Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FSU's Drew Typifies Baseball's Insanity

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FSU's Drew Typifies Baseball's Insanity

Article excerpt

Let me start right up front by saying I think the world of J.D.

Drew, Florida State's humble warrior and the best imitation of a

young Mickey Mantle to ever grace any college baseball field.

I'm impressed by the work ethic of this Georgia country boy,

his phenomenal bat speed and his unfailing politeness, and I

think Drew should have a solid major-league career. In the

no-guarantee world of scouting, Drew is probably as close as a

prospect gets to being a can't-miss player.

Now for the brush-back pitch: No way should Drew, considered

one of the top two picks in tomorrow's amateur free-agent draft,

or anybody who hasn't set foot on a professional baseball

diamond, be paid more than a small fraction of the $10-12

million being projected as his signing bonus.

Sorry, but as promising a player as Drew is, there is no

greater example of fiscal insanity in this sports decade than

what is happening with untested baseball draft picks. It started

with pitching bust Todd Van Poppel getting $1.2 million from the

Oakland A's in 1990, then the New York Yankees handing southpaw

Brien Taylor $1.55 million in 1991.

The cash cow has gotten so obscenely large for high school and

college kids in the past year, is it any wonder Major League

Baseball is threatening to price itself out of business? Because

of a legal loophole uncovered last summer by Scott Boras, the

evil genius of baseball agents, four drafted players were

declared free agents when their clubs failed to offer a proper

contract within 15 days of the draft.

All four -- Travis Lee, Matt White, John Patterson and Sarasota

pitcher Bobby Seay -- ended up signing with either the expansion

Tampa Bay Devil Rays or Arizona Diamondbacks for combined

signing bonuses of $28.2 million. White, a Boras client, held

out the longest and got a record $10.2 million bonus from Tampa

Bay.

Imagine a Pennsylvania high school pitcher being worth more

than the entire payroll of the Pittsburgh Pirates! Can there be

a greater sign of the apocalypse being upon us than that?

Now if Boras can milk that much money for White, who knows how

high the asking price will be for Drew? …

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