Matt explored the contract negotiating holdout of Michael Crabtree, and Monday is the deadline for Steven Strasburg, the Washington Nationals number one overall pick in the MLB draft to sign. Strasberg has yet to reach an agreement with the Washington Nationals. It doesn’t sound like a deal will get done by Monday’s deadline as the Boras and the Nationals have put different values on Strasburg. I’m not a Nationals fan by any means, so I kind of hope they don’t sign him. It could be the first time ever that a team has failed to sign their first round pick two years in a row! I’m not a supporter of making a team pay $50 million for a player that hasn’t thrown one pitch at the major league level. I feel that their $30 million offer was more than fair, and probably too much. Regardless of what happens it shows that baseball needs to fix the way the outdated drafting and signing system is working.
Just like the NFL there are a lot of holdouts in baseball. I understand that players are just trying to get paid what their agents and others surrounding them feel they are worth, but what happened to proving your worth!?! Baseball needs to restructure signings, and put caps on contracts for the players that haven’t played one inning in the minors or majors. Putting parameters on guaranteed money and bonuses that the top choices can receive would make them like all of the other major sports, what a concept! They also need to make other ways for teams to avoid having to pay huge dollars for those top picks, like say, let a team trade picks!?! Wow, how hard is that. Baseball is the only sport that doesn’t allow the trading of draft picks. In this case, the Nationals could have traded their pick away to a team with money and willingness to sign Strasberg. I’m sure he would already be signed, and the Nationals could have had a couple of picks and could’ve signed a four or five players with money Strasberg is demanding.
Do you wonder why I’m so against Strasberg’s contract? Take a guy like Ryan Howard of the Phillies, who has already been rookie of the year, MVP, an All-Star, and a two time home run champ. He won his bid for the highest arbitration awarded in the history of baseball for $10 million just last year. With the conclusion of this season Howard will have made a total of about $26 million in his three year career since being drafted, which sounds reasonable for one of the best young hitters in the game. Since Howard was a 5th round pick he probably was paid the right amount, but Strasberg would be making twice as much as him at the same point in his career if the contract that he’s asking for goes through. Is any player that hasn’t played worth $50 million? Can he really be as dominant as the money he’s due to recieve? Can any team justify really give any rookie that much money!?! Definitely not! Over the past 40 years there has been 14 pitcher taken #1 overall, and they have a combined zero Cy Youngs, zero 20 win season, and zero 200 career wins.
So how would being able to trade draft picks help? Well it’s been well documented that if this were the case the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets would end up with all the talent since they have all the money. I disagree if a small market team can turn that first pick into three picks, then they will likely find a good player out of the bunch with much less risk to their financial situation. Especially small market teams like the A’s, Rays, and Marlins would definitely benefit from taking numerous picks instead of that first rounder. People assume that teams are going to make a bad pick with the extra ones they have received, but nobody that’s drafted is garuanteed to have success. The players chosen might likely have more “tools”, but there is no guarantee that tying up their payroll in a prospect will help the team down the road. Don’t you think a team could get a better deal paying $6 to $10 million a year for a proven player? I think being able to swap picks will just give teams more options, and not give teams like the Nationals, a sign this guy or you’re out of luck scenario! Hell, Strasberg could even end up on my list of bad contracts before he throws a major league pitch.