The Phillies and the Unambiguous Bad

As much fun as it can be to criticize, the reality is that nearly every decision made by an MLB organization is justifiable. It’s a competitive business, after all, with great potential rewards, so organizations have to look out for themselves, and they have to make sure they’re going down the right path. Decisions have to be made rationally, intelligently, and that’s what makes the occasional transaction so extraordinary. There was simply no reasonable explanation for, say, the Angels trading for Vernon Wells. Likewise, there was no reasonable explanation for the Tigers getting so little for Doug Fister. These decisions have stood out specifically because of how unambiguously bad they were. Decisions of that ilk are few and far between.

The Phillies, as an organization, are no stranger to criticism. This is a team that has yet to rebuild, the same team that gave Ryan Howard way too big of a contract. It’s an aging team, a team that’s easy to mock, a team that might believe it’s more than it is, but the latest issue with the Phillies has nothing at all to do with the payroll or major-league roster. It has to do with the draft, and with the Phillies turning in unsigned collegiate players to the NCAA for dealing with professional agents.

According to the NCAA, the latter isn’t supposed to happen. According to the real world, the former isn’t supposed to happen. The story was broken by Aaron Fitt at Baseball America, and here’s the quick summary:

  • the Phillies drafted Ben Wetzler in the fifth round last summer
  • the Phillies drafted Jason Monda in the sixth round
  • the Phillies planned to sign both guys
  • both guys opted to return to school for their senior years
  • the Phillies tipped off the NCAA that both players were using agents, in violation of the NCAA rules
  • the NCAA subsequently opened up investigations
  • Monda was cleared and ruled eligible
  • Wetzler has not yet been cleared and could be ruled ineligible

The NCAA makes it clear that players are not supposed to be represented by agents in negotiations, and that if that were to happen, the given player would lose his amateur status. Agents can be consulted as “advisers”, but things can go no deeper than that. The rules are as explicit as they are ignored — basically every drafted player has an agent, and everyone knows it, including the NCAA. For teams, dealing with agents is standard operating procedure. Tipping off the NCAA when things go awry is very much not.

One thing to understand is that this isn’t entirely unprecedented. A few years ago, the Blue Jays deliberately or accidentally cost James Paxton his senior year of college after failing to sign him. According to Jim Callis, many moons ago the White Sox chose to tattle on A.J. Hinch. Another thing to understand is that we don’t have the complete story, and we probably never will have the complete story, and we can’t be sure if this was an organizational decision on the Phillies’ part, or if this was, say, one guy. A bigger thing to understand is that NCAA rules aren’t MLB rules, and this makes the Phillies look awful vindictive.

I’ve tried, I really have, to see this from the Phillies’ perspective, and to see it in a way that makes the Phillies’ decision look reasonable and well thought out. I just haven’t been able to come up with anything. Absolutely, the Phillies were disappointed — from the looks of things, Wetzler and Monda presented themselves as signable, and then later they changed their minds and went back to school. The Phillies are entitled to be a little pissed off. But to then turn the players in for alleged violation of a rule that shouldn’t exist in the first place — all that is is message-sending, and petty revenge, senseless punishment of the helpless young by the angry and powerful.

The read is that the Phillies don’t want this to happen again. This could be interpreted as a threat to certain players they draft down the road. Sign or face, at the very least, an extended, attention-grabbing inconvenience. Assuming the players use agents, which all of them do. Not every drafted player would be affected, and many drafted players sign anyway, so in that sense this isn’t a huge story, but this is going to color the perception of the Phillies within the industry. This scores them no points with players or with agents, and while in the end the Phillies have money and players will take it, it’s hard to see what the Phillies gain.

It’s hard to see what anyone gains. That’s what makes this, to me, an unambiguously bad decision. The players, obviously, lose, in that they face investigation and possible ineligibility that could alter the course of a career. The Phillies lose, in that they look like pricks, and parties might be less willing to negotiate with them in the future. The NCAA loses, in that attention is called to a rule that doesn’t make any sense. It’s a rule, granted, the NCAA would like to uphold, but it’s also a rule the NCAA knows wouldn’t hold up in court. Perhaps the NCAA already gets so much bad PR that more of it can’t do any damage, but now this looks like potential selective discipline, initiated by an MLB organization with an axe to grind.

