Sports Outside the Beltway

How it got done

On Wednesday, I was very down on the Orioles. It looked as if the Orioles were going to end the day without signing their #1 draft pick, catcher Matt Weiters. If that had happened, the Orioles would have forfeited their rights to Weiters.

But then word got out at the last minute that the Orioles had reached an agreement with Weither’s at a price less than what his “advisor” Scott Boras said he was insisting on. So not only did the Orioles enjoy a thrilling victory on Wednesday, they possibly landed the future of their franchise.

One element of the signing that I found interesting was a comment by the Orioles’ director of scouting, Joe Jordan.

“They got the deal done,” said an elated Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan. “You can tell the city of Baltimore that the old evil owner stepped up and took care of things tonight. We had to fight to the end.”

I read the comment that Jordan was speaking with his tongue in cheek. It was, I thought, a healthy acknowledgment that Orioles management understood how poorly it was perceived by the fan base and that it was now going to work to repair that relationship.

Some of my fellow bloggers were not so pleased with the statement.
Oriole Post:

I’m proud that the Baltimore Orioles signed Matt Wieters, beat Boras, and scored a major coup, and I commend the team on doing so, but it is to be expected — isn’t it?

We all want to beat our chests and cry out to the sky when we do something good, but in the manner that Mr. Jordan did it in?

Absolutely not. He sounds so ornery and cock full of himself, it’s not funny and very insulting to the people left who come out and support the team.

Inside Charm City :

Jordan is obviously taking a dig at Angelos detractors and it comes across as petty and vindictive on a night when you’d think mature members of the front office staff would have the sense to talk up the good news that occurred instead of taking pot-shots at people who pay their salaries through ticket sales.

According to this account in the Sun it appears that Boras’s original contract demands were higher than he expected to get for Weiters.

MacPhail, in Toronto, and owner Peter Angelos spoke by phone with Boras. Meanwhile, Jordan and his administrative assistant, Marcy Zerhusen, worked and worried from the third floor of the B&O warehouse, maintaining dialogue with one of Boras’ representatives while staying in contact with MacPhail.

“There were a lot of things going on, just trying to gather information and see where we were,” Jordan said. “In the end, it came together quickly. Marcy and I high-fived each other.

“From about 7 o’clock on, it seemed like every 15 or 20 minutes we were getting updates from Major League Baseball, as far as signings. As close as it was getting to the deadline, you could just see there was a pecking order. And as much as we’re trying to push this thing along, it’s not going to happen.”

Not until other first-rounders reached agreements, including Kansas City’s Mike Moustakis at No. 2 and the Chicago Cubs’ Josh Vitters at No. 3 – leaving Wieters as the last domino to fall.

“I don’t think, in these kinds of situations, that you really know if it’s going to happen,” Boras said. “The way these contracts work, it’s a fair deal for everyone. Skill-wise, this is an important signing for the Baltimore Orioles.”

Boras said he told the Orioles that Wieters would consider signing if they agreed to pay him the net present value of the contract for high school pitcher Rick Porcello, another Boras client who received a four-year major league deal from the Detroit Tigers, as the 27th pick, worth $7 million, including a $3.58 million bonus.

Baseball musings links
to Sports Agent Blog arguing (I think) that the earlier deadline keeps salaries in line, but that those who sign the latest still end up maximizing the salary and bonuses they’ll earn.

Different Rules same outcome Rany Jazayerli explains why the new rules don’t change the likelihood that a “tough sign” will still drop to one of the better teams later in the draft.

Ken Rosenthal argues that drafting well (and even overpaying for a high draft pick) can change around a team’s fortunes and is, surprisingly, a cost effective way of improving. Jayson Stark, though, argued that more often than not high draft picks are busts.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad.

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