College baseball would be a waste of time and money for Almora

College baseball would be a waste of time and money for Almora

Many of us heard the quotes from Almora yesterday, but here it is in case you missed it,

"My main priority now is college," Almora said. "I just graduated high school and I have a full scholarship to the University of Miami, and that's all I'm looking forward to right now. "

"But we'll have to see what happens when it's time (to talk contract). I'm ready to play for the majors leagues... In my mind right now, I trust my opinions and I know what I can do on the field. That's not the priority right now. The priority right now is we have to let the process play out and let the cards fall where they have to fall."

"I can't control that. That's something that Chicago (management) has to talk to (within) their organization and come to an agreement (with Boras)."

Relax.  It's just posturing.  Why do I know this?  Because it's a waste of time for Almora to play college ball.  For one thing, he's already a very polished player who would learn little from facing most college pitchers.  There's not much he could do to improve his stock.  Scouts know who he is as far as his tools and mental makeup.  They have a pretty good idea as to what his ceiling is.  How would college ball change that?  He certainly doesn't need to gain experience, having played for USA baseball a record 6 times.

What Almora can't afford to do is throw away his youth and development facing competition that won't make him any better in 3 years.  When he graduates college, he'll still be a top 10 pick, but by then he'll have less leverage to negotiate and he'll have lost 3 years worth of pro experience.

Think about what that's worth.

Almora is advanced and could well reach Class A Peoria as soon as this season and high Class A Daytona next year.  At that point, he could be 2 years away from the majors instead of two years away from another draft.  Even the best college players start at the high Class A level after getting drafted, which would mean Almora would be two to three years behind schedule.

And if he and "advisor" Scott Boras are looking for money, the majors is where the real money is at.  The sooner he hits the majors, the sooner he hits arbitration.  The sooner he hits arbitration, the sooner he hits free agency (or at least gets signed to an early long term deal like some young MLB stars).  The extra dollars the Cubs can scrape up by reallocating pool money is peanuts compared to what Almora will get if he starts his pro career earlier.  In fact, even if Almora goes to college and does become the #1 pick, even the extra few million he'll get on draft day is peanuts compared to the financial advantage of getting a 3 year head start in his professional career.

Scott Boras is too smart an agent to think he can get more money by letting Almora attend college.  This is simply about using leverage while he still has it and getting as much of that bonus pool money as he can right now. Nothing more.




Filed under: MLB Draft

Tags: Alberto Almora, Scott Boras


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  • Cubs selected an interesting guy in RHP Hamman. On his way to being a top prospect before shoulder injury last year. Finished strong this year, can touch 95. Loses velocity, but he's just 163 lbs despite being 6'3". He's going to Camp Colvin (or whatever it's called now).

  • So confused and almost like he's contradicting himself. "My main priority now is college,"....I have a full scholarship to the University of Miami, and that's all I'm looking forward to right now. " "I'm ready to play for the majors leagues..."

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    In reply to lokeey:

    Its simple he got the Boras handbook and is going down the checklist play by play. As John said above there is no upside for him to go to college. He either signs now at the slot he got drafted or spends 3 years in college and comes in and gets drafted again around the same slot for the same money.

    This also is a dangerous situation for Boras being that he will have to come back and deal with the Cubs brass in the future. If he poisons the relationships with the Cubs brass what happens when the team is competitive and in the market for high priced FA's? To me there is just so much more to lose for both than gaining that extra 500k.

  • In reply to Brian Katowitz:

    Oh ya! I totally agree. I just he should NOT speak and let his "advsior" advise and handle things. It would look a lot better than saying things like that.

  • In reply to Brian Katowitz:

    Could point on burning bridges. Boras has already done it with a few teams, but he doesn't want to do that with the Cubs.

  • In reply to Brian Katowitz:

    I just kind of ran the numbers on this draft pool allowance. (Hey, it's what I do for a living.) I can't see any way Almora gets more than about $4M.

    I figure you can lowball the 7-10 round picks, saving about $300K. Josh Conway, the 4th rounder coming off Tommy John could maybe be signed for $200K under slot. The #43 pick, Pierce Johnson is slotted for almost $1.2M. Wishful thinking, maybe you can get him for $900K. That gives you about another $800K to go on top of the slot for #6 of $3.25M.

    Assuming of course, all other picks can be signed at slot...

