Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Every Player is His Own Entitiy

I hate how people say that Jordan Zimmermann's tragic MRI diagnosis is going to give Scott Boras additional leverage going into the final week of negotiations. Stephen Strasburg's desire to play major league baseball in 2010 has nothing to with the amount of damage to Flash's ulnar collateral ligament. Jordan Zimmermann is not a party to these negotiations, nor is Dr. James Andrews.

The only parties that really have any bearing in these talks are Strasburg, Boras, Kasten, and Lerner, Inc. And you have to give Kasten credit for keeping it that way, leaving the media and the blogosphere in the dark.

What may impact the Strasburg signing is Washington's decision to waive and keep Cristian Guzman's 2010 salary. Cristian Guzman and his limited defense are not impacting these negotiations, just the money committed to him.

Remember, Stephen Strasburg had a year of college eligibility left. He chose to leave to cash in on his maximum value. He does himself no good turning down the Nationals to play Independent ball. I think Scott Boras may be selling his prowess of moving Luke Hochevar up from the #40 pick with the Dodgers to KC taking him #1 the following year (a comically stupid move by KC, but hey, I guess they got their guy). While Hochevar has not been a bust yet, he is still barely league average, and by losing a year of his career to stay out of ML ball, he upped his offer from 3 to 5 million. The only way this amount of money makes any impact to the lifetime earnings of a major league pitcher is if he never makes it to arbitration. A league average pitcher, like Scott Olsen, will make close to 3 million at arbitration. By not holding out, he reaches this threshold sooner, reaches free agency sooner, and extends his career one extra season. If Adam Eaton can cash out a 3 year 24 million dollar contract, any league average free agent can grab 5 million here and there, and last I checked, 5 million is greater than 2 million.

If Strasburg signs, barring injury, he will have his free agent clock ticking on May 1st. The Nats have no reason to keep him off the roster as he will sell tickets. If he lands somewhere else, that remains up in the air. The big bonus is great, but holding out for a bigger one only pays off if the pitcher doesn't make the bigs.

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