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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ryan Zimmerman: Strasburg’s Leverage Will Never be Higher

Notebook San Diego State Strasburg BaseballLast week we had a similar story where Vernon Davis was telling Michael Crabtree to take what he can get from the 49ers and get his butt into camp. I backed Crabtree in that case because football’s different from baseball — players generally are better when they’re younger because they’ve sustained less injuries. Couple that with the lack of guaranteed contracts and it’s enough reason try to get all the money you can. But when it comes to baseball draft picks signing, I have somewhat of a different perspective.

The showdown between Scott Boras’ client, number one overall pick Stephen Strasburg, and the Nats looks like it will come down to Monday’s midnight signing deadline. The Nats have gone on record saying they’ve given Strasburg a “record offer” which doesn’t mean much to me since the previous record given to Mark Prior is outdated. Given what highly regarded Boras pitchers have done lately (Jered Weaver, Rick Porcello), I don’t think a $15-20 million bonus would be out of line. Sure it would be a bad precedent to set for MLB, but if you’re the Nats you need this guy to turn the franchise around.

On a similar note, if you’re Strasburgh, you should be focused on getting good money and signing now in order to begin your career. Pitchers who refuse to sign and re-enter the draft the following year don’t have a great track record. Plus, as Ryan Zimmerman pointed out, Strasburg won’t ever have more leverage:

“When it comes down to it, Strasburg has to think about, ‘Can I go to bed if I turn down $15, 16 million dollars — whatever it is — to pass up the opportunity to play for these guys?’ That’s a lot of money. I don’t understand what he thinks will be better next year. If we don’t take him, who’s gonna take him next year? Pittsburgh? San Diego? San Diego is not gonna pay him more. Absolutely his leverage will never be higher. Everybody wants to play where they want to play; everybody wants the ideal situation, but that’s not the point of the draft. You can’t tell people where you want to play.

The good thing for the Nats is that they would get the second pick in the draft next year if they fail to sign Strasburg (in addition to the first pick they’re already likely to have). Bottom line for Strasburg, as Zimmerman says, I can’t imagine him getting more money from a team next year than he would get from the Nats this year. Strasburg should tell Boras to get $20 mil and accept. If 16 or 17 is the best the Nats are offering, I’d take it too.



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