UPDATE: Phillies Turn in Unsigned Draft Picks to NCAA – Phillies Nation

UPDATE: Phillies Turn in Unsigned Draft Picks to NCAA

UPDATE, 2/22/2014, 12:18 PM:

And according to CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, that’s all the Phillies will be saying about Ben Wetzler:




UPDATE, 2/22/2014, 12:07 PM:

According to multiple sources, the Phillies have released the following statement regarding the situation:

“The Phillies did participate in the NCAA investigation and a ruling has been issued. We believe it is inappropriate to comment further on either the negotiation with the player or the action taken by the NCAA.” 

(H/t Chris Branch, Matt Gelb)


2/20/2014, 8:21 AM:

This one is, well, bizarre. The Phillies have reportedly turned in Oregon State LHP Ben Wetzler into the NCAA for using an agent during last year’s signing process. Wetzler, the Phillies fifth-round pick, chose to return to the Beavers for his senior campaign in 2014. The news was first reported by Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt in a series of tweets:



In what is sort of a now open secret, most amateur players likely to be drafted work with agents as “draft-day consultants” to skirt around hiring an agent. This is a practice that has been established for years and Wetzler is not the first nor will be the last to do it but Wetzler was hit with an indefinite suspension for it. The Phillies have also reportedly attempted to turn in Washington State outfielder/first baseman Jason Monda but Monda was cleared to play by the NCAA this Thursday.

This may hurt the Phillies’ ability to sign players in the upcoming drafts. Scout’s Kiley McDaniel says it has broken any trust the Phillies may have had with amateur players and Jim Callis of Baseball America says it will give amateur players a pause before dealing with the Phillies.



  1. mudmin

    February 20, 2014 at 8:43 am

    I was just thinking that our farm system was way too overstocked and we’d have to outright players just to draft new ones. It’s a mess. We’re much better off just keeping the minor league players we have now or just letting the A’s take them.

    Who would I have to talk to in order to make sure that every draft pick gets a Scott Boras business card in their welcome packet?

  2. Vinnie

    February 20, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I’m going to get some flack for this… but if a player wants to continue playing college ball, why did they enter the draft?

    • Alex M.

      February 20, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Its not like the NFL, in baseball if a player is eligible they can be drafted there is no “entering” the draft…..

  3. mudmin

    February 20, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I think there are a number of factors…

    1. You’re testing the waters to see where you really would come out, which could vary widely from year to year based on the organizations’ depths and perceived needs.

    2. If you’re a fan of a particular team or have a short list of teams you’d REALLY like to play for, by entering the draft over multiple years you have a much better shot of winding up where you really want to go. Don’t forget the team that drafts and signs you pretty much owns you for a long time for very little money.

    3. It’s a way to test to see if you’d be drafted at all…to get an idea of the process…and possibly have more input/knowledge from MLB teams of what you need to work on in the upcoming years.

  4. Mary

    February 20, 2014 at 9:45 am

    If a player enters the draft and is picked for a team, he should either go to the team, or have to sit out the entire next year. MLB teams are businesses and being jerked around by kids “feeling out the system” is not acceptable.

    • mudmin

      February 20, 2014 at 9:52 am

      I love the idea… the only problem is that there is no “default” salary based on draft pick position.

      If, say all 10th round players got $40,000 per year, that would be simple. In our free market draft there is really only a recommended value for the draft slots, but the players are free to demand more.

      So, regardless of their reasons (say if you grew up a Phils fan and got drafted by the Braves and just refused to ever wear a Braves uniform), you could simply say the salary offered was not enough and take you chances next year.

      By forcing the player to sit out, you’re putting the player at a huge bargaining disadvantage.

      The only “fair” way to do it would be that you get your salary based on draft slot and the player could take it or leave it…but be penalized for not taking it by losing a year of eligibility….but no one in the union would call that “fair.”

      • Geoff

        February 20, 2014 at 10:37 am

        It would also be difficult to have a take it or lose a year of eligibility as the NCAA and MLB are in not linked in a business relationship. The MLB cannot make a rule that would impact NCAA eligibility. It’s not impossible but extremely unlikely that the NCAA would go for something like that as it would gain nothing and face losing some of their talent.

      • mudmin

        February 20, 2014 at 10:48 am

        Sorry…MLB First Year Player Draft eligibility, not NCAA playing eligibility.

