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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rosenthal: Agent calls Foul on Astros, MLB in negotiations with No. 1 overall pick

“We are extremely disappointed that Major League Baseball is allowing the Astros to conduct business in this manner with a complete disregard for the rules governing the draft and the 29 other clubs who have followed those same rules,” said Close, who serves as a family advisor to Aiken.
The standoff could lead the Astros to lose their reported $6.5 million agreement with Aiken and $1.5 million deal with their fifth-round pick, high-school right-hander Jacob Nix, who also is advised by Close.
At issue: Whether the Astros are using a medical concern to pressure Aiken into accepting a lower bonus so that they can sign Nix and their 21st-round pick, high-school left-hander Mac Marshall.

kthejoker Posted: July 15, 2014 at 12:28 PM | 119 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, draft

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   1. Morph Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4750755)
I find the Astros hardly praiseworthy.
   2. madvillain Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4750765)
I was wondering when this would be posted. Apparently the Astros are claiming their MRI on his arm revealed what they are terming "significant risk". How in the world you don't have an MRI on your multimillion dollar investment until after you draft him boggles my mind.

   3. Davo Dozier Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4750791)
Penny-wise, pound-foolish comes to mind. Not a fan of the way they seem to be running things down there.
   4. Ziggy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4750797)
“If every player was contingent on another player, we would have no draft, we would have no draft pool, we would have no signings,” Close said. “We’d never be able to reach agreements. They’d either all be reached at the same time, or none of them would ever be reached.”

Slippery-slope much?

That whatever the MRI turned up doesn't effect his performance doesn't sound especially important to me. If they think he's an injury risk going forward (for example), that would be really important.

What does next year's draft class look like? Is #2 over all next year (plus saving $6m) better than signing Aiken?
   5. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4750802)
I'm a little confused by the excerpt. If Nix already has a deal in place for 1.5, why are the Astros pressuring Aiken "so that they can sign Nix ... and Marshall?" Shouldn't it be just Marshall? And why should Nix rescind his agreement (if one was reached) simply because one of his agent's other clients is having difficulties in his negotiations?
   6. guajolote2 Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4750803)
Unclear from the article if he has an actual injury or just some structural abnormality that supposedly could lead to increased risk. You can't expect the Astros to not account for risk, but they've tried to game the system in so many ways in recent years (maybe "game" has too negative a connotation, but you know what I mean), it's difficult to give them the benefit of the doubt that they aren't just trying to exploit the situation.

Buster Olney had a good article last week on the differences between the A's and the Astros. If these years of obvious tanking don't improve the major league talent significantly, and all of this has been for nothing, I hope the fans of Houston don't come back until the team is sold again.
   7. billyshears Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4750823)
I'm a little confused by the excerpt. If Nix already has a deal in place for 1.5, why are the Astros pressuring Aiken "so that they can sign Nix ... and Marshall?" Shouldn't it be just Marshall? And why should Nix rescind his agreement (if one was reached) simply because one of his agent's other clients is having difficulties in his negotiations?


The issue is that if Aiken doesn't sign, they lose his full slot value. Just picking numbers out of a hat, if the Astros' bonus pool is $15 mil and Aiken's slot value is $7 mil, if Aiken doesn't sign then the Astros' bonus pool is reduced to $8 mil, and they can only sign their other draftees for $8 mil without incurring penalties. But if Aiken signs for $5 mil then the Astros get to keep Aiken's full slot value but only the $5 mil for which Aiken signed reduces their bonus pool, so they would have $10 mil left to sign other players. The Astros are trying to sign Aiken for under slot and use the excess to sign Nix. But if they don't sign Aiken, they don't have the excess.

Slippery-slope much?


Close is exactly right about this for the reasons explained above. Teams are negotiating contracts for Player A assuming they can sign Player B for under slot, and give the excess of Player B's slot to Player A. But if they can't sign Player B for under slot, then they don't have room in their bonus pool to sign Player A for the agreed upon contract without incurring penalties. The question is did Nix and the Astros have a deal contingent on a physical or did Nix and the Astros have a deal contingent on a physical AND Aiken signing for under slot. Close is claiming it's the former whereas the Astros are claiming it's the latter.


How in the world you don't have an MRI on your multimillion dollar investment until after you draft him boggles my mind.


Prospects won't agree to MRIs before the draft.
   8. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4750831)
I'm a little confused by the excerpt. If Nix already has a deal in place for 1.5, why are the Astros pressuring Aiken "so that they can sign Nix ... and Marshall?" Shouldn't it be just Marshall? And why should Nix rescind his agreement (if one was reached) simply because one of his agent's other clients is having difficulties in his negotiations?


The Astros agreed to pay Aiken $6.5M, but the MLB gives holder of the #1 pick $7.5M to spend. The $1M they saved by not paying Aiken the full amount they were able to use to go way over slot to pay $1.5M to a 5th rounder, Nix, while still staying in the MLB overall spending limits. If they don't sign Aiken, they lose the $7.5M and now signing Nix would put them way over spending limits and subject them to onerous penalties including possible loss of future picks.

Seems like a tough spot that Selig and his capmeister didn't anticipate well. I have to think Aiken's arm issue is very serious, because essentially it's leading the Astros to forgo signing two valuable prospects and risk a big penalty.

Edit: Line of coke to Billy Shears for being first and better.
   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4750864)
I understand that anyone would try to save a few million dollars if they can, but... OK, Aiken needs Tommy John surgery. That puts him in company with practically every other good young pitcher in the world. Is it THAT big of a deal? Give him the money you agreed to give him, get the surgery done, move on seems to me to be the best of the Astros' several bad options.
   10. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4750870)
That puts him in company with practically every other good young pitcher in the world. Is it THAT big of a deal? Give him the money you agreed to give him, get the surgery done, move on seems to me to be the best of the Astros' several bad options.


Agreed, I expect they sign him for an agreeable haircut, say $5M, which should mean Nix's deal is also completed.

