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Potential first-round pick Karsten Whitson out for season following shoulder procedure

Feb 14, 2013, 8:04 PM EDT

You may remember right-hander Karsten Whitson, who was drafted ninth overall by the Padres in 2010 before turning down $2.1 million to attend the University of Florida. It turns out that his gamble might not pay off.

Per Aaron Fitt of Baseball America, Florida baseball head athletic trainer Pat Hassell announced yesterday that Whitson would miss the start of the season due to continued shoulder fatigue. The exact nature of today’s procedure isn’t yet known, but Whitson’s father, Kent Whitson, told Rogers that his son’s rehab process will take about four months.

While Whitson enjoyed a strong freshman season, forearm tendinitis limited him to just 33 innings last year and he was forced to leave the Cape Cod League after three innings due to shoulder stiffness. Still, the potential was there for him to be a first-round pick this year. He’ll likely draw interest from MLB teams even after today’s procedure, but Whitson’s father says his son is “fully prepared” to return to Florida as a redshirt junior if things don’t work out.

The Padres took second baseman Cory Spangenberg in 2011 as a compensation pick for failing to sign Whitson. The speedy 21-year-old batted .271/.324/.352 in 98 games last season with High-A Lake Elsinore and was ranked as the organization’s No. 7 prospect by Baseball America last month.

UPDATE: Good news. According to Aaron Fitt of Baseball America, Whitson didn’t have any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff and Dr. James Andrews was able to locate and repair an impingement that was causing discomfort.

  1. thebadguyswon - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    I don’t get the decisions these kids make sometimes. How in the HELL do you turn down $2.1 million dollars to play a kid’s game. Who told him that was a good idea?

    • paperlions - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      I don’t get the posts of these commenters sometimes. How the HELL do you criticize players for always taking the most money to play a kid’s game and at the same time criticize other players for NOT always taking the most money. Who told them this was logically consistent?

      • thebadguyswon - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        Ooooo. I can feel your righteous indignation.

      • thebadguyswon - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:02 PM

        My point is… does an 18-year-old boy turn down that money? To go to college?? If you accept the offer, you enter the professional world immediately where more qualified coaches will help you improve your game. They are also going to monitor your workload, something college programs are notorious for not doing.

        Going to college puts needless mileage on your arm all for the chance to get a better offer in two years. And then look what happens to guys like Whitson. Now, he has a legitimate chance of never being the same. And he sure as hell won’t get offered that kind of money again.

      • paperlions - Feb 15, 2013 at 7:34 AM

        Well, then you are imagining both the righteousness and the indignation. I was just making fun of the stupidity of the attitude that you always take the money.

        People are quite good at lying to themselves and even better at lying about future options of others. Yes, he possibly could have gone to college later, but 1) he wouldn’t be able to play baseball and perhaps that was important to him, 2) going back to school is not the same social experience as going with your cohort, and 3) few people go back to school once they’ve left and lived a different style of life.

        When people make hindsight comments like your they ignore the fact that the vast majority of guys that do not sign and go to school do better when they are drafted later.

      • ryanrockzzz - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        Yea……i would have taken the money. College experience, ballplaying and all can be thrown aside for a chance to have financial security. That however, obviously was not as important to him as what he had in college. So gotta admire the makeup of the kid, hopefully he can come back strong one day.

    • brsinai - Mar 23, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      Obviously, it wasn’t the kid’s decision. The story is quite intriguing and it seems that the gamble didn’t pay off, rumored holdout for 2.6 mil. Sometimes it is about the money. Even with a degree, it would take quite awhile for someone to make 2.1 million, and one can always head back to school if an athletic career pulls up short.

  2. icanspeel - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    I wonder if the Padres are happy he didn’t sign now.. Sure he could easily recover, but still.. early signs of injury doesn’t exactly excite teams.

  3. breastfedted - Feb 15, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    He could have always gone to college during the offseason with that 2.1 million. What a dumbass!

    • flosox - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:53 AM


      People go to college so that they can work 40 years in hopes of saving up $2.1MM to retire. If i’m offered $2.1MM upfront to work a job, i’m taking it! Cuz, once you have it, they can’t take it. As breastfedted said, you can always go to school later.

  4. hermie13 - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Had he not gotten hurt he could have been a top 5 pick possibly and gotten more than $2.1M. still could if he stays in school and bounces back from this. A definite risk but players have taken it in the past and its worked out.

  5. brianabbe - Feb 15, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I wouldn’t say it’s a risk that players have taken in the past that has worked out. Sure, you can point to Gerrit Cole turning down the Yankees in 2008 and getting drafted #1 in 2011, but his HS bonus offer for an end of the first round player wasn’t nearly as high as Whitson’s likely was. I concede that there is no way to know for sure, but odds are San Diego probably offered quite a bit more to their 2009 #9 pick than New York did at 2008 #28 considering position and annual inflation. There are plenty of examples, but I’m struggling to come up with top 10 picks who have turned that down. If you turn down $500,000 or even a million, that’s not nearly as risky as turning down over $2 million. That’s a pretty fair assessment.

  6. gloccamorra - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Whitson had an informal agreement with the Padres for the $2.1 million. He got an advisor who tried to hold up the Padres for more money a half-hour before deadline, and you don’t pull that trick on former agent Jeff Moorad, who as Padres CEO pulled the offer. Whitson listened to the wrong people and blew it, big time.

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