Most Nats fans know that Scott Boras will probably wait until just before the signing deadline before undertaking any serious negotiations for Strasburg's possible contract. Putting aside the fact that Boras has several other unsigned clients, some of whom may miss out on the deadline and end up shattering their careers as a result (since they won't be in as much demand as someone like Strasburg), Boras AND Strasburg are generating a lot of ill will around baseball. Is this really the way Strasburg wants to start out his professional baseball career? Apparently so.
People understand that this is a business but you can tell that even some of the current major leaguers are frustrated by the negotiation tactics here. Strasburg hasn't thrown a single pitch in a professional game and yet he wants more money than most major leaguers are likely to see over the course of their entire careers. No. 1 overall pitchers have poor track records and none of them have ever turned out to be true, long-term stars. The Nats' other 1st round draft pick signed a long time ago and promptly got to work. Meanwhile, Strasburg is probably checking out Hummer dealerships and setting up deals to buy a tricked out monster SUV as soon as his big, hoped-for payday comes in. Ugh.
This all leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I'm sure Boras doesn't care but maybe Strasburg does. At least he should. He's going to be in a very prominent, public position over the next few years, assuming he actually signs and doesn't get himself injured a la Jordan Zimmermann. He's threatening to walk away from tens of millions of dollars? In the middle of a worldwide recession? Now he's threatening to not sign and play in Japan for a year. *shakes head* Yeah, that sounds like a real good career plan. Not that Japanese baseball is bad but what does Strasburg know about Japanese baseball and Japanese culture. He's going to have a tough time adjusting just to everyday life, let alone professional baseball, all as a young adult. Most American players who go over there are established MLB veterans who already know about the rigors of playing professional baseball.
If Strasburg signs, many fans will forget about the negotating tactics but I hope many others don't. I'd like to see a negative reaction so that future Boras clients see the downside to going along with Boras and acting like corporate raiders instead of prospective pitchers. Remember, these are guys who don't have any professional experience whatsoever. The players' union should be upset too. All the millions of dollars that are going to unproven prospects could be going toward salaries and bonuses for major league players with established playing credentials. Instead, they are going out to high-risk high schoolers and college players with no track record. It's one thing to roll the dice on someone like a Pedro Martinez who has a long history of injuries but an equally long list of outstanding accomplishments in the game. It's another thing to throw $50 million at someone who has only faced other amateur players, the vast majority of whom will never even play a single major league game. True, Strasburg was impressive in the international competitions last year with Team USA but how many prospects in all of professional sports have played great games only to do little over the course of their careers after that.
Sign a freaking contract already, Strasburg!