The other interesting thing here is that the agent has a huge conflict. If he advises Aiken to refuse the Astros offer, he costs his other client, Nix, his $1.5M contract. If he tells Aiken to take a discounted offer, is it because it's the right thing for Aiken or to save Nix's $1.5M deal?
   11. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4750873)
Aiken would be insane not to accept a $5 million offer. Honestly he would be insane not to accept half that, under the circumstances. He can stand on principle, but that would likely be a very expensive principle.
   12. madvillain Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4750876)
Prospects won't agree to MRIs before the draft.


Damn, obviously there is downside risk on their side, but you'd think if the MRI is going to be done between drafting and signing, then you'd rather get the MRI before the draft and avoid situations like this.
   13. madvillain Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4750878)
Aiken would be insane not to accept a $5 million offer. Honestly he would be insane not to accept half that, under the circumstances. He can stand on principle, but that would likely be a very expensive principle.


It's usually best to play nice when you work under a CBA. The Astros low ball offer is pathetic and is going against the agreed upon civility of the process. Doing something "because you can" usually isn't smart in these situations.
   14. flournoy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4750879)
Since this is an Astros thread...

I will be in Houston next week, and am going to try to go to either the Friday or Saturday night game against the Marlins. Given that I'm talking about a game between the Astros and Marlins, is there any reason I should bother buying tickets ahead of time, or should I just walk up? Any general tips or advice regarding catching a game in Houston?
   15. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4750880)
Seems pretty clear to me that the agreement between Astros and Nix cannot be contingent on Aiken. The Astros need to choose between either: (a) not signing Aiken and thus incurring the penalties in future drafts for going overslot to sign Nix; (b) sign Aiken to the previously agreed upon amount despite the injury discovery. In other words, the Astros need to decide whether they would prefer to "overspend" by $3.5M for Aiken or suffer the penalties for going overslot for Nix. But threatening to walk away from both should not allowed in order to renegotiate Nix's contract.

There is an easy solution going forward: complete the contracts--including physicals--with the players intended to be signed for underslot before completing deals for the players to be signed for overslot. Nix should be entitled to the full amount of the contract that he and the Astros signed.
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4750896)
The question is did Nix and the Astros have a deal contingent on a physical or did Nix and the Astros have a deal contingent on a physical AND Aiken signing for under slot. Close is claiming it's the former whereas the Astros are claiming it's the latter.

If it isn't in the contract, aren't the Astros just blowing smoke and Nix has an enforceable deal? Certainly seems likely.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4750898)
Why don't they just make the slot amounts mandatory? I don't see the benefit of allowing teams to go over or under slot.
   18. madvillain Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4750905)
Why don't they just make the slot amounts mandatory? I don't see the benefit of allowing teams to go over or under slot.


I agree, and then allow trading of picks, boom, problem freaking solved.
   19. I am going to be Frank Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4750922)
I will be in Houston next week, and am going to try to go to either the Friday or Saturday night game against the Marlins. Given that I'm talking about a game between the Astros and Marlins, is there any reason I should bother buying tickets ahead of time, or should I just walk up? Any general tips or advice regarding catching a game in Houston?


I would say check stubhub and if the prices are less than face (they should be, its the Astros), then go from there.
   20. madvillain Posted: July 15, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4750934)
I would say check stubhub and if the prices are less than face (they should be, its the Astros), then go from there.


Right, usually at this point in summer, box seats on stub hub for a bad team are 2/3 or even 1/2 what the box office wants.
   21. tshipman Posted: July 15, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4750940)
Astros seem like a singularly disagreeable front office.
   22. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4750951)
Sounds like the MLBPA found another way to screw draftees for the benefit of the 3 guys per year who are up for gigantic contracts.
   23. kthejoker Posted: July 15, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4750961)
It's important to note Nix hasn't actually signed a contract, merely a verbal agreement to general terms, so I don't know if Nix has any legal standing at this point. If Aiken doesn't sign, they won't sign Nix since his overslot deal by itself would cost them their first round pick next year.

And the counteroffer the Astros made was to ensure they'll get the 1.2 pick next year if Aiken fails to sign. So mostly just CYA.

I expect they'll sign him, but it does leave a weird precedent for future overslot contingencies.

Anyway Scott Boras seemed nonplussed with Close's handling of all this, saying he would've basically had all of this handled behind the scenes. Close is preying a bit on the Astros' bad PR of late, I think, to win some media sympathy.
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4751001)

Right, usually at this point in summer, box seats on stub hub for a bad team are 2/3 or even 1/2 what the box office wants.


Whenever I've used Stubhub, I've printed out the tickets. Does anyone know if I can simply have them scan a barcode on my smartphone instead?
   25. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4751022)
Nate I just used my phone for the cubs game I went to this year after buying them from stubhub.
   26. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4751024)
You can get the barcode, but they do have cutoff times early in the day.
   27. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4751030)
Whenever I've used Stubhub, I've printed out the tickets. Does anyone know if I can simply have them scan a barcode on my smartphone instead?


I think so but I'm not sure. If you have the At The Ballpark app (iPhone, I assume it's the same on other phones) there is a "MyTickets" section and I know you can load tickets on there. I'm not sure what the process is but that might be a place to start.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4751031)
The other interesting thing here is that the agent has a huge conflict.

He's not the agent, he's the "family advisor". These are both HS kids who are keeping their options open. So Nix isn't being paid yet and I assume only gets paid if they sign and retain him as their actual agent.

Part of what makes it interesting. It's in the advisor's interest to get the contracts signed, he gets nothing (for at least a few years) if they go to college. Yet he's still willing to hold up this deal which could be just cuz the Astros are trying to get by for a few million less than they'd agreed to (taking money out of the advisor's pocket as well) or it could be because the Astros are way out of line.
   29. billyshears Posted: July 15, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4751054)
If it isn't in the contract, aren't the Astros just blowing smoke and Nix has an enforceable deal? Certainly seems likely.


Echoing #23, I doubt there is a signed contract. I think the parties just have an agreement to enter into a contract upon satisfaction of a contingency. I'm just a practicing lawyer - we're going to need a law school professor to weigh in on the enforceability of that arrangement.
   30. Zach Posted: July 15, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4751084)
Damn, obviously there is downside risk on their side, but you'd think if the MRI is going to be done between drafting and signing, then you'd rather get the MRI before the draft and avoid situations like this.

