Scott Boras has started to put on a show in an effort to pull some leverage out of his hat for Stephen Strasburg’s contract.
Boras is wisely positioning the righty from San Diego State as the next best thing since sliced bread—or Mark Prior, for whom the super-agent negotiated the current record deal for a draft pick of $10.5 million in 2001.
But for the Nationals, is the exceptional numbers that Boras will most certainly ask for really worth it? There is so much uncertainty with players who have yet to step onto a major league field. Injuries were the downfall of Prior and other “can’t miss” prospects like Kris Benson and Brien Taylor. $50 million is a lot of money for a lot of question marks.
Strasburg, though, is in fact worth a lot of money at this point as he comes with a lot of potential, but Washington has to be careful not to get caught up in the almost mythic magnitude that Boras is trying to make the 20-year-old live up to.
Who really has the upper hand in this negotiation that will most likely last up to the very end of the August 17 signing deadline though?
Strasburg is the top pick, so there’s no moving up if he were to not sign this year and enter the draft next year. There probably won’t be a chance to make as much money in Japan as he could in the States and what happens if Boras does take the phenom overseas for a year and ends up getting picked by another cash-strapped franchise that’s not willing to pay either. Boras can’t keep holding Strasburg out of the majors. Plus, both Strasburg and Boras have to be concerned about the potential for injuries or ineffectiveness if they choose to wait for the MLB.
So Boras has to work his magic.
He’s made the point that Strasburg is much better than any of the other draft selections; he’s used words such as extraordinary and premium in regards to his client, and he’s even referred to Strasburg as “a different breed of cat”—whatever that means.
For Strasburg to meet all of the expectations and hype that surrounds him would be as remarkable as the contract that Boras is trying to get for him. It’s going to be difficult for Strasburg to be the savior of baseball’s worst team when he can only march out there for his team once every five days.
If he works out, it will definitely be a step in the right direction for the team in the Nation’s capital, but a mistake involving that much money could set Washington back even further—and Americans have seen how giving out large amounts of money in that area works out.
If Boras can persuade the Nationals that investing so much money in a relatively unproven prospect is worth it, even with all the risks that come with signing high draft picks, than he should start performing tricks in front of large audiences in Las Vegas.
Strasburg’s ability warrants record-breaking dollars, but if everything doesn’t go well, the money can quickly disappear.