Bobby Seay – 2009 Upper Deck
February 21, 2011
Be Careful What You Wish For
Scott Boras has done a lot of good for some of his clients, but some of his ideas have derailed his clients careers, and his emulators have really done some damage.
Bobby Seay is one of those who arguably was hurt by Boras’ tactics.
Seay was drafted in the first round in 1996, but Seay, Travis Lee, Matt White and John Patterson were all declared free agents because Boras found loopholes in how they were tendered contracts. It was all very much minutiae and technicalities but it made Seay and the other three a lot of money because they were top draftee prospects.
What happened, of course, is that they were paid bonuses out of alignment with any other rational measure, and gave a false value to their talents. Of course, one could argue that they were paid what the market would bear, but Boras has always been able to get teams to overpay for his clients.
It could be said that the Matt Harrington debacle was inspired by the inflated value given to these players.
At any rate, White never made the bigs, Lee was a disappointment, Patterson had injury issues, and Seay basically became a LOOGY.
Don’t get me wrong, LOOGYs have their place, but I don’t think that when Seay was drafted the were expecting that he’d just be a generic lefty reliever.
There was a lot of pressure on Seay to recoup his big bonus that the Devil Rays gave him after he became a free agent. There is always pressure on high draft picks, but Seay had a target on his back. Yet, he seemed to be doing OK. By 2000, he was in AA and had a decent year in Orlando.
But the injuries hit, and with that any chance Seay had to become a star lefty starter. Also, the Devil Rays may have not been such a well-run organization. After his 2000, he was back in Orlando in 2001 and then was called up even though his stats were pedestrian (I think they may have been contractually obligated to call him up, though I don’t know for sure). He never was in Tampa Bays’ plans again, though he was called up a couple of times before being traded to Colorado in 2005.
He then started his parade around the baseball world.
Now, after a couple of years in Detroit, he’s hurt again and a free agent. That’s not a good combination.
We’ll never know what would have happened if Seay had taken the White Sox’ offer and reported there. But what happened is that baseball started to pay attention to the little things on minor league contracts to stop such shenanigans.
And that can’t be all bad.
(BTW, are you proud of me? I didn’t reference the odious hit by Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson…just think about it. You’ll be happy I didn’t link to it….)