From a prospect's perspective, the only things you could learn from an MRI are bad. You don't want to take an MRI unless you're getting something at the same time, or unless the team already has something invested in you and can't easily walk away. Basically, you want it to be the last thing you do before getting paid.

When Manaea had health concerns, he dropped from a possible #1 overall to the supplemental round, and lost up to $3 million in the process. No prospect is going to undergo that kind of risk unless they're trying to prove that they've recovered from an injury that was causing teams to shy away.
   31. Bug Selig Posted: July 15, 2014 at 06:37 PM (#4751116)
If deals agreed to "pending a physical" shouldn't be altered due to the findings of such physical, why have them?
   32. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 15, 2014 at 07:44 PM (#4751158)
If deals agreed to "pending a physical" shouldn't be altered due to the findings of such physical, why have them?

OK, but a team shouldn't be able to just invent things to pay people less. Maybe referral to a medical arbitration panel is needed for some cases.
   33. Bhaakon Posted: July 15, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4751170)
Damn, obviously there is downside risk on their side, but you'd think if the MRI is going to be done between drafting and signing, then you'd rather get the MRI before the draft and avoid situations like this.


Ass Zach said, there's only downside to an MRI for a prospect. If the issues in Aiken's MRI are really that serious, then the only reason he's even getting a $6.5M bonus offer is because of the leverage he has being attached to the #1 pick slot money. If this came out before the draft and he'd slipped to even just the #3 pick, he wouldn't get that offer. That's assuming the Astros aren't trumping up the issue as a negotiating ploy, of course.
   34. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:33 PM (#4751353)
Rotoworld's speculation based upon a Houston source is that Aiken has an unusually small UCL. The Astros are (presumably) arguing this makes him an injury risk and Aiken is (presumably) arguing they can't void the deal based on results of the physical when he doesn't have an actual injury.

EDIT: FWIW, the Astros' revised offer is the minimum amount they can offer him and still get 2015 draft compensation.

This sort of thing was bound to happen under the current system because Aiken is a high school kid (as opposed to a JuCo or college junior) and probably doesn't have an alternative better than taking the lowered offer.
   35. bobm Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4751399)
Anyway Scott Boras seemed nonplussed with Close's handling of all this, saying he would've basically had all of this handled behind the scenes by leaking it to Jon Heyman . Close is preying a bit on the Astros' bad PR of late, I think, to win some media sympathy.

FTFY
   36. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 15, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4751466)
Rotoworld's speculation based upon a Houston source is that Aiken has an unusually small UCL. The Astros are (presumably) arguing this makes him an injury risk and Aiken is (presumably) arguing they can't void the deal based on results of the physical when he doesn't have an actual injury.

I think a lawsuit might be in order. Telling the world that Aiken has an "unusually small" UCL? In Texas? How is a man going to live that down?
   37. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 15, 2014 at 10:46 PM (#4751491)
Houston is not going to be able to void the deal based on that.
   38. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:28 PM (#4751575)
Echoing #23, I doubt there is a signed contract. I think the parties just have an agreement to enter into a contract upon satisfaction of a contingency. I'm just a practicing lawyer - we're going to need a law school professor to weigh in on the enforceability of that arrangement.


I don't think any of these verbal agreements are understood to be final by any of the parties. Neither teams nor agents would ever consider anything short of a signature on a piece of paper binding. Also, wouldn't the statute of frauds be applicable? The contract is for more than a year?
   39. billyshears Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4751619)
From a prospect's perspective, the only things you could learn from an MRI are bad. You don't want to take an MRI unless you're getting something at the same time, or unless the team already has something invested in you and can't easily walk away. Basically, you want it to be the last thing you do before getting paid.


This is obviously the view that carries the day, so I think it is valid, but I think there is a counterargument. The MRI is going to happen in any case. By having it before the draft and getting the information out to all teams, the prospect enables himself to be drafted by the team that values him most highly given all available information. If Houston has an unusually conservative medical staff, Aiken does stand to lose by giving them the sole ability to react to the MRI.
   40. billyshears Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:58 PM (#4751623)
I don't think any of these verbal agreements are understood to be final by any of the parties. Neither teams nor agents would ever consider anything short of a signature on a piece of paper binding. Also, wouldn't the statute of frauds be applicable? The contract is for more than a year?


This is why we need a contracts professor. State law is going to govern and my recollection is that the common law statute of frauds has generally been replaced in most states by specific state law provisions. Honestly, I'm not even sure the 1-year provision of the common law statute of frauds would even be applicable given the structure of contracts for draftees. But I'm 15 years out of law school so take my advice for what it's worth. Somebody ask me a securities law question now. Actually, don't.
   41. bobm Posted: July 15, 2014 at 11:59 PM (#4751624)
This reminds me of the R.A. Dickey story:

NY Times: New Twist Keeps Dickey’s Career Afloat

A hard-throwing all-American pitcher at the University of Tennessee in 1996, Dickey became a first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers and a starter for the United States Olympic team, along with Kris Benson, Billy Koch, Seth Greisinger and Braden Looper. Baseball America pictured the five of them standing side by side on the cover of its Olympic preview issue.

Dickey was ready to accept the Rangers’ $810,000 bonus offer when a team physician picked up the magazine and noticed Dickey’s right arm hanging somewhat awkwardly at his side. The doctor recommended that the team examine him further, leading to the bizarre discovery that Dickey not only had an elbow issue, he had no ulnar collateral ligament, the primary tissue that stabilizes the joint. The Rangers pulled their offer and wound up offering him $75,000, more out of guilt than confidence in his future.

“Imagine winning the lottery and then losing the ticket,” said Dickey, who signed with the Rangers because he assumed no team would give him a chance again. He reported to the minor leagues knowing that precious little was keeping his elbow together, that each day pitching could be his last.
   42. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:44 AM (#4751665)
OK, but a team shouldn't be able to just invent things to pay people less. Maybe referral to a medical arbitration panel is needed for some cases.


