06.01.07

The (New) American Association Way Station On The Path To Riches

Posted in Baseball at 3:00 am by

The New York Times’ Lee Jenkins on agent Scott Boras’ special relationship with the independent Ft. Worth Cats. Where’s the love for the Jersey City Snakes, Mr. Boras?

Boras is known for representing big-leaguers, but much of his business involves high school and college players coming out of the draft. In each of the past two seasons, Boras has sent a prominent draft choice to Fort Worth, to keep warm and hold out for a better deal.

His latest export was Max Scherzer (above), a 22-year-old starting pitcher with two distinguishing characteristics: he can throw a fastball 98 miles an hour and his eyes are different colors (the right one blue, the left one brown).

Last June, Arizona took Scherzer with the 11th pick in the first-year player draft, but instead of signing with the Diamondbacks for about $2 million, Scherzer signed with the Cats for about $1,000 a month.

Having majored in finance at the University of Missouri, Scherzer did a quick cost-benefit analysis. By pitching at Fort Worth, he would either force Arizona to raise its offer, or he would re-enter this year™s draft, with arguably more leverage.

œIt was my decision, Scherzer said. œI™ve never second-guessed it.

At 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday ” mere seconds before the midnight deadline to sign last year™s draft choices ” Scherzer and the Diamondbacks reached a four-year contract worth $4.3 million, with incentives that could take the deal to $6 million. It seemed that Scherzer won, Boras won and Fort Worth won again.

Last year, the Cats had Luke Hochevar, another starting pitcher and Boras client. Hochevar turned down about $3 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers, went to Fort Worth for a month and then re-entered the draft. The Kansas City Royals promptly snagged him with the first overall pick, paying him more than $5 million.

œLuke recommended Fort Worth to me, Scherzer said. œNow I™d recommend it to anyone else in the same situation.

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