And that brings me to the point of today's post. Last night at 11:58 pm, the Washington Nationals reached a deal with Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 draft pick in this year's baseball draft. The amount -- a staggering $15.1 million, plus incentives, over four years. $15 million to throw a baseball at (okay, towards) other men who will try to whack the shit out of it. That's reportedly the most money ever paid to an drafted amateur player in baseball history. It's ridiculous. It's obscene.
Apparently, Strasburg's agent felt that Strasburg's "free market value" ($50 million!!!) was greater than anything ever before. And that the Nationals (or any team lucky enough to land this kid) should pay through the nose for it. For a 21 year-old kid who had never pitched a MLB game. (insert eye roll here...) I am not a baseball afficionado, but I understand that young pitching arms need to be brought along carefully, and that most pitchers spend some time in minor league ball to bring their arm along. Or whatever. A sizable number of pitchers never make it out of the minor leagues, and so these top money contracts may be all for naught. That may very well not be the case, as Stephen Strasburg is heralded as the kind of pitcher seen only once in a generation. But it is a lot of money for an organization (a pathetically losing organization) to gamble on one player. We won't know if it was the right choice in the long run -- until the "long-run" happens.
But I found one thing especially galling about this situation (at least what I read in the papers). According to The Washington Post, Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo says that all Strasburg wants to do is play.
"The reason he signed -- he wants to be in the big leagues, he wants to be a Washington National, he wants to win a Cy Young award and he wants to win championships in D.C." Rizzo said. "That's the reason he signed with us here. Money was a nice perk and a nice byproduct for him, but he's here to pitch. He's chomping at the bit to get on the mound. He's ultra-ultra competitive, and I think he was getting a little tired of sitting around the house."Oh, puh-leeeze. (insert another eye roll) If all he wanted to do was play, he would've signed the original contract for $12 million that he was offered. Which is more money than most people will see in their lifetimes.