Buster Olney, writing in an ESPN INSIDER piece about the Phillies’ decision to rat out a draft pick who didn’t sign with them to the NCAA for using an agent (a common practice in negotiations with college players):
It would be really, really interesting to know if the Phillies had contact with “advisers” for signed draft picks in previous seasons, but chose not to reach out to the NCAA. Major League Baseball should be asking questions about this, given the ramifications. “If this is true, it could change the way business is done,” said one agent.
If the Phillies are only targeting draft picks who chose to reject their offers and stay in college, this really is not that far removed from a form of blackmail, with Philadelphia’s future draftees perhaps believing that if they don’t sign, the Phillies could threaten their NCAA eligibility. If it’s a case of conflict between the team and particular agents — and the player has become a pawn in that conflict — then somebody should step in and do the right thing.
It’ll be interesting to hear the Phillies’ explanation for all of this, because on its face, it looks like it could be dirty pool, a case of a billion-dollar company using its power to complicate the lives of a couple of college kids it failed to sign.
The Phillies declined to comment. They’re turning into a B-level franchise before our very eyes.
H/T to Doug for the text, (@Andy__German)