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    Interesting point but keep in mind that we have picks 11-40 where each player can get 100K. for curiosity sake, lets say the cubs get a bunch of not-to-exciting college seniors sign every one of those guys for 50K. After all of that the cubs will have added a whopping 1.5 million to reallocate elsewhere. Now obviously the scenario i outlined isnt too likely but it is an interesting idea for me and im sure there are 30 guys out there that would jump at the chance to play pro baseball for only a 50k bonus.

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    In reply to Andrew:

    The pool only is there for the first 11 picks. Anyone taken after that can be given $100k without it applying to that pool. Though anything beyond the $100k is taken out of the pool. That is why you saw so many teams taking lots of college seniors in rounds 4-11 so that they can sign them cheap and save the pool money.

    If you don't sign one of the players from the first 11 rounds you lose the slotted money for that pick. That is not the case from 12-40 where if you don't sign them there is no penalty. You also do not get to save that $100k if you don't sign them to use later.

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    In reply to Andrew:

    That is what Kevin Goldstein just said on the radio. That he see's the Cubs signing Almora with the figure he signs for starting with a 4.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    Thanks Ratmoss fro crunching those numbers. I actually thought about doing it, but great that that's your expertise! I'm sure that's what about what Boras is shooting for.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Posturing...In his best interests to sign.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Nonetheless John, I'm glad its Theo & Jed staring Boras down instead of Jim "throw money and a no-trade clause at the problem" Hendry!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No matter what the Cubs offer him and eventually sign him for, Boras will drag it out as long as possible. Almora won't sign til the last minute. I would prefer to see him sign quickly to get him on the field as soon as possible. Fortunately the deadline h been moved up this year, so all players that sign should b able to get some experience in at some level.

  • *just think, even.

  • I don't want to come off as naive (I think theres a 99% chance he will sign with the cubs for his slot number), but I wonder what value these kids place in college itself. Ya he could join the pros now and make more money, but if he goes to college he can engage in college activities. I mean once he joins the pros he cant go out and party all the time like he could at college. Everybody says this guy has great makeup so I'm not saying he would care about that kind of thing but it is an interesting thing to think about with all these highschoolers. It's very easy to forget that these kids are just 17-18 year olds just graduating highschool who might not be crazy about joining the workforce, even if it is to play baseball.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    True for some kids, especially a kid the Cubs drafted in Blake Hickman, who's a family guy who values eduation highly. He'lll be a tough sign.

    I think Almora is a baseball rat. Not that he doesn't value education, but he wants to be an MLB ballplayer. The sooner the better.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Especially since Hickman won't make a lot of money at his slot while Almora stands a lot to make a lot both now and later.

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    In reply to Andrew:

    Your talking about a kid who has an impromptu batting cage/training facility in his back yard. This guy is a baseball player through and through. In my opinion this has nothing to do with valuing education and everything to do with negotiating tactics.

  • In reply to Brian Katowitz:

    You don't have Boras as an advisor if you truly want an education, you're looking to negotiate.

  • In reply to Brian Katowitz:

    Ya I recognize the thought really doesnt apply to the top highschool guys but i imagine it is a factor for many lower level players

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Absolutely. Hickman and Wiseman are two prime examples of guys who can (and maybe should) go to college.

  • So does Mr. Boras script out what these kids should say to the media or is their a training course on schmoozing that I'm not aware of? You know me John I dont sugar coat things but this college talk is fuggin' ridiculous and Scott should know better then to try and twist Theo's arm he ain't no chump....

  • In reply to johnnywest333:

    I'm sure, as a lawyer, he's well-versed in getting his clients to say what he wants them to say.

  • Does Boras convince Almora to wait 3 three years and hope the slotting penalties will be gone, that has to be a concern at this point.

  • In reply to JimB:

    That's a big risk. Can't know if things are going to can even be worse. MLB may try to close even more loopholes in 3 years.

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    So, based on all of the talk about slotting dollars and shifting money around, I guess we won't see any early picks signed until just before signing deadline in July. My guess is that they will wait until all the lower picks are signed to below slot dollars so they (Boras) can scoop up the remaining money. I understand the desire for big contracts, but I wish the kids would just sign a contract and get busy rebuilding our farm system.

  • The kid will sign. He was just reading page 1 of Scott Boras' "You just got drafted, now here's what you should say" handbook. Same as Appel.