Clearly Houston didn't "invent" anything here. They are hugely motivated to sign Aiken if he actually is healthy, because he is a top prospect and it allows them to sign another valuable prospect in Nix. The fact that it has come to this and has Houston on the verge of losing Nix tells you this is a very serious medical issue.

Arbitration panels would be absurd. There is no agreement or contract & Aiken isn't an employee, and the MLB isn't going to empower a arbitration panel to dictate how a team spends money, what is low risk to the panel may not be to the team

Let's assume you go car shopping, and find a car you like, negotiate with the salesman and agree on price. You take it to a mechanic before signing the sales contract, and mechanic warned you about possible problems, so you tell the dealer he has to slash the price or you will back out. Should the dealer he able to have an arbitration panel decide whether you should be forced to buy the car at what price?

Imagine the panel says you should be forced to buy it because your concerns about breakdowns are overdone and even though the car has greater risk of problems, it shouldn't cost much more than average to maintain. And you say, but I'm an on call ER doc who needs a car I can count on, and they shrug because they don't have a model for that.
   43. Sleepless in Munich Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:16 AM (#4751669)
Let's assume you go car shopping, and find a car you like, negotiate with the salesman and agree on price. You take it to a mechanic before signing the sales contract, and mechanic warned you about possible problems, so you tell the dealer he has to slash the price or you will back out. Should the dealer he able to have an arbitration panel decide whether you should be forced to buy the car at what price?

Imagine the panel says you should be forced to buy it because your concerns about breakdowns are overdone and even though the car has greater risk of problems, it shouldn't cost much more than average to maintain. And you say, but I'm an on call ER doc who needs a car I can count on, and they shrug because they don't have a model for that.


I think your analogy does not hold. To make it similar to the Astros/Aiken situation, you need some changes and additions.
1) The buyer is not an ER doc looking for his one car, but a collector who already has dozens of cars and hopes that some of them will turn out to be really good.
2) The salesman can't sell the car to any other customer because all buyers have made an agreement that only one buyer can talk to the salesman.
3) The buyer has picked the salesman over every other car dealership in the entire country.

In this situation, it seems pretty obvious that the buyer has a huge incentive to invent problems to screw the salesman out of a fair price for ther car.
   44. Scott Lange Posted: July 16, 2014 at 07:34 AM (#4751688)
Clearly Houston didn't "invent" anything here. They are hugely motivated to sign Aiken if he actually is healthy, because he is a top prospect and it allows them to sign another valuable prospect in Nix. The fact that it has come to this and has Houston on the verge of losing Nix tells you this is a very serious medical issue.


But they are even more hugely motivated to sign Aiken for less money than he's worth, because they don't like spending money and it allows them to sign Nix. The fact that it has come to this tells us nothing, because nothing has actually happened yet. If the Astros actually do walk away, it still doesn't tell us much, because the system rewards them with a replacement #2 overall pick next year, so all they are losing is a one-pick downgrade (from 2014 #1 to 2015 #2) and potentially the extra money they want/need to sign Nix.

In your analogy, this could just as plausibly be a buyer saying "I dunno, I'm tempted, but I just can't afford to go that high because I heard these models break down a lot" even if he hadn't heard anything of the sort. Also, the suggestion that the Astros are the equivalent of an on-call doc who needs/deserves a 100% reliable car doesn't hold, since this is the baseball draft and there are no draft picks that can be truly counted on.
   45. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 08:59 AM (#4751719)
I liked how Keith Law put it: If Aiken hit the open market today, how much money do you think he'd get? (Hint: More than $6.5 million.)
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4751724)
Clearly Houston didn't "invent" anything here. They are hugely motivated to sign Aiken if he actually is healthy, because he is a top prospect and it allows them to sign another valuable prospect in Nix. The fact that it has come to this and has Houston on the verge of losing Nix tells you this is a very serious medical issue.

Bullshit. He's not hurt.

They're using this as an excuse to screw him out of a couple of million bucks.

If this were a "very serious medical issue" they wouldn't be offering him $5M.

I liked how Keith Law put it: If Aiken hit the open market today, how much money do you think he'd get? (Hint: More than $6.5 million.)

Exactly.
   47. Astroenteritis (tom) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:08 AM (#4751726)
Any general tips or advice regarding catching a game in Houston?


You can certainly walk up and buy tickets, but as others have pointed out tickets below face value shouldn't be hard to find on the resale market.
Parking is available fairly close (2-4 blocks) to the stadium for $10-15 if you're driving to the game. The stadium is easily accessible from a major freeway, but be prepared to navigate the one-way streets in the area. It should be a fairly stress-free experience.

As for the Aiken situation, though I can understand both sides it just seems the Astros come out looking bad. I would just like them to sign him for the agreed upon amount. Even if he eventually needs TJ he can still be a productive player. Ugly situation.
   48. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4751743)
The other interesting thing here is that the agent has a huge conflict.

He's not the agent, he's the "family advisor". These are both HS kids who are keeping their options open. So Nix isn't being paid yet and I assume only gets paid if they sign and retain him as their actual agent.


The conflict issue is part of what I was driving at in [5] (and thanks for the responses). There is certainly plenty of blame on Houston for their bad faith negotiations, for the reasons many have pointed out. But I also think it's improper for Close to link in any way the negotiations of Nix and Aiken, regardless of whether he's an agent or a "family advisor." If I was Nix I'd be pissed.
   49. billyshears Posted: July 16, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4751769)
Let's assume you go car shopping, and find a car you like, negotiate with the salesman and agree on price. You take it to a mechanic before signing the sales contract, and mechanic warned you about possible problems, so you tell the dealer he has to slash the price or you will back out. Should the dealer he able to have an arbitration panel decide whether you should be forced to buy the car at what price?

Imagine the panel says you should be forced to buy it because your concerns about breakdowns are overdone and even though the car has greater risk of problems, it shouldn't cost much more than average to maintain. And you say, but I'm an on call ER doc who needs a car I can count on, and they shrug because they don't have a model for that.