  5. Alex M.

    February 20, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I honestly have no problem with what the Phillies did, from the day they drafted Wetzler it seemed like he was a guaranteed signing. Also he was the highest pitcher they took and if they were told he would sign that was a major jab toward the Phils. Wetzler was a player the Phillies really needed, without him there are very few pieces in the lower Phillies minor league system pitching wise and Wetzler was a prospect they were counting on.

    • Mark

      February 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Since when are 5th round draft picks guaranteed signings? Regardless, so the Phillies can’t come to terms with this draft pick and their response is to rat him out and affect his college playing career? This is a kid we’re talking about who’s only leverage with any team drafting him was his ability to return to school. The organization has been pretty inept since Amaro took over. Now you can add petty to the list. What a joke.

      • Alex M.

        February 20, 2014 at 9:25 pm

        Do you follow the draft and post draft process? If you did you would have known that Wetzler was reported as close to a deal and a basic lock to sign. Going into a draft a team has a strategy of who to draft and how to spend money, clearly the Phils were banking on Wetzler signing and they likely had heard from him in advance that he would sign. Why else would they take him over better pitchers like Bobby Wahl, Buck Farmer, Dustin Driver and others? Because they knew they were told they could sign him for X amount and that would allow them to save money to sign Crawford, Knapp, Sandberg and Hernandez. I am a big proponent of keeping your word and it seems like in this situation Wetzler did not keep his word. This could really hurt the Phils because looking at this draft they have only one or two pitching prospects none of which are really impressive, Wetzler would have given then a very solid prospect with back of the rotation MLB potential.

    • Mark

      February 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Regardless if this was a guaranteed signing (which are far and few between in the 5th round), my point still stands. If the allegations are true, it’s completely petty and vindictive on the Phillies part and serves no purpose. So negotiations broke down. News flash – this happens all the time.

    • mudmin

      February 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      The comments on that article are wonderful. You’d think we all here at the PN are throwing batteries and snowballs at each other while barfing on other people’s kids.

  6. wbramh

    February 20, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Forgive my near-total ignorance on this subject, but…

    Am I correct in assuming that unlike basketball and football, the team that drafts a player in any one year doesn’t retain those rights if the player chooses not to sign with them?

    If all a team loses in the gambit is time (unless the player eventually chooses another profession) it seems an awkward practice but not quite as crazy. If on the other hand the drafting team loses its claim on the player AND its draft position if the player won’t sign… well, that’s insane. At the very least, if another team eventually signs the player the original drafter should be paid compensation with additional penalties assessed. Even then it can’t offset the loss of talent unless the club that finally drafts the player has a higher draft pick to surrender (and that’s unlikely if players are choosing their teams).

    It seems the draft could more closely resemble free agency with the monied teams winning out in the long run should they choose to exercise their financial clout and not adhere to some loose gentleman’s agreement on signing bonus dollars.

    Considering the fact that the draft is the only equalizer for distribution of talent, do any real safeguards exist for the “less desirable” teams? If not, what those meanie Phillies did could evolve into a welcome test case that other scorned teams in the league would quickly want to emulate.

    • Gavvy Cravath

      February 20, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      They receive a compensatory sixth rounder for not coming to terms with Wetzler. There’s absolutely nothing to gain for “turning him in” and it will only hurt them in the future when dealing with other draftees.

      • Vinnie

        February 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm

        How does it hurt them in the future with other draftees?

      • CBP

        February 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm

        the Phillies dont receive anything. Only the first 3 rounds are protected picks

      • schmenkman

        February 20, 2014 at 2:24 pm

        Right, CBP. I understand that 131 college players were selected in the non-protected rounds 4-9.

        Only three of the 131 didn’t sign: these two, plus a “courtesy” pick in the 8th round. The Phillies must have had some indication they would sign.

    • Alex M.

      February 20, 2014 at 10:07 pm


      The way the draft works is there are certain groups of individuals that can become eligible for the draft. Here are the requirements from mlb.com
      1. High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college;
      2. College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old; and
      3. Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed

      So its not like a player declares interest, and it would be unfair if a high school player really wanted to go to college and be penalized if he is drafted….

