Monday, April 13, 2009

Stephen Strasburg: What's Not to Like? Well...

With masterful control, a 100-mph fastball and an ability to strikeout an average of two batters an inning, what's not to like about anticipated No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg.

Well, to hear The New York Times tell it, his problem is the company he keeps.

Columnists Fred Bierman and Benjamin Hoffman -- writing in the current edition of the newspaper's weekly "Spotlight" feature -- note that the 6-foot-five, 220-pound righty is represented by agent Scott Boros, who has been known to hold out for multi-million-dollar signing bonuses.

Having a 7-0 win-loss mark and 1.49 ERA for the San Diego State Aztecs, the starting figure for Strasburg's services could approach a record $20 million, if anyone is willing to pay it, let alone the lowly Washington Nationals, who have the first selection in the June draft.

Even if Strasburg slides down the pecking order to wealthier buyers, Boros likely will continue to hold teams' feet to the fire. Bierman and Hoffman point out that Boros has gone so far as to let clients such as J.D. Drew and Luke Hochever -- to name just two -- play for independent minor league teams before allowing them to sign a contract without meeting Boros' price.