bkelly said:

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How did other players react when draft picks pulled stunts like Strasburg? Did that piss the players off, or were a lot of players kind of the mindset "good for you, get what you can"? Once these holdouts reached the bigs, did they take shit from their teammates, or were they thrown at from time to time?

To me as a fan, it says that the player wants a big payday up front and won't put in their heart and soul into their performance. It also says they don't have confidence in themselves enough to believe they will be around long enough to collect the real big payday in a few years once (if) he has proven his worth.

Jack McDowell said:

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It's tough for those guys to get comfortable once they get in. Hell, J.D. Drew is a solid player, but was it worth it to sit out an entire year as if he was the second coming of Willie Mays? Everyone thinks "get what you can" but use your head!

Scam said:

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Some good points Jack, I'm with you a hundred percent on this one. Scott Boras haters annoy me. If owners stop overpaying his clients, then he will stop asking for so much. Greed fuels progress.

chicagowhitesoxwin said:

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I agree with Jack...I wish they wouldn't sign them. Jack...let me ask you this. Now that they did what do you think the league wide/long term effect is, if any?

Jack McDowell said:

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First off, I'm glad for the kid he got signed instead of getting screwed by Boras and having to play independent ball next year. This won't have any effect on the draft as an entity. Boras will continue to manipulate press for his guys every year and everyone will buy into it. Next year it will be Bryce Harper, the 16 year old kid from Nevada who's already been on the cover of Sports Illustrated...and happens to have Boras already.

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