With the draft comes never ending radio hits, many of the surprise variety when they call and want you on right then and there. When one talks about the draft on the radio with a national perspective, nearly all of the discussion revolves around Stephen Strasburg, and now that he’s been selected, all of the talk revolves around money. I’m sticking with my prediction of a $8-10 million bonus as part of a total package worth $20-30 million, and when I bring that up, hosts, listeners and others tend to just absolutely lose their mind, as if that’s the most insane thing they’ve ever heard. Yes, it’s two or three times the biggest bonus in draft history, but something changed in my mind yesterday about how much that really is, when taken into context.
Just so you know, I don’t really do other sports, especially football. I can name maybe 20 NFL players. I watch the Super Bowl, mostly for the ads, I couldn’t name the last three Super Bowl winners if my life depended on it, and I have no idea who this year’s National Champion was. But I’m watching baseball highlights on ESPN the other day and on the ticker at the bottom, it flashes that the New York Jets have signed their first-round pick to a $50 million deal, of which $28 million is guaranteed. Talking to somebody who follows the game, I learn that this guy is not the first pick in the draft, or even the first guy at his position selected this year, yet anything close to anything someone would describe as historical.
And yet, nobody blinks an eye.
Look, let’s say something weird happened over the next 72 hours, and Strasburg was found to be not a U.S. citizen but from Sweden or something, and therefore an international player and a free agent. Start the bidding . . . where do you think it ends? If you’re below $100 million, you’re nuts. What he’ll eventually sign for is a ton of money in relation to previous draft bonuses ONLY. In reality, it’s a bargain, in terms of both baseball itself and in relation to what incoming talent costs in other sports.