      The way the draft works is every team gets a pick in each round and they can only lose picks in the early rounds if they sign a player that is tied to pick compensation. Teams are also not allowed to spend recklessly, each team is given a budget based on position in the draft. However teams can use that budget however they deem necessary. Unlike the NFL or NBA draft teams do not always pick the best player when they are on the clock. Its a game of strategy, for example the Royals this past season drafted Hunter Dozier with the 8th pick and by doing so saved money for Sean Manaea who was their 2nd round pick who slid due to injuries but was much more talented than Dozier. Not only that players can be picked very late due to questions of signability or talent, example the Phillies drafted Cavan Biggio in the 29th round and he was arguably the 3rd most talented player they drafted.

      It is all a game of strategy and the reason the Phillies were frustrated with Wetzler is they took him over better players because of his signability and his likely lower price that would help them to sign Sandberg, Hernandez and Trey Williams.

  7. Lefty

    February 20, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    You will have to excuse my ignorance, just catching up. This is the first I’ve read of this and haven’t had a chance to look further in to it.

    How does Aaron Fitt know this to be true? Because the players told him? Is that credible evidence?

  8. Mike in NJ

    February 20, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Sounds like something this incompetent FO would do. How effin petty is that?!? How is this going to effect future negotiations with draftees and/or agents? If he signed with them, I bet he doesn’t get turned in…

    Why would you expect a 20 year old with no knowledge of negotiating a pro sports contract to not have an agent in the first place? What kind of stupid rule is that?

    • Double Trouble Del

      February 21, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Because he retained an agent, do you think?

      • Double Trouble Del

        February 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm

        Why are you automatically assuming the culpability of the Philles front office? Do you think they haven’t operated under the same “wink wink” draft paradigm before? I suspect it was the agent thinking he could blackmail the team after a preliminary agreement had been reached that led to this unusual action.

  9. George

    February 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I, for one, will not pass judgement on this until ALL the facts are in. A few of possibilities come to mind:

    1. Maybe it WASN’T the Phils that turned these guys in, and the team name came up because some reporter assumed that the Phils were the culprit because they had a “sour grapes” response to the player’s decisions to go to college.

    2. Maybe these two players actually hired agents long term instead of just for draft consultation. In that case, they should be suspended according to NCAA rules.

    I’m certain that this entire report, being only a day old, isn’t the whole story. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop before I’ll make blanket claims of “petty front office,” or call anyone names, or say how this will affect future drafts.

    3. Maybe the two players had agreed to sign, then their respective agents stepped in and demanded bigger bonuses.

  10. Gavvy Cravath

    February 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    @aaronfitt – “Hearing from one agent after another today about the Ben Wetzler situation. There will be repercussions for the Phillies.”

    “One agent: “As of today, Phillies are out. Phillies are not getting into any more of our households. We’re shutting down all communications”

    @Buster_ESPN – “Amaro: No comment on NCAA situation, because of investigation. That’s amusing; Phillies aren’t being investigated.”

    “Phillies are free to comment, because NCAA is investigating a college kid now, not the Phillies.”

    “If the Phillies — a billion-dollar company — actually decided to attack a college kid’s eligibility, they should explain why.”

    • schmenkman

      February 20, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Yeah — a little early for all of that.

    • schmenkman

      February 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      Yep. Way too early.

  11. Publius

    February 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Pretty cool to see the knee-jerk reactionism here trying to defend some pretty indefensible actions by Rube & Co. These kids didn’t do anything different than literally any other potential draftee, and Rube instead threw a hissyfit and ratted them out to the NCAA in an attempt to create future negotiating leverage. Like all things this man does, it backfired terribly and now he’s scrambling.

    • schmenkman

      February 20, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      No. We don’t know happened yet here. Did the Phillies report them unprompted, or were they asked? And they reported them unprompted, why did they wait four months? There is lots we don’t know yet, and what’s “cool” is the kneejerk reaction to bash them with woefully incomplete information.

      • schmenkman

        February 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm

        *And _if_ they reported them unprompted…

      • Publius

        February 20, 2014 at 10:57 pm

        The NCAA doesn’t “prompt” this kind of thing because it is just simply assumed to go on and just tacitly accepts this. Multiple sources have confirmed that the Phillies reported this poor kid to the NCAA. There is literally no good way to spin this, but keep trying schmenkman

      • schmenkman

        February 20, 2014 at 11:04 pm

        “this poor kid” — come on. He hired an agent, indicated he would sign, and then made the Phillies waste a pick. And I’ll keep repeating because it’s true: we don’t know what happened, and we only have one side of the story. That’s spinning? Hardly.