It should be obvious that it’s unreasonable to expect a player to negotiate with a ballclub without having an agent by his side. Advisers are permitted, but only to an extent, and it doesn’t make sense that there should be limits given that agents are trained for this sort of thing and players are athletes with little to no bargaining experience. If there’s a long-term upside to this, it’s that in time we could see rule reform — by allowing for further interaction with agents, the NCAA could conceivably regulate what’s allowed and what’s not, since currently everything has to be done in secret and then there are the attendant issues with trust and representative qualification. Yet reform would’ve been possible anyway, without a baseball team interfering with a college kid’s very livelihood.

Like everyone else, I’m eager to hear the Phillies’ side of the story, if we ever actually get it. I want to hear their justification for trying to punish young athletes who made the decision to spend a fourth year at college. But no matter what they might say, I can’t come up with any line of reasoning that excuses what reads as nothing more than vindictive behavior. Maybe there’s something and I just can’t think of it, or maybe the Phillies let emotion get the best of them and made a decision that benefits nobody.




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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


97 Responses to “The Phillies and the Unambiguous Bad”

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  1. Max says:

    As a Phillies fan, it’s becoming harder to root for the franchise when we’re both stupid AND evil.

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    • Benjamin says:

      This. Born and raised in Philly and I love the team, but over the last few years it’s become hard to root for the current management. After so many decades of futility it looked like the 2008 team was poised to compete for a number of years, but Amaro and the Phillies brain trust totally ruined a promising team

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      • bballislife17 says:

        They did compete for a number of years. They made another WS, they won a hundred games one season. They continued to make short sighted moves in an effort to continue competing for that stretch of time. I’m not sure what else you expected them to do. Amaro ruined the future of the franchise, he did well enough guiding a competing team for a number of years.

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        • Benjamin says:

          I agree with you, but I think that the window world have been larger had Amaro not made such short-sighted moves that really hamstrung the team. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I just wanted a larger window before they slide back into mediocrity or worse

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        • Antonio Bananas says:

          The thing us, Amaro really didn’t. He took a ready made team, strong farm, excited fans, and booming payroll and turned it into this. Don’t give him credit for the team that was possibly the best positioned team having success. He’s the George bush of GMs

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        • Sean says:

          …HE SIGNED RYAN HOWARD TO THAT DEAL WHILE THEY WERE COMPETING. HE HELPED NOTHING.

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      • cable fixer says:

        I hate this narrative. “Promising team”? They won 93 in 2009, 97 in 2010, and 102 in 2012. You’d prefer to bang them for their playoff failures? Have at it, Joe Morgan…

        They remained competitive in the post-PED era in spite of their age. Here is their offensive “core” ages in 2009:

        Howard: 29
        Utley: 30
        Rollins: 30
        Werth: 30
        Victorino: 29

        That’s what, 20 WAR leaving it’s prime all at once? How may years of competitive play did they really have left? 5? Frankly, I give them credit for lasting this long. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and all that. We don’t stay young forever and 5 WAR players don’t grow on trees.

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        • cable fixer says:

          2011*

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        • RC says:

          I agree with your general point, but look at the Red Sox in contrast. They’ve moved on just as many good players (and maybe more), and had just one bad season.

          They’re sitting here with similar resources, but have one of the best farm systems in baseball, and a drastically better roster than the Phillies.

          There’s a reason for that.

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    • chuckb says:

      I’m not a Phillies fan but I can sympathize. It’s one thing to have stupid ownership or management. It’s frustrating but you still will pull for your team on the field. The evil thing has got to be more difficult to stomach.

      As a non-Phillies fan, I’m inclined to say “F the Phillies!” That’s tough to do when you’ve grown up with them and been pulling for them for 20 or 30 years or more.

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  2. Me says:

    The only possible thing that I can come up with (aside from them being pricks) is that this was part of an ongoing pattern on behalf of one agent or agency and that the Phils had had enough. If the Phils are drafting players that they believe are going to sign with them only to find out that some agent or agency is saying “Don’t sign with Philly. I can get you more if you go back to school and Team X drafts you next year”. That would be the only sorta kinda almost viable excuse. They may feel that this is tampering and that they want to highlight the problem in hopes that something will change.

