So, someone finally offered a reason that makes sense to me about why major league teams are not allowed to trade draft choices. I've been looking and looking for that reason because, frankly, every one I had come across before was lame.
These reasons all seem pretty dumb to me. Reason No. 1 is dumb because rich teams already have all the advantages in Japan, the Dominican, Venezuela, Panama and the like, and they're not getting all the best young players there. There's a reason for this, one that I'll get into in a minute.
Reason No. 2 is dumb because it assumes that small-market teams are being run by nimrods. Keep the sharp objects away from the small-market GMs!
Reason No. 3 is dumb because the draft doesn't work this way NOW.
Anyway, someone -- namely my friend
Now, I actually get this. It doesn't seem possible for things to get much worse since basically Boras and others have been running the draft for years. I remember in 2007, when the Royals had the second pick in the draft. They KNEW -- and I say this based on conversations I had with numerous people in the organization -- that
Why? Well, you know why. Wieters' agent is Scott Boras and it was made clear to the Royals (in the ways that such things are made clear) that they could not afford Wieters. Porcello's agent is Scott Boras and it was made clear to the Royals (in the ways such things are made clear) that they could not afford Porcello either.
But here's the kick ... Mike Moustakas' agent is ALSO Scott Boras. So somehow the Royals' takeaway from their conversations was that that they COULD afford Moustakas, and sure enough about 15 minutes before the deadline, they signed him. You following? Three players, all Scott Boras clients, and the Royals took the third-best one because that was the one they believed Scott Boras would allow them to sign. He's also the one not in the big leagues, the one who is in Class A ball, currently hitting .263. The Royals still have high hopes ... but that's the amateur draft, people. That's how messed up this thing is.
So, Danny suggests -- and I can see this -- that the big fear is that if teams are allowed to trade draft picks, suddenly Boras and his ilk become even more powerful. Suddenly they have yet another hammer. They can demand trades. They can bully small-market teams with even bigger demands. Yes, I can see why the owners are afraid ... these people are not exactly known for their self control. They're like the people who refuse to take the mini-bar key when they go to hotels because they know, just know, that at 2 a.m. they will not be able to stop themselves.
I don't know that there is a good answer to this problem. There is talk -- hell, there is always talk -- about a slotting system which would put a figure on the amount of money that each draft slot gets. Some people seem to think that the absurd money
Without slotting, I think Danny is right: Trades would probably give Boras and the other agents more opportunities to take control of the draft.
But I still think teams should be allowed to trade, and here's why: Because everyone forgets the most basic feature of baseball's amateur draft -- it's a bleepin' crapshoot. Take this year: Everyone's going on and on and on about Stephen Strasburg. He's the greatest prospect ever! He's a can't-miss! He throws 102 mile per hour! There has never been anything like him!
Well, maybe. You know, there have been other hyped pitchers before. There have been 13 pitchers selected with the No. 1 overall pick:
Well, that's it. That's every pitcher taken No. 1 overall in more than 40 years of selecting. How many stars are on that list? How many disappointments? Is there a single pitcher on that list who would have been worth a $50 million signing bonus or whatever it is that Boras is planning to demand for Strasburg. To be fair, there have been a few No. 2 picks --
And this is why the option to trade picks would be good ... I'm not saying Washington SHOULD trade the Strasburg pick. I'm just saying trading him could work out for the best. Right now, Strasburg looks like a guy who will have a Roger Clemens meets
And it's like that throughout the draft. When the Royals had the second overall pick in the draft in the 2005 draft, everyone was raving about
Well, he's 25 now, injured, and his career numbers in the big leagues are .250/.331/.417. That's not to say that Alex Gordon won't still be a good big league player ... he still has that opportunity. The point is his value was pretty high the day he was drafted. It might never be that high again. What if the Padres in 2004 had traded away the No. 1 overall pick for a batch of prospects. Would they have been worse off than they are now, having taken
So, yes, I do think baseball should allow general managers the option of trading draft choices. It gives them more opportunities to improve their teams. Would there be bad trades? Sure. Maybe Arizona would have dealt the rights for Justin Upton to Boston or the Mets or something, and everyone would be screaming bloody murder.
But it's like