      • Lefty

        February 21, 2014 at 5:41 am

        “multiple sources” – Well, there were two kids, or maybe their agents who could have some kind of ax to grind from a past experience. Sorry, but to me that’s that’s not enough to make it automatically true.

        Unless this guy Fitt is willing to name his sources (which will never happen) showing that it was the NCAA that named the team specifically, I’ll continue to assume the Phils are “innocent until proven guilty”. mkay?

      • Alex M.

        February 21, 2014 at 10:45 am

        The key here is Wetzler is not innocent in this process, if you are a player that is potentially going to get drafted there is no way you go into the process completely ignorant. The major factor here is it was rumored that Wetzler and his “adviser” had told the Phils what it would take to sign him and that he was a virtual lock to sign. If this was the case then the Phils likely tailored some of their draft around knowing he would sign. Wetzler was the Phils 5th round pick and by far the best pitcher they drafted, they took him ahead of better players (likely because they knew he would be cheaper and would give them flexibility). If you honestly think this was the player saying o well I want to go back to college instead your ignorant. He decided that he wanted more money than the Phillies were willing to offer and it was likely on the advice of his “adviser”. With the injuries and inconsistency from some of the Phillies pitching in the low minors the Phillies were counting on Wetzler to give them a solid prospect and if he gave his word that he would sign for X amount and then came back with a different offer after the draft I understand the Phillies frustration. MLB draft is all about strategy and in taking Wetzler was part of the Phillies strategy and plan. Without him signing the essentially have no good pitching prospect from the 2013 draft. They did get Shane Martin in the 9th who has some talent but nothing special, Denton Keys is likely the most talented lefty the Phils got but he has a ways to go and it looks like 32nd round pick Tyler Viza might have something but he is a very raw 19 year old. Wetzler was their safety pick that they KNEW would sign and I think he was going to until he met with an agent and changed his mind. So regardless of how this turns out Wetzler screwed the Phillies and in that case how is it not fair for them to report him if he contacted an agent?

      • Mark

        February 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm

        Alex M – Per your words, it was “rumored” that Wetzler told the Phillies what it would take to sign him. There is no guarantee. And it’s a freaking negotiation process. These are kids negotiating their salary. They’re free to do whatever the hell they want throughout the process. Even if he promised them what it would take to sign and still walked away, the Phillies (again, if this is true) were absolutely pathetic in turning him in. It doesn’t help them one bit and could potentially hurt future negotiations. It’s great that you’re advocating a major league organization to employ a child-like mentality, though. A potential player doesn’t like our offer, so let’s screw him over. Classy.

        Btw, he can contact an agent. The agent can’t do the negotiating on his behalf.

    • George

      February 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      And how the hell do you know, Publius, that these kids DIDN’T do anything different than anyone else?

      Can’t you just wait like Schmenkman, Lefty, wbramh, and others here to find out ALL the facts, and not just some reporter’s take on the few crumbs of information that are currently availabe?

  12. Commonsensical

    February 20, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Ok Schmen. Let’s play a game. Three parties involved. A. Kid turned himself in. B. His advisor turned him in. C. Phillies turned him in. There’s playing stupid and actually being stupid. Your choice.

    • jeff orbach

      February 21, 2014 at 8:34 am

      One thing that I hope comes out of this-Is that the rules are changed regarding agents and either you allow them or enforce the current rule! If everyone is in violation of the rule then there is no point in having it.

      • Alex M.

        February 21, 2014 at 10:54 am

        I think what needs to happen is that they are allowed to talk to an agent or adviser once or twice and that is documented so they have knowledge and an idea of what to do going into the draft process. It would kind of be like recruiting in college, the visits are recorded and regulated and if the player or agent goes over the desired visits then they are potentially penalized. Its not as cut or dry as it is in football or basketball. But I agree there needs to be more rules in place, the fact that the Phillies are getting crap for following the rules is crazy. Even if there is an “unwritten understanding” that you do not rat out players. To me that just sounds shady and after all of the steroid issues baseball really needs to avoid shady dealings.

