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Out of people he can anger here, Scott Boras looks to Japan

Jul 3, 2009, 10:03 AM EST

Scott Boras is considering something unique with Stephen Strasburg:

This summer, Boras has another high-profile client, San Diego State
pitcher Stephen Strasburg, for whom he would love nothing more than to
blow apart baseball’s draft system, allowing Strasburg to be
compensated in line with his talent–his asking price is believed to be
around $50 million–as opposed to within the parameters of the current
system, in which no player has ever received more than $10.5 million.

Even before talks began with the Washington Nationals, who made
Strasburg the first overall pick June 9, Boras was dropping hints
privately that he is preparing to explore a new frontier in his ongoing
draft-busting crusade: Japan.

The general idea — which I doubt he’d actually consider as opposed to
simply threaten in an effort to gain leverage — is to have Strasburg
sign with a Japanese team, thereby ending his status as an amateur and
making his “residency” Japan for baseball purposes, all of which Boras
believes would take Strasburg out of the draft and allow him to become
a free agent.

If I were the Nationals I’d call that bluff in a second. Japanese
baseball is already extremely bent out of shape over its biggest stars
coming to the United States to play, so I really can’t feature them
taking too kindly to being used as a negotiation prop by Scott Boras.
The only way this would work is if the Japanese agreed to waive their
usual nine-year reserve system that keeps players locked up, and have
very little faith that they would do that in Strasburg’s case.

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