A day after the Nationals made Boras client Stephen Strasburg the No. 1 pick in the draft, Boras laid out some of the reasons he believes that Strasburg is no ordinary draft pick, and thus should not be paid like one.
"I don't think you need me to say it, but obviously Stephen falls into that class of players really not associated with the inherent [risk] elements of the draft," Boras said Wednesday morning. "They are just players who happen to be available, whether that be through free agent or posting means. They just have extraordinary ability."
That was Boras' first public salvo in negotiations with the Nationals, suggesting that he will not not be looking toward decorated college pitchers like Mark Prior or Jered Weaver for comps, but toward pitchers like Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Boras said the Japanese major leagues really aren't all that major -- "Japanese baseball is not remotely comparable to the major leagues" -- which would help make his point that there is a precedent for paying $50 million or more to a pitcher who has never pitched in the majors.
The Nationals, of course, are going to suggest otherwise. The Japanese majors may not be our majors, but they aren't the Mountain West Conference either, where Strasburg has done his work.
Boras also suggested that there is nothing that unusual with viewing a certain player outside the normal boundaries associated with American amateur players.
"The idea of an extraordinary player receiving a substantial bonus high above other draft picks has happened before with Ben McDonald, Mark Teixeira, J.D. Drew. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen."
"The reality of it is, if you look at the players who have gotten $5 million or more, since 1998, and evaluate all of them, you can see the scouting system of major league baseball is extraordinary," Boras said. "They don't give out that money unless those players are very good. Every one of them has made the major leagues...
"The risk factors are extremely low. Frankly, the risk factors are zero."
Boras did not specifically address the possibility of Strasburg playing in an independent league or in Japan if he was unable to reach an agreement with the Nationals. The two sides must reach an agreement by Aug. 17, or the Nationals would lose the rights to Strasburg.
"Whenever you are drafted by a major league team, your focus throughout the negotiation is 99 percent of the time you are going to reach an agreement and sign the athlete," he said. "If that does not happen, obviously you would then look at all the available resources one would have to evaluate what the next step is, which would include another draft or alternative places the player would perform."
When Boras was asked if this case was one likely to fall into that "99 percent," he said: "I would say in our history of the hundreds of entry-level contracts we've done, it's a rare case the deal does not get done."
However, later in the conversation, when Boras was saying that he would not be demanding a specific big-league promotion for Strasburg, he said: "Whether Stephen performs in the major leagues or not would be determined by the team that signs him."
He said he was excited to be picked by the Nationals, but he was ready to take a week off from training and "get a little vacation, just relax this summer and have fun."
"I threw 109 innings this college season so I think it would be good to have this little rest time, especially after the big workload I had this previous year. I think it will be a good summer to lift and get stronger and have the summer I haven't had in a while."