The point was made well in #43, but given how thoroughly MLB screws draft prospects (including by the existence of the draft itself), there should be an obligation for teams to act honorably. Obviously, it's not legal obligation, but MLB can certainly impose penalties (such as loss of the compensatory pick in the following year for failing to sign a current draft pick) for teams that unfairly leverage the physical to gain concessions or back out of deals because they view certain signings as linked if this was not communicated to the player. Of course, they won't do this. But they should.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4751770)
The conflict issue is part of what I was driving at in [5] (and thanks for the responses). There is certainly plenty of blame on Houston for their bad faith negotiations, for the reasons many have pointed out. But I also think it's improper for Close to link in any way the negotiations of Nix and Aiken, regardless of whether he's an agent or a "family advisor." If I was Nix I'd be pissed.

Why would Nix be pissed? Aiken is the one being asked to take less than slot to give Nix more.

If anything, Aiken would be the aggrieved party.
   51. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4751771)
I liked how Keith Law put it: If Aiken hit the open market today, how much money do you think he'd get? (Hint: More than $6.5 million


Market-based windfalls are to be reserved for the right sort of people. Aiken is the wrong sort of person.
   52. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4751826)
This reminds me of the R.A. Dickey story:


There have also been other first-round pitchers who ended up accepting significantly less as a result of abnormalities discovered during their pre-signing physical, including Tim Stauffer and Billy Traber.
   53. base ball chick Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4751993)
snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4751724)

Clearly Houston didn't "invent" anything here. They are hugely motivated to sign Aiken if he actually is healthy, because he is a top prospect and it allows them to sign another valuable prospect in Nix. The fact that it has come to this and has Houston on the verge of losing Nix tells you this is a very serious medical issue.

Bullshit. He's not hurt.

They're using this as an excuse to screw him out of a couple of million bucks.

If this were a "very serious medical issue" they wouldn't be offering him $5M


- DINGDINGDINGDING

aiken is being blackmailed - accept this lower offer, and how DARE you turn down any number of millions, or drop dead
look at how many people here think that all these grossly lowballed guys should take whatever they are offered regardless of their value
   54. base ball chick Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4752016)
flournoy Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4750879)

Since this is an Astros thread...

I will be in Houston next week, and am going to try to go to either the Friday or Saturday night game against the Marlins. Given that I'm talking about a game between the Astros and Marlins, is there any reason I should bother buying tickets ahead of time, or should I just walk up? Any general tips or advice regarding catching a game in Houston


- not sure how willing you are to walk
but if you are going to a 7 PM game, there is free street parking after 6 - you will have to walk about 8-10 blocks - park on caroline, austin or labrabch, south of walker

there is also a $5.00 parking garage, pretty close on, i think rusk and austin. there are $10 and ?15 lots on texas ave

best seats in the park for the $$$ if you are willing to spend are in sections 319/321 - if you got connections, the insperity club (which used to be the pressbox)
best chance for homer is one of the crawford box seats

all the food on the first level is crap, unless they have brought in something new in the past 2 years. the food at the bullpen restaurant is also beyond terrible (last i knew, it was the 5-7, named after bagwell and biggio)

the line for walkup tix will be short - have not checked stubhub
ther is a possibility you could get tix from one of the street sellers, although there aren't real too many left

it is easier to switch seats in the upper decks - the ushers don't care - just be sure like when you come in you act like you know where you are going. it is very difficult to get into any of the dugout level seats if you don't have a ticket. unless things are different in the past 2 years which i doubt

it's a pretty good ballpark - if you get there even 30 minutes early, you'll have plenty of time to look around. they LIE about the attendance. there are usually about 10K people actually THERE
   55. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4752053)
Clearly Houston didn't "invent" anything here. . . .

Arbitration panels would be absurd. There is no agreement or contract & Aiken isn't an employee . . .


How do we know that the Astros aren't making stuff up. If the small but healthy UCL story is true, is there any medical evidence that a small UCL is problematic? Why would you think that they wouldn't try to save $5M if they can get away with it? And if you're going to rule out medical arbitration, then Aiken (and others similarly situated) should be made free agents if they aren't offered slot money for alleged post handshake agreement medical reasons. Why should a player be held hostage to a quack that may be giving a team what it wants to hear if others teams disagree?
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4752083)
How do we know that the Astros aren't making stuff up. If the small but healthy UCL story is true, is there any medical evidence that a small UCL is problematic? Why would you think that they wouldn't try to save $5M if they can get away with it? And if you're going to rule out medical arbitration, then Aiken (and others similarly situated) should be made free agents if they aren't offered slot money for alleged post handshake agreement medical reasons. Why should a player be held hostage to a quack that may be giving a team what it wants to hear if others teams disagree?

I like this idea. If a team refuses to offer a player at least 85% (for example) of slot, said player automatically becomes a FA.
   57. steagles Posted: July 16, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4752188)
there is somewhat of a precedent for this situation.

barret loux:
Heading into the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, Loux was seen as a potential late-first round pick.[5] Surprising many, the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Loux with the sixth overall selection, agreeing to a pre-draft deal with Loux with a $2 million signing bonus.[14] However, Loux failed his physical with the Diamondbacks due to a torn labrum and elbow damage that doctors felt might require ligament-replacement surgery in the future.[14][15] As a result, the Diamondbacks did not offer Loux a contract, as the franchise chose to take advantage of compensation rules that instead would grant them the seventh overall pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft if they did not sign Loux.[16]

Though unsigned draft picks typically cannot begin their professional careers until the next season, MLB declared Loux a free agent in an unprecedented move.[17][18] After throwing for scouts,[19] Loux signed a contract with the Texas Rangers, receiving a signing bonus of $312,000.[20] In an attempt to prevent this situation from happening again, the new collective bargaining agreement negotiated that winter by MLB and the MLB Players Association added clauses that included mandatory physicals for all top 200 prospects prior to the draft, and a rule that makes all future draft picks who fail a physical and do not receive an offer of at least 40 percent of the assigned value for that pick are to become free agents, with the team facing a reduction in the amount of money they can spend on their draft picks.[21]
   58. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 16, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4752201)
In an attempt to prevent this situation from happening again, the new collective bargaining agreement negotiated that winter by MLB and the MLB Players Association added clauses that included mandatory physicals for all top 200 prospects prior to the draft, and a rule that makes all future draft picks who fail a physical and do not receive an offer of at least 40 percent of the assigned value for that pick are to become free agents, with the team facing a reduction in the amount of money they can spend on their draft picks.


