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Major League Baseball’s Doomsday List

By Andrew Nuschler On June - 25 - 2009

Here is one of the scariest lists of baseball players you will ever see.  I’m talking lights-on-deep-breath-before-looking-under-the-bed-and-still-no-sleep terrifying (names are followed by ages):

Pedro Alvarez, 22

Jake Arrieta, 23

Andrew Brackmen, 23

Chris Coghlan, 24

Chris Davis, 23

Jason Donald, 24

Stephen Drew, 26

Jacoby Ellsbury, 25

Prince Fielder, 25

Carlos Gomez, 23

Luke Hochevar, 25

Eric Hosmer, 19

Jair Jurrjens, 23

Ian Kennedy, 24

Matt LaPorta, 24

Mike Moustakas, 20

Mike Pelfrey, 25

Rick Porcello, 20

Max Scherzer, 24

Taylor Teagarden, 25

Carlos Triunfel, 19

Angel Villalona, 18

Matt Wieters, 23

 

Each name on that list belongs to a man-child born no earlier than March of 1983 and is either a proven commodity in Major League Baseball or ranks as one of the top 100 prospects in the game (according to Baseball America).

They also employ one Scott Boras as their agent.

If you open the door to BorAss’ stable a little wider than the 26-in-March stop, you’ll see soon-to-be free agent Matt Holliday.  You’ll see the 126 Million Dollar Man, Barry Zito.  You’ll see Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jered Weaver, Jarrod Washburn, Felipe Lopez, Kevin Millwood, Andruw Jones, and a whole host of lesser players.

There’s also a new stallion that hasn’t been mentioned yet.  By me.

Everyone else has been yammering about Stephen Strasburg for what seems like eons, and for good reason.

While it’s true Strasburg cannot claim to be the first “sure thing” to come down the pike, that the New York Times is writing numerous articles about him is pretty much all the endorsement anyone should need as proof there’s a very high probability something’s different this time around.

After all, the Times doesn’t exactly plumb the country for juicy sports stories.

Usually, if it’s not directly connected to the Big Apple or the greater State, it ain’t making the sports section (which is uncapitalized on purpose) unless the sheer magnitude slaps the editors across the face.

So the mythical Aztec from San Diego State would normally be firmly outside such jurisdiction, considering he was a lock to be taken by the Washington Nationals as the No. 1 pick.

But when you do things like throw a no-hitter in your last college home start with thousands of rapturous on-lookers in the stands just for you, everyone takes notice.

Especially when you’d already whiffed 23 Utah Utes in one game and are still waiting on your 21st birthday.

Especially when your agent is Boras.

And therein lies the problem, at least what passes for a problem in the life of a guy like Stephen Strasburg.

Because all that hype the agent deploys to drive the signing bonus up and up can very easily boomerang around on the young kid.

In that second article, Boras says the phenom’s signing bonus should be on par with a guy like Dice-K because “the risk factors are zero.”  The suited parasite also calls his ace-in-waiting unique and then becomes the perfect example of sabermetrics-gone-Frankenstein when pointing to a Baseball Prospectus formula that says Strasburg would be 9-3 with a sub-4.00 earned run average had he been pitching for the Nats in 2009.

Oh, and the Baseball Doogie Howser would be striking out over nine hitters per nine innings.

Got that?

Stephen Strasburg is a lock for stardom, he’s the first of his kind, and he’d be on pace for 20 wins with a top-20 ERA and top-10 K/9 IP at the highest level sans the benefit of minor league seasoning.

Did I mention he’s 20 until July of this year?  I did.

Lots of young men believe they can perform under whatever condition, scrutiny, pressure, adversity, etc. the world throws at them.

Few can actually do it—I know this because I can still pass for a young man in some crowds lacking gray hair.

Well, we’re gonna find out if Strasburg is one of ‘em.  Because that’s a whole lotta gotta to hit Boras’ ceiling.

Which brings me back to that opening list.

Scott Boras uses shady tactics and some would say outright deception in order to maximize his clients’ contracts.  Sleazy maneuvers like planting stories about a rival club’s interest at a sensitive moment in talks.  Or like trying to insert A-Rod’s contract negotiations into Game Four of the 2007 World Series, not to mention the Boston Red Sox’ moment of glory—thus exploiting a product (the Bosox/Yankees rivalry) of the very club (New York) he was trying to bleed for even more luchini.

Remember, A-Rod (already a rich man) was exercising an option, meaning the announcement was entirely the duo’s choosing and on their terms.

Most reprensibly, the money-slut haphazardly invents career-destroying expectations for young kids who may or may not have savvy handlers to advise on the advice.  In other words, he preys on the vulnerable because, by simple math and the theory of commissions, he only needs a certain percentage of the “can’t miss” prospects to pan out.

Enough to retain credibility, but no one player in particular.

Why the hell should he care what happens to Stephen Strasburg or Rick Porcello or Pedro Alvarez?  All he needs is Player X to come through because he’s hyped them all.

And that list shows it’s working.

That list guarantees Scott Boras will be a fixture in the Big Leagues for many, many years to come.

The common refrain is the man is just part of baseball and baseball is a business.

That’s true, but it doesn’t have to be.  At least not completely.

Would it be so awful if pro ballplayers and their representation (probably just their representation) remembered it could also be a game?  Say, after the $5 million per year mark?  What about after $7.5 million per year?  $10 million per?

We can all agree no reasonable creature comforts will be lost by anyone involved if these guys figured, “Eh, you’re already paying me $10 million to PLAY BASEBALL, so I’ll give you last couple for free.”

But Scott Boras will never allow that to happen.  Ever.  And that’s not good for the future of the beautiful game.

Told you that list was scary…

**www.pva.org**

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