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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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   101. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4753121)
So you say.

So he says.
   102. TDF, situational idiot Posted: July 17, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4753142)
So he says.
Well, sure he says that; it's worth $3.4M to him if he can make the Astros believe it.

They're negotiating. The Astros think there's some level of increased risk over what they assumed; Aiken (through Close) think that increased risk isn't worth Aiken giving up almost $3.4M. I'd be willing to bet there's a number between zero and 3.4M that both sides could live with.
   103. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4753147)
They're negotiating. The Astros think there's some level of increased risk over what they assumed; Aiken (through Close) think that increased risk isn't worth Aiken giving up almost $3.4M. I'd be willing to bet there's a number between zero and 3.4M that both sides could live with.


Yep. And if there isn't, Aiken has the potential redress of college and re-entry to the draft a few years down the road.
   104. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 17, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4753169)
So you say.

What do you mean by this? Is there any evidence whatsoever that Aiken would be heading directly to a surgeon upon signing rather than heading to the GCL? If not, then he's ready to pitch.

Yep. And if there isn't, Aiken has the potential redress of college and re-entry to the draft a few years down the road.

He can re-enter the draft next year, if he goes to a JUCO or works out on his own.
   105. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 17, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4753216)
I was thinking about 2 guys:

1; Andrew Brackman, considered a possible top 10 pick util he got hurt, was drafted in the 1st round (30 overall) by the Yankees, paid a 3.55 bonus - the fact that he was hurt and needed surgery was known at the time the Yankees drafted and signed him.

Here Aiken is not CURRENTLY hurt, he's got an unusual looking ligament.

2: RA Dickey, turned out had no UCL... offer was rescinded, later signed for peanuts

Dickey looks like a better comp than an injured guy- he wasn't hurt he just had an unusual elbow and that scared teams.

I'll throw out another guy, Octavio Dotel- had an MRI after a poor start to 2005, UCL appeared torn- so TJ surgery- it was then reported that the the UCL tear had likely happened many years earlier...
   106. cardsfanboy Posted: July 17, 2014 at 07:14 PM (#4753229)
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.


I know that agents aren't allow to accept a commission on an arby/free agent which would drop their salary below the minimum "eligible" for that particular player...I wonder if that same rule applies to agents for drafted players relative to slot...(I doubt it.) but if so then it could end up being a serious conflict of interest if an agent has two players, and instead of accepting slot for both, they negotiate a lesser deal for one(which doesn't hurt the agent) just to get a larger deal for the other. Obviously agent rules for amateurs might be different than once they reach the majors.
   107. TDF, situational idiot Posted: July 17, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4753242)
I know that agents aren't allow to accept a commission on an arby/free agent which would drop their salary below the minimum "eligible" for that particular player...I wonder if that same rule applies to agents for drafted players relative to slot...(I doubt it.) but if so then it could end up being a serious conflict of interest if an agent has two players, and instead of accepting slot for both, they negotiate a lesser deal for one(which doesn't hurt the agent) just to get a larger deal for the other. Obviously agent rules for amateurs might be different than once they reach the majors.
The water is much muddier than that, though.

Close can't be an agent (just an "advisor") for Nix and Aiken until they sign, or else they lose their amateur status (severely limiting their options, and hence their negotiating positions). So Close can't technically have a "conflict of interest", since he isn't technically representing anyone; he also isn't technically the one negotiating with the teams. Even if we all know what's going on, it has to appear this way or the players can't opt out and play in college.
   108. TDF, situational idiot Posted: July 17, 2014 at 08:05 PM (#4753249)
I was thinking about 2 guys:

1; Andrew Brackman, considered a possible top 10 pick util he got hurt, was drafted in the 1st round (30 overall) by the Yankees, paid a 3.55 bonus - the fact that he was hurt and needed surgery was known at the time the Yankees drafted and signed him.
Of course, Brackman had TJ surgery, missed his entire first year and was horrible in his 2nd season (in low A, at that). In fact, he was never very impressive and except for his 2 stints in AAA was never young for his league. I would think it's Brackman (or someone similar) that the Astros are pointing at when balking with Aikman.
   109. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 08:39 PM (#4753258)
What do you mean by this?