    Just a total shot in the dark. They may just be pricks.

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    • Anon21 says:

      That would make it kinda/sorta understandable, but hardly justified; the agent probably loses very little, while the player could lose a lot without being at fault. In that scenario, far better to try and resolve issues with unscrupulous agent conduct through MLB or simply by badmouthing that agent to the other clubs. I certainly don’t see how that justifies taking it out on the players.

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      • Me says:

        Yeah. Nothing really justifies throwing the kid under the proverbial bus. I’m just guessing at what their possible motivation or reasoning could be in this. No matter what their gripe, there’s a better way to handle it.

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      • Slacker George says:

        The Player’s Union could decertify the problem agents. Oh, yah, the Player’s Union doesn’t represent the amateur ball player. What was I thinking.

        This entire process stinks. Seems like national labor laws could be applied to some of these situations. Oh, yah, anti-trust exemption.

        NCAA and MLB: “Where the athletes’ best interests continue to be trampled.”

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      • Alton says:

        I feel like if that were the case it would be an easy thing to find out. I mean wouldn’t some reporter right now have looked at all the Phillies unsigned picks, seen it’s from one agent and drawn that conclusion? Or am I just putting too much faith in beat writers?

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    • chuckb says:

      Maybe that’s the case but it seems to me that it’s much more fruitful to just not work with that agent or agency again rather than torpedoing a 21 year old.

      The thing is, though, my guess is that the agent/agency probably preferred the players leave as well. They get 4% (or whatever) of a guaranteed signing this year. Next year, the player’s stock may fall due to injury or ineffectiveness. It may fall just because the kid has less leverage b/c he’s a senior.

      The players made the decision to return so the Phillies aren’t really sticking it to the agent. He already lost a little (probably) when the kid went back to school. This just seems extremely vindictive.

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    • SchmidtXC says:

      Seems like a reach. Very few college seniors are going to get anything over slot value, so unless the players are being lowballed by the Phillies or they feel they can jump to the first round, there is little chance any of these agents can get them more in a year.

      Regardless, the team should have a pretty good idea of what players are willing to sign for before the draft, and it’s telling that the team missed on a pair of picks in the top six rounds.

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  3. Clayton says:

    “Oh, this isn’t that bad.”

    - Tony Bosch

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  4. tz says:

    Somehow I think the root cause gets back to the draft slotting rules, which would explain why you’d consider coercing a junior to sign “or else”.

    I agreed with Scott Boras about the stupidity of the new FA compensation rule, and I agree with what I’m sure will be his own rant on this topic. Which explains the rush of nausea overtaking me now….

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    • Catoblepas says:

      Boras is a great agent. Point was brought up the other day that we always get excited when a team signs a player for nothing, i.e., we instinctively side with the organization. Why not be glad that the individual is making a ton? More broadly, Boras is not a bad guy, he’s just excellent at what he does and very willing to talk about it. No reason to be unhappy about agreeing with him.

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      • David says:

        I’m sure Boras is as self interested as everyone else.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          But he advances his self-interest by helping individuals and hurting institutions worth between $450M and $2.3B.

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        • chuckb says:

          I don’t agree that Boras “hurts” ballclubs. If he gets baseball organizations to sign contracts that aren’t in the best interest of those organizations, that’s their fault for signing those bad contracts. They have multiple analytical and financial people determining how much money each player is worth. If the team screws up despite all that information, that’s on them, not on Boras.

          I think I agree, however, with the general premise of your argument — that Boras helps 1 player who is negotiating with institutions that are much more powerful.

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      • dovif says:

        When a player signs for nothing means $1 million a year

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      • Brendan says:

        Most baseball watchers root for teams not individuals. Or perhaps I should say–rooting for individuals is secondary. So I think looking at it from the organizations perspective makes sense.

        I want the Braves to get the better end of contracts because it means the team will ideally be in better position to win more games.

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  5. JS says:

    The NCAA is one of the worst and most greedy organizations around. It’s appalling they would even have such a rule.

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    • Johan Santa says:

      It totally makes sense though… interfering with the players’ ability to profit from their own talents so that they can profit more? That’s like the NCAA’s cracker and mustard.

