The Philadelphia Phillies reportedly ratted out Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler, who they drafted in the fifth round of the MLB Draft last June, to the NCAA after they claim he used an agent. The NCAA forbids players from hiring agents and returning to college athletics, though the practice is extremely common among college baseball players.
Wetzler decided he wanted to return for his senior season at Oregon State after being drafted by the Phillies. According to Aaron Fitt of Baseball America, the lefthander is currently waiting for the NCAA to determine if he is eligible after receiving word that he violated the “no agent” rule. Sources told Baseball America that the Phillies ratted him out.
Fitt said that the assumption is that the Phillies were angry after Wetzler decided to return to school rather than signing with the team. While it remains unclear if Wetzler actually did use an agent, we do know that it is common practice for players to “illegally” consult agents and ultimately decide to return to school. It is rare for an MLB team to report that to the NCAA.
As Fitt noted, the rule needs to be changed. These players are 18, 19 and 20 years old in some instances and are not equipped to make financial decisions of that magnitude on their own. One agent reportedly told Fitt that there will be “repercussions” for the Phillies if they indeed sold out Wetzler.
“As of today, Phillies are out,” the agent said. “Phillies are not getting into any more of our households. We’re shutting down all communications.”
The Phillies have chosen not to comment on the report.
Turning Wetzler in would be childish. Plenty of players are drafted in the early rounds and choose to return to school. That’s the nature of the beast, and other teams seem to handle it without trying to ruin a player’s future.