For those of you who were not aware, last night at 12:00 est was the deadline for teams to sign their draft picks from the 2009 major league baseball draft.
While there were hundreds of players drafted this year, one player took precedent over everyone else – Stephen Strasburg. The biggest question going into yesterday and into the late hours of the night was whether or not the Washington Nationals would sign the overall No. One pick in the draft?
Not only is Strasburg the most hyped pitcher ever to be drafted, but he is also represented by Scott Boras, which always makes for a difficult negotiation. A lot of people didn’t think a deal would get done in time.
Well, after negotiating long into Monday night, the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg came to an agreement and the Stephen Strasburg era officially began in Washington.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a record $15.1 million over four years. The deal breaks the record contract signed by Mark Prior ($10.5 million) for the most guaranteed money given to a drafted player. To be honest, $15.1 is not such a bad number considering Boras at one point was talking about a $25 – $30 million deal.
Signing Strasburg was a must for the Nationals. If they didn’t sign him, they would have received the No. Two pick in next year’s draft as compensation, but more importantly the Nationals would have lost the little credibility they have left.
As much of a disaster the Nationals have been since moving to Washington, they handled the negotiations with Strasburg as well as they could have been handled. Other than hype, Strasburg and Boras really had very little leverage in these negotiations.
What was Strasburg going to do? Play in Japan or the Northern League this year? There was no way he was going to play in those leagues and risk injury or pitching poorly. He would have lost all leverage next year if either of those scenarios happened.
If you are a Washington Nationals fan (all 10 of you), today is a good day.
Today brings some hope.
Today brings you the Stephen Strasburg era.