When spring sports were canceled due to the current pandemic, one of the biggest stories to come out of college baseball was the NCAA's decision to give all of the athletes a year of eligibility back.
On the surface, it seemed like the logical decision to make. However, combined with the MLB Draft being shortened to just five rounds, it leaves a number of college baseball players' futures up in the air.
This particularly applies to all the seniors. At Clemson, head coach Monte Lee is fortunate to find himself in a better situation than some others, having just two seniors on his roster in 2020.
"It's a good problem to have, but it is a challenge," Lee told AllClemson.com in an exclusive interview. "As far as our seniors go, Carson Spiers is the one I get asked about a good bit. I think Carson is certainly willing to come back to Clemson and would be excited about the opportunity to come back."
For seniors, though, it isn't always as simple as deciding whether or not they want to come back. There are other factors to consider, both from an educational standpoint, and a financial one.
"It's not just so simple as a senior can come back to school to play another year of baseball," Lee said. "They still have to pay for school. With us being an equivalency sport, most of our guys have to pay a significant amount of money out of their own pocket to be able to come back to school for another year."
Plus, while Spiers isn't likely to be selected in a five-round draft, it is extremely possible that a team would elect to sign him as a free agent.
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"After the draft, MLB teams have the ability to sign everybody as free agents for $20K contracts," Lee said. "How many of those guys are each MLB team going to be able to do (sign), we don't know. So we're not sure what that looks like."
"Are they going to be able to sign three or four free agents? Are they going to be able to sign as many as they want? We're not quite sure. And we don't know how that's going to apply to Carson. I think he's obviously going to get some pro interest as a free agent, but he has looked into the possibility of coming back to Clemson."
Spiers was off to a dominant start in 2020 before the season was cut short. In his 15.1 IP, he had yet to allow an earned run and struck out 17 hitters, while picking up four saves and three wins.
To this point in his career, he's already made a place for himself in the Clemson record books. He's currently third all-time in hits-per-nine-innings-pitched (5.76) and tied for third in career saves with 19.
If Spiers were to decide to come back next season, he would have the chance to cement himself as on the best relievers to ever come through the Tigers program. And if that can be worked out, nothing would make Lee happier.
"You talk about leaving a legacy at Clemson," Lee said. "For the last three years this guy's been one of the best relievers in the country, and if he comes back for another year because he didn't pitch a lot for us his freshman year, but for the last three years he's been consistent and he's been dominant."
"To get another year out of him. He has a chance to really cement his legacy as one of the best relievers in Clemson history. So we would love to have him back."