    The problem is, Boras needs to re-write his handbook, What are these kids gonna do - decline to sign, wait until next year and re-enter the draft (or 3 years from now for a high-schooler), where they will be taken even lower due to having "signability issues"? Then they get even less money because they are slotted lower? Not likely.

    Good luck Boras, your leverage has been taken away. Too many penalties for going significantly over-slot. You are now fighting for hundreds of thousands of dollars, not millions.

  • The new draft rules should be altered one final way to streamline this historically burdened process - force draftees to declare for the draft or not. No more of this drafting a HS kid only to see him off to college or a college kid only to see him off to another sport. Just like the NBA.

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    In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    I disagree with that idea. It would limit the kid's options and only benefit multi-millionaire (or billionaire) owners. Some kids are not sure if they want to sign right away or go to college, and they should have that option, it's their future after all. 99 percent of all players drafted never make the major leagues, restricting them from going to college isn't helping the kid.

    I'd be all for a full scale slotting system with no negotiation.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Isn't that similar to the kind of system that the NFL and the NBA now have in place? It seems like it would definitely make the whole process much easier. No more wondering if a prospect is going to sign or not, they would know from where they are picked the amount of money that they would have coming so the decision would be much easier.

  • John why are baseball rules about agents different than other sports when it comes to hiring an agent and ncaa eligibility. Amateur eligibility. Here's what I found about it:

    "Engaging in the following activities prior to college enrollment will violate the amateurism rules:

    Division I: entering into a professional contract, accepting salary for competition, receiving expenses from a professional team, competing with professionals, receiving benefits from an agent, or entering into an oral or written agreement with an agent."

    How is Almora eligible for anything now that he has hired Boras as an agent?

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    In reply to irishivy75:

    Boras is officially just his adviser. Boras is not allowed to negotiate on any player's behalf as their adviser, but you can bet that if the player does decide to sign he will have Boras take over the actual negotiating. But once that happens the player loses his NCAA eligibility.

    That's why I'm against forcing players to declare for the draft. For a lot of kids, scholarships are the only way they can afford college. Not many of the drafted players are in a position to demand above-slot contacts, basically only the premium talent. Most of the other kids would probably be better off going to college, even if they leave after their junior year to sign. At least get 3 years of an education to prepare for the real world in the likelihood their baseball career doesn't pan out.

  • In reply to irishivy75:

    Just Win just spelled it out for me...nice little loophole with the "advisor" label.

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    Non-thread related: Jim Bowden just said on MLB Radio that steam may be picking up between the Tigers and the Cubs. He said the parameters of a deal that would send Garza and Barney to Detroit for Turner and prospects is being laid.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Wow. Always wondered why teams don't ask about Barney. Could start at SS for a lot of teams.

  • Is there any chance that Boston would put Middlebrooks in a package for Garza? I know that Detroit has a stronger system, but a bat like Middlebrooks to go with Rizzo, could really make thenCubs offense a lot better very quickly.

  • In reply to supercapo:

    It's the only way they'll get Garza. They don't have the prospects to land him otherwise.

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    Blake Parker to the 60 day DL, Manny Corpas called up.,0,4411346.story

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Corpas pitching really well lately at Iowa. Glad to see him get the call.

  • Yeah, total bluff by Almora. Didn't even sell it well. :)

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    John, what would you bet that a lot of the college seniors that were taken early will be cut in spring training?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I could see it. Some of them have some promise, but when you're a college senior, you have to show right away. That being said, the Cubs will keep most of them. You need ballplayers in your system to round out your roster.

  • Almora has very little negotiating leverage. I don't see any way the Cubs would give him 4 million. If anything they are going to offer him less than the slot, more like 2.5 million, and use the excess to try and sign some later round high school picks. This young man is not going to play college baseball.
    I can be a jerk in business deals, if I were the Cubs based on his press release, try this. Call Almora and his Dad and tell them, we saw your statement that you are going to college, our mistake, we were going to make you a nice offer, but I guess we will just roll over the pick for next year. Best of luck. You would see a quick end to silly posturing statements to the public at least.

  • Almora & his agent want to play hardball? Fine...Tell them you not only expect Almora to finish 4 years of college...which will put him at 22? Then, you want him to go to graduate school and finish that..That puts him at 26ish....Then tell him you want him to go for a Phd and maintain a 4.0 GPA. Now he's 28ish...THEN...tell him he can THEN begin in A Ball....

  • In reply to gposner:

    Maybe the Cubs should hire you as their negotiator!

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