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      • Joe R says:

        And all the major sporting leagues are in on the scam too!

        MLB – years of minor league play, 3 years of league min, 6 years of team control.

        NBA – Must play a year of college (might be two soon).

        NFL – Must wait until 3 years after graduating high school. Rookie salary caps.

        I’ve no idea how these hold up in court. I couldn’t imagine any other industry getting away with such blatant age discrimination.

        Yes, crying for guys earning, or will be earning, 7 figures a year is an exercise in futility, but the principle of these deals is still bad. And it allows for this stuff, where teams can just blatantly bully young players.

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    • chuckb says:

      Easily one of the most corrupt institutions on the planet. The IOC and FIFA often have to increase their own corruption levels just to keep up.

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  6. Edwin says:

    “I’m shocked, shocked, to find out that gambling has been going on here”

    “Your winnings, Sir”

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  7. Andy says:

    Who overtly hires an agent if they’re seriously contemplating a return to college/amateur status? And what agent allows himself to be perceived as more than advisor to a client who may likely want to go back to college?

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    • Me says:

      Nobody “hires” the agents but they all use them as advisers.

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    • JohnnyQuest says:

      Everyone uses agents, and rightly so.

      Why would anyone think it’s ok to expect 18/21 year olds to negotiate contracts by themselves while the team has an army of lawyers on the other side of the table?

      Especially when these players are signing up for a system that will pay the vast majority of them almost nothing beyond the signing bonus that is purely the product of this initial negotiation?

      MiLB players are hugely exploited, and perpetuating this crap only makes the problem worse.

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      • dovif says:

        Most get $200k bonus and more…. exploit me please

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        • JohnnyQuest says:

          What on earth gave you the idea that “most get $200k bonus and more” for signing?

          Everything after round 6 is slotted at less than a 200k bonus. The MLB draft isn’t the NFL or NBA draft, it is incredibly extensive and the vast majority of signees are getting under 100k.

          They are then entering MiLB with no union representation, sub-minimum wage, and no control over their careers.

          Even those that do get 6 figure bonuses must expect that a realistic best case scenario is to spend 4+ years in the minors before they make any significant amount of money at all. The signing bonus is not paid in addition to an MLB salary of 500k, the de facto system is a signing bonus in lieu of any other real compensation until a player makes a 40 man roster, which for most players will never happen and even for very good players, is not demanded until 5 years later.

          This compensation was decided during CBA negotiations where these draftees were not represented. The MLBPA does not give voice to MiLB players or to amateurs, and the path of recent negotiations has been to continually curtail the rights and salaries of these unrepresented players to the benefit of the very few players who make it to the top.

          It’s absolutely crazy that anyone can take the position that young baseball players are not being exploited.

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        • chuckb says:

          “Most” most certainly do not get $200K bonuses. A relative few get bonuses in that amount. Once you get past the 3rd or 4th round, those bonuses are substantially smaller and many draft picks get no bonus whatsoever.

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        • Joe R says:

          JohnnyQuest is absolutely right. The “unions” in these sports are pathetic with regards to player earnings, and constantly slant rules and regulations in order to benefit the most influential (aka the long time veteran regulars). The union is completely fine with throwing their future members under the bus. The MLBPA did that, and so is the NFLPA.

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    • ValueArb says:

      The NCAA allows players to use advisors during negotiations, but not agents. No idea how they decide the distinction.

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      • B N says:

        I’m sure it’s kind of like how the US came in as “advisors” in Viet Nam: “We’re not here to shoot anyone, just to tell you how to shoot people. The tanks and helicopters? Purely recreational, we’re just advisors.”

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      • RC says:

        Part of the distinction is if they’re involved in the contract process, they’re an agent.

        They’re allowed to ‘advise’, but not allowed to be involved in negotiations.

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        • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

          hah, that seems a silly distinction. Can’t the player just ask the agent what to say and then relay that message on in the negotiations? What positive effect is there to having the influence of the agent removed by exactly one step.

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        • RC says:

          Agents are better negotiators than players. It drives down prices.

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      • I'm an agent says:

        Here’s how it goes.