I mean that snapper seems awfully confident in his pronouncements about the state of Aiken's elbow, when there's no actual official information that has been released. Just rumors and speculation.
   110. cardsfanboy Posted: July 17, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4753262)
The water is much muddier than that, though.

Close can't be an agent (just an "advisor") for Nix and Aiken until they sign, or else they lose their amateur status (severely limiting their options, and hence their negotiating positions). So Close can't technically have a "conflict of interest", since he isn't technically representing anyone; he also isn't technically the one negotiating with the teams. Even if we all know what's going on, it has to appear this way or the players can't opt out and play in college.


Lol....I do not know why I find that funny, but it's funny in a ridiculous way.
   111. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 18, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4753837)

About a half-hour to go. Curious to see how this ends up.
   112. billyshears Posted: July 18, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4753870)
I was thinking about 2 guys:

1; Andrew Brackman, considered a possible top 10 pick util he got hurt, was drafted in the 1st round (30 overall) by the Yankees, paid a 3.55 bonus - the fact that he was hurt and needed surgery was known at the time the Yankees drafted and signed him.

Here Aiken is not CURRENTLY hurt, he's got an unusual looking ligament.

2: RA Dickey, turned out had no UCL... offer was rescinded, later signed for peanuts

Dickey looks like a better comp than an injured guy- he wasn't hurt he just had an unusual elbow and that scared teams.


A better example than Andrew Brackman is Jeff Hoffman, who was contender for the top pick this year, blew out his elbow, slid all the way to 10th overall and signed for slot.

This is why I reiterate my question as to whether TJ surgery would fix Aiken's elbow issue, or if there is a structural issue that can't be fixed. It just doesn't seem that needing TJ surgery seriously impacts a player's value any more.
   113. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4753899)
Callis just tweeted that he has a source saying the Astros did not sign Aiken, Nix or Marshall.

EDIT: He's added a tweet to say he has a second source confirming. Wow. I never thought it would get here.
   114. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4753907)

Total fiasco for Astros.
   115. tshipman Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4753910)
Are the Astros even trying to be a major league team at this point?
   116. billyshears Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4753913)
It seems that the Astros have allowed their inability to sign Aiken for what they view as appropriate value in the circumstance where Aiken is only able to negotiate with the Astos to prevent them from signing Aiken, Nix and Marshall for an aggregate amount substantially below what their value would be on the open market.
   117. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: July 18, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4753936)
Are they the biggest idiots ever?
   118. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 18, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4753946)
Are the Astros even trying to be a major league team at this point?

They should have their kids draft picks taken away.
   119. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:00 PM (#4753958)
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.


So any buyer changing his mind about buying a collectors car should be forced into arbitration with a panel that can force him to buy the car at a price they deem fair?

Your example misses a huge issue. The buyer isn't a private collector, it's a business. It needs to acquire this car or they can't buy any replacement car for another year and that will hurt their business significantly.


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.


If they were motivated to pay him less than he's worth why did they offer $6.5M? Why does any team sign their first round pick when they could continuously invent reasons to pay them less?

Clearly you totally whiff on the massive cost this is for the Astros. First, the difference between a first overall pick and a second overall pick is typically significant. But also, they lose a year before they can acquire a replacement. A reasonable discount rate for MLB players as assets is probably 20% per year given how short the tenure of the typical GMS is. So on the face of it, next year they are probably going to get only 70% of the value the Aiken pick was supposed to produce for them.

But even worse, they lost Nix (and it was clear they had to lose Nix if they couldn't sign Aiken, your "potentially" means you don't understand the slotting system and how onerous the penalties are for violating it). They gave up the 2 most valuable players they got in this draft. That's a huge loss of value, and makes this years draft a disaster for them. Do you really think they did that just to dick around Aiken on few million dollars?

There is no doubt if Aiken had been a free agent and had not issues in his MRI, he'd get far more than $6.5M. But given what the Astros gave up rather than pay him $6.5M, it's very clear that Aiken with his current MRI would be very unlikely to see anything near it.

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.


Wow. You really did miss every point. The point of reliability was just to provide example of how an arbitration panel may not value things in the same manner the buyer does. Why would anyone agree to an arbitration panel if it can't make a fair determination based on your value perspective? In this case, Houston's risk tolerance for arm injury risk almost certainly is far different that some random arbitration panel.
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