Sunday, May 29, 2005

Weaver Watch Ends Monday

Angels first round pick Jared Weaver was scheduled to start a simulated game for the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League on Saturday and his agent, Scott "El Diablo" Boras stated that the former Long Beach State 49er could make another appearance next week.

The LA Times reported that "about 20 teams" were expected to attend the simulated game and that Angels GM Bill Stoneman was "unaware" of the game. The Times further reported that Boras is asking for $5.5 million in a minor league contract or $6 million plus $750,000 in "appearance bonuses" in a major league deal. The Angels have offered $4 million in a minor league contract or $5.25 million for a major league contract. So roughly $1.5 million is separating the two parties with both having said they have submitted "final" offers.

In my opinion Stoneman must stand his ground or he will lose face with all future negotiations. When he says "final" he has got to mean it. You can make a similar case for Boras but if Weaver directs him to accept the deal then he will have no choice but to acquiesce to his clients demand. Clearly this entire deals falls on Weaver's shoulders and he would be wise to accept for a number of reasons. If he goes back into the draft he could end up being drafted by a less desirable team (call Mike Sweeney for some insight here). In addition there is the remote chance of injury. How would it look if in the middle of throwing a simulated game his elbow pops and he is faced with Tommy John surgery before signing a contract? He would then be looking at a severely discounted deal that would keep him out of the majors until 2007 at the very earliest.

In order to save face Stoneman could offer an extra incentive clause (like leading the AL in strikeouts) that would reward Weaver for hitting a highly unlikely goal. But even so, Stoneman would still risk losing some credibility in future negotiations.

Hopefully these stubborn individuals come to an agreement that results in the Angels signing him in the next 24 hours. If not, the Angels can always select Stephen Drew. Another Boras client and first-round pick of the Diamondbacks who is also holding out and is a teammate of Weaver's on the Riversharks. Perhaps the D-Backs could take a flyer on Weaver and these guys might get to play for the Riversharks for quite awhile.

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