        MLB team: Here’s our offer.
        Advisor: You shouldn’t take that deal.
        Player: I need more.
        MLB team: Here’s a better offer.
        Advisor: You should think about taking that deal. By the way, you’ll need an agent, and I just so happen to be one.
        Player: Will you be my agent?
        Agent: Sure. Hey, MLB team, I’m ready to hammer out the final details. Let’s get this kid signed.

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  8. James says:

    Go easy on the Phillies, they’ve only lost 10,462 games in the last two hundred million years. That’s not a bad average.

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  9. Paul says:

    My guess is the Phillies have a long institutional memory of previous draftees turning them down, i.e., JD Drew, Alec Rash, et al. And they got tired of it.

    I just saw a tweet from Matt Gelb that agents are mad at the Phils. Of course they are: This exposes the silly NCAA rule and how agents fare the best under it. Teams have the most at risk under this rule because they can end up with nothing while players can go to college or the independent route. Meanwhile NCAA and agents have the most to lose if the rule changes: If players have to decide one way or another, colleges would lose talent to the pros while agents would actually have skin in the game by being legally obligated to represent actual clients.

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    • Tucker says:

      I work for an agency, it is almost always in the best interest of the agent for the player to leave early once the player has selected said agent…them going back to school just opens up another year of competition from other agents stealing the guy you thought was yours.

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    • Edwin says:

      Sounds about right since the team normally has the most to gain.

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  10. MangoLiger says:

    What about this: The Phillies can now offer below market contract to players they draft, and blackmail them into signing them, or else they’ll turn them in to the NCAA. They’ve now proven that they’re willing to do it. Who’s going to call their bluff?

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    • extra 2% says:

      brilliant tactic

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    • RC says:

      Right. There’s a clear gain for the Phillies here – based on the way the power balance is.

      Most kids who get drafted have more to lose than the Phillies do. If they don’t sign, the Phillies get the pick back next year. The draftee basically loses a year of his career, and a year of eligibility.

      The Phillies just made it really clear to prospects not to waste their time – if you come to the table, you better be ready to sign what we want you to sign.

      The whole “they’re being dicks” doesn’t matter, because the draftees don’t get to choose who they’re drafted by.

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      • I'm an agent says:

        But they do…if they choose not to sign, the same team can’t draft them next year without their consent. So if a team wants to be a dick about it, move on and get drafted by someone else next season.

        It sucks for the player, but they’re still able to tell the team to pound sand if they don’t feel they’re getting a fair shake.

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        • RC says:

          “It sucks for the player, but they’re still able to tell the team to pound sand if they don’t feel they’re getting a fair shake.”

          At the cost of a year off their total career earnings, significantly more risk, and maybe millions of dollars.

          The difference between hitting FA at 27 and 28 can literally be millions of dollars.

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        • Bip says:

          Not to mention a year away from baseball at the highest available competition level.

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      • emdash says:

        They’ve also cost themselves, though, on the amount of info they could get on potential draftees – early reports are that agents are telling their talent not to talk to the Phillies at all, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some schools restricted their Scott’s access. Sure, the guys they do draft have less negotiating power, but they’re less likely to have enough information available to pick the best available players.

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        • RC says:

          “and I wouldn’t be surprised if some schools restricted their Scott’s access.”

          I would be very surprised. The schools are members of the NCAA. They WANT this stuff.

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      • Vince says:

        They only get the pick back in the first round. These guys were 5th and 6th round picks.

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  11. Howie says:

    According to Conor Glassey, Monda might’ve stayed at Washington because he could choose to go to medical school. So yeah, really lame by Philly.
    https://twitter.com/conorglassey/statuses/343091876217368577

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    • not a dick says:

      All well and good. Average age of med school matriculant is 25 with skew to the right. Plenty of time to pursue your baseball dream, which is why he was (allegedly) dealing with agents…

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  12. clint h says:

    why doesnt the ncaa simply allow these things as long as the athlete is not enrolled in school, which would let it happen during the summer months, but not year-round, and suit the schedules of mlb and nfl?

    seems like the ncaa could “save face” with such a compromise and avoid having rules that are demonstrably not enforced.

