Hey, we mentioned in passing a coupla posts ago that Scott Boras was hinting to the Washington Nats, holder of the top spot in this year's player draft, that he was looking for $50M for his hoss, stud righty Stephen Strasburg.
Boras posturing? Yes and no.
Strasburg is the real deal. He can hit 100 pretty regularly with his heater, and has been clocked at 103, making him the second fastest pitcher (with Matt Anderson and Mark Wohlers, who hit 103 in the nineties) of the radar gun era, behind only the Tigers' Joel Zumaya, who registered almost 105 in 2006.
Ah, you say, he probably can't hit the broad side of a barn, right? Um, no. Strasburg has 74 strikeouts in 34-1/3 innings as of Friday. He's walked seven, and has a 1.57 ERA. Strasburg has given up 21 hits, so if you do the math, only 50 at-bats out of 131 have resulted in a ball being put into play this season.
He fanned 23 batters in one game last year, and in seven outings with Team USA last summer, he struck out 62 hitters in 41 innings. In fact, in 210 frames of college and international ball played during the past three seasons, he’s walked 45 batters while striking out 316. That's a sweet track record.
Well, hey, he'll never get by on one pitch, no matter how good it is, you think. That may be so in most cases, although Bob Feller, Tom Seaver, and Nolan Ryan may disagree. But the truth is the junior from San Diego State has an 86 MPH breaking ball, a sharp, hard curve that's almost a slider. It's his out pitch.
So the big question is how rich will this kid be when he finally signs? We know the Boras schtick pretty well - drag negotiations to the deadline with the veiled threat of returning to college or going indy.
Now $50M is a little outlandish, and even Boras knows that. Power pitchers are notorious for being a pitch away from the DL or TJ surgery; it's the nature of the beast.
But most reports that GW has read indicate the talks will start at $15M, with Boras probably looking for $25M for his hard-throwing client. Hey, Cory Humes of the Pirate Revolution writes that the Bucco suits should tamper a bit and float an offer of $100M over 10 years. Holy CC Sabathia!
We don't think that'll fly, although Boras would jump through hoops for that deal. The largest guaranteed contract for a draft pick was the $10.5M, five-year deal the Chicago Cubs gave to Mark Prior in 2001. Tampa Bay's David Price, the first pick in 2007 out of Vanderbilt, signed a six-year, $11.5M contract that included an $8.5M guarantee.
And remember, Washington has to deal with its fan base, as it is, after mishandling the Aaron Crow inking last year. So rest assured that Boras will beat the record; he has the talent and the ego. Seattle picks second; bet the ranch that if the Nats won't pony up, the Mariners will.
Geez, to be 20 years old and ready to bring the heat, both with a baseball and a contract. Welcome to the show.