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Strike could leave draft picks unsigned

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Timing, Jul 18, 2002.

  1. Timing

    Timing Member

    Jul 30, 2000
    Likes Received:

    Strike could leave draft picks unsigned
    By Allan Simpson
    July 18, 2002 http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/draft0216.html

    HOUSTON--Bracing for a late-season work stoppage, Astros owner Drayton McLane ordered his baseball staff to halt negotiations with its remaining unsigned draft choices, including the top three picks.

    McLane said the move will save, at least for the short term, about $3 million.

    The Astros budgeted $4 million to sign their draft choices and already had spent about $1 million in signing 23 picks, including fourth-round choice Mark McLemore, a lefthander from Oregon State. However, five of their top seven picks remain unsigned.

    McLane said it was his two top baseball executives, president Tal Smith and GM Gerry Hunsicker, who suggested the move. While some will see the move as short-sighted for an organization built around player development, McLane said the threat of another work stoppage has made other issues more important.

    "We all collectively agreed that if we have a strike, it's going to be about cash flow," McLane said. "It makes no sense to do anything else. We've got around 170 players in our minor league system, and if our players go on strike, all our revenue goes with them. We have to give back the ticket money, the signage money we've already collected, the naming-rights money. It all goes away. The central fund goes away because it's all based on television. Around 80 percent of it comes from the postseason."

    In the end, McLane and his staff said they hoped there'd be no work stoppage and they could return to business as usual in a few days.

    "It's not a permanent thing," Smith said. "We can change direction in a week or a month. Right now, though, we're facing different circumstances."

    Neither Astros first-round pick Derick Grigsby, out of Northeast Texas Community College, nor his advisor, Jim Turner, would comment on the decision. A friend of Grigsby's described the pitcher as "very disappointed."

    "This kid hasn't had an easy life," the friend said. "He has had a tough time recovering from the death of his mother two years ago, and he was getting his life back together. All he wants to do is go play professional baseball, and now he's confronted with this."

    McLane said he was aware of Grigsby's circumstances, adding: "We're going to be compassionate. If there's some way to help him financially, we certainly will. The main thing we need is to get a workable labor agreement in place, and then we can get back to business."

    --Richard Justice
    Houston Chronicle
  2. Major

    Major Member

    Jun 28, 1999
    Likes Received:
    This IS smart business sense. If one of the things re-negotiated in the new CBA is a rookie salary scale, this would likely benefit the Astros. There's no real risk here -- the players will still be there when the strike is over.

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