Duane Munn

He Wants HOW Much Money?!?

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Here’s a list of items I would pay $50 for:

-The new Street Fighter IV game
-A house-trained bobcat

Here’s a list of items I would pay $50 million for:

-A house-trained bobcat… that also made me breakfast and scratched The Wiz every time he came shuffling over to my corner of the Village

And finally, here’s one item I would absolutely, positively, NEVER spend $50M on:

-A highly touted college pitcher that’s never thrown a single inning of professional ball

Why is this important? Because I just finished reading an article on alleging Scott Boras, “advisor” for “can’t-miss” pitching stud Stephen Strasburg, will seek a six-year, $50 million deal for his would-be client when Strasburg enters this June’s amateur draft. And that Strasburg may actually receive that type of money from whichever team drafts him.

Umm… WHAT!?!

Are you kidding me?! If the Washington Nationals (the team that picks first in the draft) give this kid $50 million… Nationals fans should be allowed to paint Washington President Stan Kasten purple and call him “Barney” for the entirety of the 2009 season.

Not because Strasburg isn’t talented. Everything I’ve read about him says he’s the best pitching prospect to come along since Roger Clemens. No, the problem is one key word in that last sentence: “prospect.”

How many can’t-miss prospects have actually missed in the last 20 years? Probably more than have become big league All-Stars over that same span. On the flip side, 2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee wasn’t drafted even by the Baltimore Orioles until the 20TH ROUND of the 1998 Draft. How many highly-touted prospects from that same class has he already out-performed?

That’s how inexact the science of drafting pitchers is. You don’t really know what you’ve got, until you’ve already got it (if that makes sense).

But baseball teams continue to dole out more and more dough for draft prospects that have yet to prove a thing past the amateur level. At least in the NFL when this happens, the contracts aren’t guaranteed and underperforming players can be cut. But if the Nationals were to sign Strasburg for $50M, they’d be on the hook for every penny (unless he violates the contract somehow), regardless of whether he earns it or not.

If I were in charge of a baseball team come June, I’d offer this kid a fair deal representing both his current talent and his future potential ($15 million maybe?). And if it wasn’t good enough, I’d tell Scott Boras to take his binder full of comparative stats and climb a fig(ure) tree.

What about you guys? Would you want your team to dole out $50 million for a college pitcher? Am I the only person that thinks this is ridiculous?

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