Interesting, although 40% seems too low - it certainly gives teams a significant incentive to exaggerate their medical concerns.
   59. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4752203)
Interesting, although 40% seems too low - it certainly gives teams a significant incentive to exaggerate their medical concerns.


Regardless of whether it's what the rule should be or not, it's what the rule is... and right now, the Astros are offering Aiken that 40%. He can take it or not - it's his call.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:09 PM (#4752249)
Regardless of whether it's what the rule should be or not, it's what the rule is... and right now, the Astros are offering Aiken that 40%. He can take it or not - it's his call.

But that doesn't make it right for the Astros to do it.
   61. madvillain Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4752257)
But that doesn't make it right for the Astros to do it.


Right, for all the minutiae of these sports league CBAs, most of the time, in cases like this, you "do the right thing" regardless if it costs you in the short term. Doing it "just because you can" is a pretty good way to scare off any future FAs. It's like sending a career minor leaguer down a day before he qualifies for the lifelong pension, totally within the rules, but a huge dick move and not likely to be looked upon kindly in the future.
   62. guajolote2 Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4752264)
How do we know that the Astros aren't making stuff up. If the small but healthy UCL story is true, is there any medical evidence that a small UCL is problematic? Why would you think that they wouldn't try to save $5M if they can get away with it? And if you're going to rule out medical arbitration, then Aiken (and others similarly situated) should be made free agents if they aren't offered slot money for alleged post handshake agreement medical reasons. Why should a player be held hostage to a quack that may be giving a team what it wants to hear if others teams disagree?


However you slice it, this kid is getting screwed. If he was available on the market, and the Astros didn't get rewarded with the #2 pick next year for not signing him, they would bid more than $3m, and everybody knows it. There's no easy solution here, and this situation seems to be unique. Nobody is saying he has an actual injury and the Astros have probably don't have any actual evidence that a small UCL is even correlated with injury. If the Astros don't sign him, Bud Selig should show some balls and make him a UFA, in the best interests of baseball.
   63. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4752265)
Right, for all the minutiae of these sports league CBAs, most of the time, in cases like this, you "do the right thing" regardless if it costs you in the short term. Doing it "just because you can" is a pretty good way to scare off any future FAs. It's like sending a career minor leaguer down a day before he qualifies for the lifelong pension, totally within the rules, but a huge dick move and not likely to be looked upon kindly in the future.

Yup, MLB's a small world. Every agent is watching how Houston treats this kid.

It will likely cost them far more down the road than the ~$3M they're looking to save.
   64. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4752266)
I like this idea. If a team refuses to offer a player at least 85% (for example) of slot, said player automatically becomes a FA.


The Cubs signed their #1 for ~68% of slot. I'm sure they're not the only ones. Would this only apply to #1s? They signed their 10th rounder for $1,000 with a $141,000 slot. The issue is the dumbass system that requires underslotting by a significant amount in able to get the best talent in the draft.
   65. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4752268)
The Cubs signed their #1 for ~68% of slot. I'm sure they're not the only ones. Would this only apply to #1s? They signed their 10th rounder for $1,000 with a $141,000 slot. The issue is the dumbass system that requires underslotting by a significant amount in able to get the best talent in the draft.

I'd apply it at every slot.

However you slice it, this kid is getting screwed. If he was available on the market, and the Astros didn't get rewarded with the #2 pick next year for not signing him, they would bid more than $3m, and everybody knows it. There's no easy solution here, and this situation seems to be unique. Nobody is saying he has an actual injury and the Astros have probably don't have any actual evidence that a small UCL is even correlated with injury. If the Astros don't sign him, Bud Selig should show some balls and make him a UFA, in the best interests of baseball.

Yup, make Aiken a FA, and void the comp pick for the Astros.
   66. billyshears Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4752270)
For Aiken, or even RA Dickey, would Tommy John surgery fix the problem, or is there something else structurally wrong that can't be fixed with TJ surgery?
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4752275)
For Aiken, or even RA Dickey, would Tommy John surgery fix the problem, or is there something else structurally wrong that can't be fixed with TJ surgery?

Nothing is wrong with Aiken. He's not hurt.

His short UCL may or may not put him at increased risk of getting hurt, but there's no reason to think TJ surgery wouldn't fix a UCL injury if it occurs.

Likewise with Dickey, there was nothing wrong with him, pitching wise. He lacks the ligament but still has been able to pitch just fine,
   68. madvillain Posted: July 16, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4752288)
His short UCL may or may not put him at increased risk of getting hurt, but there's no reason to think TJ surgery wouldn't fix a UCL injury if it occurs.


This is a pretty slippery slope the Astros are going down. This is hardly settled science, what's next, they draft a catcher and they see his patellar tendon is frayed on the image (despite his hypothetical gaudy college/hs stats and obvious athleticism) and they offer him 35% of slot?

I'm surprised this hasn't happened before. Maybe it has but Aiken is the highest profile. Heck, in 5 years they might have a genetic marker for a weak UCL, now that will be fun times.
   69. asinwreck Posted: July 16, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4752298)
In the event Aiken does not sign and decides to go to college, would this Astros front office do what the Phillies did (claim his advisor was his agent and try to render him ineligible)?
   70. guajolote2 Posted: July 16, 2014 at 07:46 PM (#4752363)
Well, the NCAA gave a not insignificant penalty but they didn't throw the book at the two Phillies draftees. Missing 20% of a freshmen season probably wouldn't keep anybody from going to college (who otherwise would), and doesn't really give the Astros any incentive, if they had any in the first place.
   71. cardsfanboy Posted: July 16, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4752372)
Haven't read the thread yet, but after the Springer negotiations, I wouldn't be surprised if the Astros are trying to leverage their MLB advantage against an amateur...this organization just screams "taking advantage of what we can, especially those with no protections".
   72. cardsfanboy Posted: July 16, 2014 at 08:01 PM (#4752374)
Why don't they just make the slot amounts mandatory? I don't see the benefit of allowing teams to go over or under slot.