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  13. The Humber Games says:

    Sure this isn’t a nice thing to do, and the rule itself is pretty dumb, but it’s not unreasonable. Even if you secretly never intend to do this again, the deterrent effect of, in the past, having booted someone out of their NCAA eligibility if they cost you a draft pick, does have actual value. At the very least it probably dissuades someone ‘on the fence’ from coming into the draft and muddying the waters with signability questions, at the best it’s negotiating leverage to keep drafted players at the table instead of going back to college.

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    • larry says:

      im under the impression that teams can draft players whether they want to be drafted or not. Im not saying that was the case with these kids, in fact i think both wanted to be drafted, but still its not like football where you have to declare for the draft

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    • Frank says:

      Yeah, not the NFL, no declaring for the draft. What’s more, you might think it’s reasonable, you might think it’s reasonable to bash your neighbors head in with a rock because he looks at you funny, but what you think isn’t very important compared to what everybody else thinks. And the if a baseball team wants to do terrible things to potentially gain a small benefit they are going to discover that life doesn’t really work like that.

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      • RC says:

        “And the if a baseball team wants to do terrible things to potentially gain a small benefit they are going to discover that life doesn’t really work like that.”

        In a monopoly work environment where the employer has an anti-trust excemption, thats exactly how real life works.

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  14. grant says:

    I think the situation with the Jays and Paxton was quite a bit different. Beeston answered a reporter’s question about why they hadn’t been able to sign Paxton and referred to dealing with Boras directly. NCAA took the article as evidence of violation of the rule, there was no indication the Jays gave information out with any intent at all. Can’t really blame the guy for giving a simple answer to a beat writer.

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    • Simon says:

      No, that’s exactly the same, given that the Blue Jays absolutely know that they are not supposed to be dealing with Boras, and that putting that information in the public domain will put Paxton’s eligibility at risk.

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  15. Frank says:

    I guess I don’t understand the inside baseball here, but now if the Phillies call a potential draft pick won’t every agent tell his player to say they have no representation, aren’t interested in signing with them, and hang up the phone? This doesn’t put fear into any future draft picks, agents will just make sure the Phillies have absolutely no dealings with them so that they have nothing to report back to the NCAA.

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  16. DIrtbag says:

    I can’t understand why a MLB franchise wouldn’t want to negotiate directly with an agent.

    Every top draftee has an agent. Now all Phillies draftees will talk to the team directly, then the Phillies will have to wait for the kid to contact his agent and discuss the proposal, and then the kid will call the Phillies back. Repeat over and over.

    The Phillies just ensured that their negotiations will go much slower this year.

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  17. Kevin says:

    I think we’re all jumping the gun here without knowing the whole story.

    They waited five months after the deadline to just casually tell the NCAA that not one, but two of the kids they drafted that didn’t signed used an agent?

    It just doesn’t feel right to me at all. Everything about this screams that someone (be it one of the kids, the agent or the Phillies) got caught somehow and the phillies had no choice but to be truthful with the NCAA.

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  18. coldseat says:

    You’re not trying hard enough, Jeff. There is a simple justification. The Phillies go to this kid and say we are going to draft you and are willing to pay you $85k over slot, why don’t you talk to your advisor if that is acceptable to you so we know whether to waste our pick on you. The kid comes back a week later after talking to Agent X and tells the team that he would accept that. The team drafts him, offers the bonus, but then his agent uses the leverage of losing the signing/pick to demand a lot more. Who’s the bad guy in this situation?

    I’m anti-ncaa too, but I will recognize that their rules are nowhere as unfair to baseball players v. football/basketball. in baseball, if you don’t want to go pro and be a student athlete you should abide by that choice. This lack of choice for football/basketball (due to min. age rules) is what makes the ncaa vilians with these rules.

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    • dirtbag says:

      How does reporting these two help the Phillies?

      And these were two players represented by different agents.

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    • Simon says:

      Except agents don’t do this because it makes no sense to poison the well with a team for a few tens of thousands of dollars when they may well need to negotiate with the same team for a few tens of millions of dollars down the line.

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    • Slacker George says:

      I don’t know if this a MLB rule: teams shouldn’t talk dollars with amateur players prior to the draft.

      It happens so much, and supresses compensation. I couldn’t find a study as to how much money MBL saves by doing this.

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    • Wally says:

      “Who’s the bad guy in this situation?”

