Alan Schwarz at Baseball America recently shared a chat with Mark Teixeira regarding the baseball draft. I thought this part was very interesting:
AS: Then again, it kind of backfired on you. You wanted to sign out of high school, but teams got the impression you weren’t signable, and you fell to the ninth round.
MT: I thought I wanted to sign. The day of the draft I realized that I didn’t. I realized that I wasn’t ready to go into professional baseball. I wanted to go to college. I thought as a young, naive, 18-year-old, because I played well and because I was honest with everybody, I would just be a first-round pick, million bucks, and start my career. Because of the way things occurred, it occurred to me–you know what? I don’t want to be a professional baseball player, I do want to go to college. It really was a blessing in disguise.
AS: But the Red Sox offered you $1.5 million before the draft, which was pretty darned fair in 1998.
MT: They said take it or leave it. It was a decent bonus, but it wasn’t what we were looking for, and we didn’t want to cap our negotiation before the draft even happened. It’s unfair and illegal to go to a kid and say, “We haven’t drafted you yet, we may or may not draft you, but if you don’t take 1.5 we’re not going to draft you.” What would you say? There’s 29 other teams out there–why would I ever cap myself before the draft even happens? It doesn’t make any sense. It’s unfair to those kids. Say, “Draft me and I’ll let you know.”
I have a very cynical approach toward the draft. I was naive. It was my first realization to the business in baseball. The Red Sox told everybody that I wouldn’t sign, and when it got to a late enough round, they said, “Let’s take a flier on him.” So they spoiled me for everyone else–the only one that would draft me was them.
Note that last part: The Red Sox told everybody that I wouldn’t sign, and when it got to a late enough round, they said, “Let’s take a flier on him.” So they spoiled me for everyone else–the only one that would draft me was them.
Boy, those Red Sox, they’re a first class group, huh? It’s too bad that the MLBPA didn’t go after them on this. Then again, they couldn’t – since Teixeira would not be part of the union at that time. At best, his agent would have to be the one to make the protest – and, where would that have gone?
Well, maybe, at least, if Teixeira ever becomes a Free Agent, perhaps he will remember all this and tell Boston to take a leap.