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Why did No. 9 pick Karsten Whitson turn down $2.1 million from the Padres?

Nov 11, 2010, 5:15 PM EDT

karson whitson

Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports has an interesting article about Karsten Whitson, a right-handed pitcher who was the ninth overall pick in June’s draft and turned down a $2.1 million offer to sign with the Padres in order to attend the University of Florida.

The short version is that Whitson questioned whether he was truly ready to be a professional baseball player and also wanted the college experience at Florida. The long version is much more complicated than that and definitely worth reading.

From a financial standpoint I think it’s tough to argue that Whitson didn’t make a mistake. His odds of getting more than $2.1 million when eligible to be drafted again in 2013 are significantly lower than his odds of getting less than $2.1 million, and in the meantime there’s always the risk of serious injury or poor performance that could leave him with relatively little.

From a personal standpoint it’s a lot tougher to pass judgment, particularly since–based on what he told Rogers, at least–Whitson seems very pleased with his decisions so far.

  1. Richard In Big D - Nov 12, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    An important factor in the decision making process, and the financial threshold for going pro vs. going to school is the player’s family’s financial situation. If the family has substantial money, going to college might be the smarter thing to do. If the family is a bunch of working stiffs just getting by, how do you turn down that kind of cash? If a kid gets a new $40,ooo car for his 16th birthday, gets a $100 a week allowance, and daddy’s Visa card to keep his wardrobe current and his dates happy, money is probably not going to be a motivating factor. If, on the other hand, his $20 allowance doesn’t even keep gas in his Pinto, and his wardrobe is limited to when the Goodwill Store has a clearance sale, $100,000 can be a life changing amount of cash. Didn’t see that issue addressed in the article, and it’s something to consider…

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 12, 2010 at 10:23 AM

      Because you kill the romance factor by stating these obvious facts Richard.

  2. schlom - Nov 12, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Well, I think the simplest explanation is that the Padres offer of $2.1m was a significant lowball offer (compared to what other high school pitchers of similar perceived value and draft position were getting) so he turned it down to attempt to get more money. When that wasn’t forthcoming he went to college instead. This seems like spinning more than anything else.

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