      No one. The team has the leverage of being the exclusive bidder for this kid’s services, the kid has the leverage of walking away, but costing himself a year in professional ball. Sounds about as fair as it can be outside FA.

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      • coldseat says:

        sure. guess i’m just old fashioned in thinking people (both sides) should stick to their word.

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        • Vince says:

          So now you’re making moral judgments based on a scenario THAT YOU PULLED OUT OF YOUR ASS.

          You made it up. And now you’re being a judgmental prick.

          Unbelievable, even here.

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        • Wally says:

          Seriously, what Vince said.

          Even if we assume your made up scenario is true, there is nothing morally wrong with changing your mind. He didn’t sign any agreement, even if got the bible out and swore to god he’d sign if only the Phillies would do him the honor of drafting him.

          Life happens. People can say one thing one day and have every intention of following through on it, only to realize they made a mistake or have something happen that forces a different path. Sticking to your word just to stick to word is plain idiocy.

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    • chuckb says:

      But according to the Philly paper, the player was planning on leaving Oregon St until he returned from the College World Series and decided he wanted to try one more time to win a national championship. The kid just changed his mind after experiencing the College World Series. I’m sure it was frustrating for the Phillies, but it doesn’t sound nearly as nefarious as the scenario you laid out.

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  19. Paul says:

    You write this: “we can’t be sure if this was an organizational decision on the Phillies’ part, or if this was, say, one guy,” but then write the rest of the article as if you DO know it was an organizational decision.

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    • Wally says:

      If the Phillies truly disagree with this line of action, they could make a statement saying it wasn’t an official Phillies decision to notify the NCAA, but rather one employee acting alone, and that they are looking into disciplinary action.

      Its a bit like a cop asking you if you did something and not giving them an answer. It makes you look guilty.

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  20. Mike says:

    Would love to see some wide scale retaliation from young players next year against the Phillies. Something along the lines of over half of their draft choices telling the Phils to go pound sand. It would never happen, but my vindictive little heart can dream.

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  21. chief00 says:

    I don’t expect that the Phillies like wasting draft picks. 5th and 6th rd picks haven’t amounted to much historically for the Phils but there’s always the chance you’ll nab a Bob Boone, an Ozzie Virgil, a Mike Maddux, a Mickey Morandini, or even a Ryan Howard.

    Mostly these guys will be organizational filler; some may rise to the level of a utility player or fringey RP in the high minors or the majors. But the reality is that the Phillies drafted them to be part if their organization.

    I don’t know how these 2 guys presented their willingness to actually sign, but PHI thought enough of it to take the chance. If they presented themselves as less-than-likely candidates to sign, then PHI just looks spiteful and stupid.

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  22. Un-assumer says:

    What really amuses me about all the responses here is the assumption that the Phillies were the ones who ratted out the players. We know from the article that the Phillies “told” the NCAA, but we have been given ZERO context.

    What were the circumstances? Were the Phillies approached by the NCAA after someone else – a rival coach or agent who knew, a disgruntled OSU employee, an fellow student who had an on campus altercation with Wetzler, an ex-girlfriend or spurned hookup – had ratted out Wetzler and were compelled to provide the info under their cooperative agreement? Wa sthat the extent of their “telling” that NCAA?

    It seems to me that many here are jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst – and what better way to promote page views that scream “scandal” or some such thing.

    If the Phillies were, indeed, the “rats” here, then they behaved despicably.

    But no one here has enough information to make that judgment – yet.

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    • chuckb says:

      Yeah, if only the Phillies would be given the opportunity to tell their side of the story so we can find out what really happened.

      Oh wait, they were and they’ve declined to comment.

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    • chief00 says:

      I’m curious to know what motivation you think PHI had to take that 3rd party info at face value, and then approach the NCAA? The 3rd party scenario you posit lacks explanatory value. Acting on info passed along by someone with an axe to grind doesn’t help the Phillies image here, either.

      There’s also the fair assumption that the Phillies were well aware of the ‘agent’ even if they never laid eyes on him/her. After all, “the rules are as explicit as they are ignored” strongly suggests that teams, including the Phillies, routinely overlook this particular rule. That’s a plausible enough scenario to offer ‘context,’ no?

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    • Vince says:

      What “cooperative agreement”? Is there a formal relationship between MLB and the NCAA?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

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