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The MLBPA is looking into the Ben Wetzler case

Feb 26, 2014, 4:44 PM EDT

Tony Clark AP

Last week it was revealed that the Phillies reported Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler to the NCAA for using an agent in negotiations with the Phillies after being drafted last summer. Wetzler was suspended for 20 percent of his senior year as a result. The Phillies have received considerable backlash from the report, as reporting the use of agents by amateurs is highly irregular among major league teams.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the MLBPA is looking into the matter. Quotes from union president Tony Clark:

“The interest is the same we would have in the draft in general,” Clark said. “These guys are connected to our institution. We have some input to the rules and the dynamics (of the draft) and that’s why anything related to it we have a concern about it or a commitment to pay attention to it.

“To that extent, we are gathering information as we speak. Yes, we are concerned. Based on what we find out will determine what, if anything, lends itself to further discussion, but we are concerned enough to be inquiring.”

I’m glad someone is inquiring, though it remains to be seen what if anything the union could do about it. Yes, they have input on the draft. But they have also routinely sold out players subject to the draft in exchange for furthering the interests of major leaguers. That’s why there’s slotting now. If the MLBPA truly advocated for draftees, they would have never agreed to that.

The real danger here is teams using threats of reporting players to the NCAA in order to coerce them to sign on unfavorable terms. That’s something Major League Baseball should be looking into, not just the MLBPA.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Feb 26, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Who is that in the picture? Billy Joel?

    • halladaysbiceps - Feb 26, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      It is Billy Joel!

  2. rcj22001 - Feb 26, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    If Im a guy looking to be drafted, and the Phillies call to ask me about my ‘signability’, I tell them ‘fat chance’ or 0% in numerical terms.

  3. holleywood9 - Feb 26, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    The NCAA letting players negotiate contracts with mlb without agents on their side is something that should be reexamined.

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      I hate the NCAA, but I’ll say this
      They usually look the other way on this, because they know they haven’t a leg to stand on.

      It’s only when the Phillies come along and points at a player and “Him, He’s the one you want! and and we have another too!” does the NCAA take action and attempts to enforce a rule they know they don’t want to see in a courtroom.

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:15 PM

        Meant this reply for the post below

  4. themanytoolsofignorance - Feb 26, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    It would be nice if someone chopped the NCAA off at the knees

    • Old Gator - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:49 PM

      It would be nice if they chopped them off at the larynx.

  5. js20011041 - Feb 26, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    While I’m glad that the MLBPA is looking into this, it seems a little hypocritical at this point. They didn’t care about the draftees when they decided to screw them by agreeing to a cap on signing bonuses.

  6. historiophiliac - Feb 26, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    I hope they get creative and can find some way to assure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again, but this is one of those things that kind of falls between the purviews of the two organizations. I don’t think the MLBPA couldn’t help the kid. I don’t know that they can get an agreement that’s binding on the teams. I think that would welcome a lawsuit from the NCAA. It may just have to be informally enforced.

    • 4cornersfan - Feb 26, 2014 at 8:31 PM

      I doubt that the NCAA would get involved. A judge might look at a scholarship provision that denies somebody legal or business advice in signing a long-term contract as overreaching and void. The NCAA’s scholarship arrangement is starting to look pretty one-sided and shaky anyway. The schools make millions without providing a living wage to the players and can void their scholarships if they decide to cut them off of the team.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        They could address it without bringing up the scholarship issue. If MLB and the MLBPA made an agreement refusing to inform or cooperate with an NCAA investigation, I’m pretty sure the NCAA would try to do something about it.

      • bsbiz - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:49 AM

        The scholarship arangement has always been pretty one sided and shaky. People are just now noticing more.

  7. angrytwitterguy - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    NCAA was fully aware that Scott Boras represented Mark Appel and many others as an “advisor” and even they pretended he really isn’t an agent.

    The Pirates couldn’t get Appel signed, he returned to Stanford and nobody said a word.

    And along comes the Phillies…..

  8. righthandofjustice - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    “The real danger here is teams using threats of reporting players to the NCAA in order to coerce them to sign on unfavorable terms. That’s something Major League Baseball should be looking into, not just the MLBPA.”

    This “real danger” is exactly what MLB (and NFL, NBA, etc in the same respect) want. Almost every NCAA player will ask the question why he can’t hire an agent but not the professional sport leagues because the later want to keep the future players under their full control, no ifs, ands, or buts.

    Remember, under the baseball rule, an MLB player cannot seek advice from a doctor not employed by his team without the team’s permission. That’s against the player’s civil right as much as an NCAA player is not allowed to hire an agent. But nobody question MLB’s motive in granting the teams’ ultimate tool to manipulate the medical records of their players.

    I am not surprised someday news about collusion between NCAA and professional sports will surface.

  9. octom - Feb 27, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    The kid is not a union member – they will do nothing outside of a press release. The NCAA should change its rule..and everybody that would not sign with the Phillies (or any other team ) think of sitting with a wad of cash on the table and risking injury your last season as a college player. Money talks.

    • righthandofjustice - Feb 27, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      The “advisors” are talking about not sending the Phillies any information of their clients. Without any scouting reports to look at, the Phillies can (1) blindly sign anybody they have no information on, (2) sign nobody or (3) secretly bribe other teams to get the reports they need but this is against the rules.

      The chance is the clients of these disgruntled “advisors” will be drafted by teams other than the Phillies. They are sitting out the season risking injuries.

      • righthandofjustice - Feb 27, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        They are *NOT* sitting out the season risking injuries. The Phillies will be the blind ones shooting darts at nothing.

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