Because that is a hard cap, and hard caps are pure unadulterated evil.
   73. cardsfanboy Posted: July 16, 2014 at 08:07 PM (#4752379)
I liked how Keith Law put it: If Aiken hit the open market today, how much money do you think he'd get? (Hint: More than $6.5 million.)

I like this idea. If a team refuses to offer a player at least 85% (for example) of slot, said player automatically becomes a FA.



I fully support this. Or at least something like if a team can't agree to terms with a draftee, they can enter the open market and any contract signed over slot, the team gets 50% overall for next years draft funded by the signing team. (or something like that) It benefits the drafting team, benefits the player and benefits the big market teams, willing to spend)
   74. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4752409)

Why make things so complicated? If there's going to be a draft, and if it's agreed that the No. 1 player should get more than the No. 2 player and the No. 30 player more than the No. 31 player, etc., etc., just have hard slots and be done with it.

All of these machinations are the result of the MLBPA taking a dumb middle-ground position on the draft so agents can line their pockets with commissions they wouldn't be able to charge in a hard-slotted draft.
   75. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4752415)
. . . what's next . . .

Astros GM: Our medical examination indicated that you are only 5'11" rather than the 6' we had been led to believe . . .
   76. Ziggy Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4752428)
Is the draft really subject to collective bargaining? If so, it was really stupid of the owners to allow it to become that way. (Not that this would be the first time that the owners did something stupid.) They should really drop the compensation picks for FA (if that's what's making the draft CBA-relevant) and go to a straight cash compensation. Once they did that they could set a hard cap at anything they like (probably just a little bit more than a college scholarship). I realize that if they weren't giving million dollar bonuses those athletes that could go into other sports would - but so what (from ownership's perspective)? If the quality of play is knocked down by x% across the board (not everyone who would forego baseball would have been a star), the best players are still going to look y% better than average.

I bet if they offered to set the cash compensation at just a little bit south of what a draft pick is worth, the union would go for it. The MLBPA never has any qualms about selling out its not-yet-and-probably-never-will-be members.

I realize that a lot of the people on this thread think that it's morally reprehensible to try to screw high school kids out of signing bonuses. And it probably is. But from a moral perspective what MLB *should* be doing is donating all of its revenues to Oxfam. Since MLB obviously doesn't care about the moral perspective, I find it curious that they aren't doing some relatively simple things (like not giving real signing bonuses) that could increase their profits.
   77. Bug Selig Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4752824)
MLB and the MLB Players Association added clauses that included mandatory physicals for all top 200 prospects prior to the draft,


Did this happen?
   78. Bug Selig Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4752841)
But I also think it's improper for Close to link in any way the negotiations of Nix and Aiken, regardless of whether he's an agent or a "family advisor." If I was Nix I'd be pissed.


From RTFA, I get the impression Close vigorously considers them independent. The Astros are the ones trying to say that they can't sign Nix unless they sign Aiken.

I think it is very telling that the Astros aren't reducing their offer a little, but instead reducing it to the exact lowest number that gives them a pick next year. My initial thought was that a pitcher with a significant elbow abnormality would logically be higher risk and thus worth less, but the 'Stros actions don't suggest that the matter is limited to that. Really, really curious if an Aiken MRI had been made available through the mandatory physicals mentioned above. This not being "new" information would make Houston wholly unsympathetic here.
   79. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4752850)
Is the draft really subject to collective bargaining? If so, it was really stupid of the owners to allow it to become that way.


Yes, because if not collectively bargained it would [potentially] be subject to anti-trust rules*... To be more specific all the other pro sports leagues HAVE to operate with collective bargaining agreements providing for their drafts- or their drafts would be DOA at the first anti-trust suit. MLB has this bizarre and anomalous anti-trust exemption going for it so maybe they don't have to put the draft in the CBA- but why take the risk?



Under the Anti-Trust and NLRA a Union and an employer can collectively bargain and agree to something that would otherwise be subject to/violate anti-trust laws.
   80. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4752859)
They should really drop the compensation picks for FA (if that's what's making the draft CBA-relevant)

??? From the owner's POV the compensation pick thing is doing exactly what it was supposed to, act as a drag on FA salaries.

The MLBPA never has any qualms about selling out its not-yet-and-probably-never-will-be members.


No it doesn't. Oddly enough from what I've read the only consistent voices on the side of the draftees has been some agents (I say oddly enough because agents can be pretty scummy)-and some agents do have some influence over their clients and hence the MLBPA, which I think has been the only brake on the MLB and MLBPA collectively deciding to completely #### the draftees
   81. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4752954)

The agents aren't on the side of the draftees; they're on the side of the agents. An "advisor" makes more from representing a fifth-round pick than from representing a third-year ML player. A draft with hard slots would eliminate many agents' main source of commissions.
   82. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4752955)
I'm surprised this hasn't happened before.


It HAS happened before, and in all prior cases where a physical abnormality was detected during the post-draft physical (Dickey, Traber, Stauffer, etc.) the player either agreed to a greatly reduced bonus or declined the offer and went back to school. No reason this should be handled any differently.

I think it is very telling that the Astros aren't reducing their offer a little, but instead reducing it to the exact lowest number that gives them a pick next year. My initial thought was that a pitcher with a significant elbow abnormality would logically be higher risk and thus worth less, but the 'Stros actions don't suggest that the matter is limited to that.


All you can really gather from that information, I think, is that the Astros would rather not run the risk of losing their first-round pick entirely, and that their valuation of a damaged Aiken is close enough to that figure to be worth offering him the minimum tender in order to remove that chance.
   83. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4752973)
It HAS happened before, and in all prior cases where a physical abnormality was detected during the post-draft physical (Dickey, Traber, Stauffer, etc.) the player either agreed to a greatly reduced bonus or declined the offer and went back to school. No reason this should be handled any differently.

