The Draft -- Where Do You Stand?
I don't have nearly enough knowledge to provide any meaningful commentary on the Nats draft selections, so please visit Nationals Farm Authority, Capital Punishment, and Federal Baseball for real information on that. But I will use it as an excuse to comment on an interesting segment I heard last night on XM Radio. Chuck Wilson, who is quite good and is vastly under-utilized on MLB Home Plate, replayed quotes surrounding the controversy over Luke Hochevar, the first overal pick of this year's draft. Hochevar was drafted by the Dodgers last year and nearly signed with them, but then swtiched to agent Scott Boras at the last minute, didn't sign, and opted to re-enter the draft this year.
First, Wilson played a quote from Hochevar's former agent (I didn't catch his name), who complained that Hochevar left a voicemail for some Dodgers executive 45 minutes before he backed out the deal saying how happy and excited he was to be a Dodger. He painted the picture of a kid who went back on his word at the last minute purely for more money. Then Wilson played Scott Boras' reaction to that quote, who argued that the former agent was inexperienced and, in doing the deal with the Dodgers, was essentially putting his interest in establishing relationships with the Dodgers and build up a stable of MLB players ahead of Hochevar's interest, and would have left, in Boras' view, millions of Hochevar's dollars on the table. Then Wilson played a quote from Hochevar, who pretty much echoed Boras' points by saying young players should go with experienced agents like Boras. To me, he'd been coached pretty well on that answer.
Who's right? Who knows. Economically, we'll find out if Hochevar made the right move when we learn the size of his contract with Kansas City, but it seems that being picked first overall will get more $$ than being picked 40th like he was last year. So Hochevar may have made a good gamble, which was largely good because of the weak draft this year. I will say that my first instinct was to side with the former agent, and to view Hochevar as a spoiled greedy kid, but I have to say Boras made a good argument to my rational side that the Dodgers' deal would not have been the best for Hochevar, and his claims about the former agent had the ring of truth to them.
But what struck me as really interesting was this question: On which side of the line, management or player, do we fans typically fall? We obviously identify with the players first and foremost, because we watch them all the time and root for them. But we typically only like players on our team, so when it comes to contract disputes, we can be quick to say that player is greedy if they are threaten to leave or not sign with our club. We also like to complain about large salaries and agents like Boras. On the other hand, if the player is beloved by most fans, then we curse management for not giving in to every demand he makes. In the end, I'm not sure there's a clear answer to the question, but I do think we are not careful enough to consider the different perspectives of the parties involved, and Chuck Wilson's segment on XM helped me understand where guys like Hochevar and Boras are coming from in making the decisions they make.