"All prior cases" is an overbid. Beyond that, Aiken had already agreed to sign for well below slot.
   84. Ziggy Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4752983)
The suggestion that they drop draft pick compensation was coupled with the suggestion that they make it cash compensation, which would also put a drag on FA salaries, but (as far as I know) remove whatever reason they had for making the draft CBA-eligible.

As far as keeping it negotiated rather than risk an anti-trust challenge. Fair enough; on the other hand, what good is an anti-trust exemption if you're not going to use it? Eliminating significant signing bonuses would save each team millions of dollars a year.
   85. Ziggy Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4752987)
Actually, if getting pick 1.2 next year is conditional on making a minimum bid of $3.xyz million on Aiken, what we can conclude from their offer is that pick 1.2 plus Aiken is worth at least $3.xyz million to them. 1.2 is a really high pick, it could be that they think that Aiken is worthless but that they're willing to pay three million dollars for the second pick in next year's draft.
   86. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4752991)

If they pay the $3-plus million — i.e., if Aiken accepts the offer — then the Astros don't get the No. 2 pick. They only get it if Aiken doesn't sign.
   87. Ziggy Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4753008)
Ah, right. Then:

[[(Probability that Aiken declines the offer)*(value of 1.2 pick)]+[(probability that Aiken accepts the offer)*(value of Aiken)]] > $3.xyz million

Something like that then.
   88. Ziggy Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4753012)
And it could still be that they think that the value of Aiken is zero. So long as they think he disagrees and they value pick 1.2 highly enough.
   89. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4753022)
Beyond that, Aiken had already agreed to sign for well below slot.


So if Aiken and his adviser agree that a healthy Aiken is worth less than slot, why wouldn't a (theoretically) damaged Aiken be worth even less than that?
   90. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4753033)

If the Astros get to reduce their offer based on the medicals, why can't Aiken change his mind about signing for below slot now that he knows — thanks to various Astros people running their mouths — that he was Houston's clear preference at No. 1 all along?
   91. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4753042)
If the Astros get to reduce their offer based on the medicals, why can't Aiken change his mind about signing for below slot now that he knows — thanks to various Astros people running their mouths — that he was Houston's clear preference at No. 1 all along?

Yup. Aiken should say "pay me slot or eff-off" and sue for his immediate free agency.
   92. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4753046)
So if Aiken and his adviser agree that a healthy Aiken is worth less than slot, why wouldn't a (theoretically) damaged Aiken be worth even less than that?

He's not damaged. There's no injury. There's the hint of an increased possibility of injury; i.e. nothing.
   93. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4753059)
If the Astros get to reduce their offer based on the medicals, why can't Aiken change his mind about signing for below slot now that he knows — thanks to various Astros people running their mouths — that he was Houston's clear preference at No. 1 all along?


He certainly could, if he wants, and if he doesn't get an offer commensurate to his new demands, he can go back into the draft in three years. That's his right.
   94. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4753061)
Aiken should say "pay me slot or eff-off" and sue for his immediate free agency.


On what basis? The Astros have made the minimum offer that the CBA requires them to make.

He's not damaged. There's no injury. There's the hint of an increased possibility of injury; i.e. nothing.


And you know this because you've looked at the medical records the Astros are using to make their evaluation?
   95. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4753069)
On what basis? The Astros have made the minimum offer that the CBA requires them to make.

On the basis that they negotiated in bad faith, and tried to pressure him into taking a lower bonus based on nothing.

And you know this because you've looked at the medical records the Astros are using to make their evaluation?

If he was seriously injured, he'd take the low ball offer and not complain.

If you were hiring somebody for a job, and the week before they started work they need surgery and couldn't start work for 3 months, would you pressure them into accepting a lower salary based on the threat of cancelling the job offer?

This is even worse, because he's not actually hurt. So, it's more like the pre-employment drub screen turns up that they're diabetic, so you pressure them to take a lower salary b/c they're more likely to get sick and run up medical bills.
   96. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4753085)
On the basis that they negotiated in bad faith, and tried to pressure him into taking a lower bonus based on nothing.


Heh. Good luck with that.

If he was seriously injured, he'd take the low ball offer and not complain.


Unless he doesn't agree that the problem is as serious as the Astros think that it is. Which seems to be the case, and is entirely reasonable given that medical diagnoses are subjective.

The bottom line here is that you're making a lot of unwarranted assumptions, given that we don't have any actual evidence one way or the other.

If you were hiring somebody for a job, and the week before they started work they need surgery and couldn't start work for 3 months, would you pressure them into accepting a lower salary based on the threat of cancelling the job offer?


That's a useless comparison, since in the real workaday world there's nothing analogous to the draft. A company in a normal industry would simply pull their offer from the first worker and extend an offer for the same money to the next-best candidate.

The Astros aren't acting unreasonably here - it's just a different economic system with different rules.

This is even worse, because he's not actually hurt.


Or so you say.
   97. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4753090)
A company in a normal industry would simply pull their offer from the first worker and extend an offer for the same money to the next-best candidate.

No, an ethical company would let the offer stand, especially if the person had given notice at their previous job.
   98. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4753093)
No, an ethical company would let the offer stand, especially if the person had given notice at their previous job.


Even if the offer was explicitly contingent on the candidate passing a physical exam, as this one was?
   99. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4753096)
Even if the offer was explicitly contingent on the candidate passing a physical exam, as this one was?

If the physical showed that the person was permanently incapable of performing the job, then you could withdraw the offer.

If it's only temporary, or an increased risk, I don't think it is ethical to do so.

Aiken is ready and able to pitch today.
   100. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4753101)
If it's only temporary, or an increased risk, I don't think it is ethical to do so.


I don't necessarily agree. It depends on the severity of the potential negative consequences and the likelihood of that scenario occurring, which in turn depends on information that neither of us has.

If he's at an increased risk of injury (up to and including permanent disability) as a result of a medical condition, is it even ethical for the company to let him perform the job in the first place?

Aiken is ready and able to pitch today.


So you say.
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