      • Double Trouble Del

        February 21, 2014 at 4:01 pm

        Well put Alex M.

      • Mark

        February 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm

        Yes, let’s limit the resources available to an 18-19 year old in negotiating his future with a billion dollar organization. Great idea.

        And the Phillies aren’t getting crap for following the rules. They’re getting crap for being petty, vindictive and counter-productive.

        Me, I prefer my favorite team tattles on a college kid instead of actually working on fixing a organization that’s been going downhill ever since the 2008 season.

      • Double Trouble Del

        February 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm

        Again, I ask, do you think the Phillies haven’t operated in this draft paradigm before? If they made a habit out of pursuing this course of action, there might be reason to jump to conclusions regarding their motives. I think the situation suggests egregious behavior on the part of the agent. The ultimate outcome will be that the agent will suffer the consequences for his actions, perhaps finding a smaller client pool, for example, for his disservice to Wetzler.

    • Vinnie

      February 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      “Ok Schmen. Let’s play a game. Three parties involved. A. Kid turned himself in. B. His advisor turned him in. C. Phillies turned him in. There’s playing stupid and actually being stupid. Your choice.”

      D. The story is not true, and the NCAA suspended them on their own.

      • schmenkman

        February 21, 2014 at 5:27 pm

        E. The NCAA approached the Phillies based on a tip from 1) another student with a grudge, 2) an angry ex-girlfriend, 3) an athletic department equipment manager who he treated like crap, 4) one of his professors (h/t commenter phil-er-up)

      • Publius

        February 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm

        Oh look, both of you were wrong. What a shock.

      • schmenkman

        February 22, 2014 at 1:36 pm

        lol – we still don’t know the whole story, but in any case this article is pretty informative:


  13. donnavox20

    February 21, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Wetzler has been cleared to play Mar. 2. That being said, does MLB expect kids to negotiate contracts on their own? It’s a dumb rule to begin with. That being said, if the kid knew he wasn’t allowed to use an agent, and he did, wasn’t there a chance he’s get caught anyway? I understand there is the ‘unwritten rule’ about not turning these kids in, but you’d think the agent would know better as well. Funny how the writers are coming down on the Phillies, when they don’t even really know what happened, and on paper, the team only broke an unwritten rule, not an actual one. Then again, I find that most writers do nothing but trash the Phillies, anyway. Either way, I’m glad the kid will be able to play this season.

    • schmenkman

      February 22, 2014 at 12:51 am

      Right, he was suspended for 11 games, or 20% of OSU’s season, i.e. he can play starting 3/2.

  14. lefty

    February 22, 2014 at 10:36 am

    “Oregon State official Steve Clark said today that it is “our understanding” that the Phillies reported it, tweets Fitt.”

    Well I have to give him credit, I never thought he’d give up his source. To me, that’s still not enough proof to write a story like that which could cause many negative effects on the Phillies ability to negotiate with agents in the future.

    IMO- Fitt needs to supply more than that or face possible consequences.

  15. Publius

    February 22, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    What a gutless move by a gutless organization

  16. Lefty

    February 22, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Publius, you surprise me on this. As an ardent stickler for advanced metrics, I would think you’d want absolute proof before just blasting the organization.

    Amaro acknowledged “participation” in an investigation, not that the team “reported” the violation.

    I still have not seen proof that they reported the violation.

    Do I have to give you dictionary definitions of the words “participation” and “reported”? Or can we agree that participation can mean many things including;

    Being called in for questioning during an investigation?
    Answering questions under oath?
    Being subpoenaed to answer questions?

    • hk

      February 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm


      I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I must say that I’m disappointed by their public comments. It’s possible that their PR people are telling them to ignore this situation and maybe it will go away, but if my organization was wrongly accused of acting vindictively and trying to do harm to a kid’s right to return to college for another year, I’d want to get out in front of it and clear the air.

      • Lefty

        February 23, 2014 at 9:26 am

        hk, I have been wrongly accused in a lawsuit before, and it’s not fun. But the most agonizing part was that my lawyer would not let me speak up for myself. All good counsel inform their clients to say nothing, and in the end IMO they are 99% correct to do so.

        But in the interim, the court of public opinion usually chooses to take silence as guilt, and from experience I can tell you and that hurts an awful lot.

        When I see or read absolute proof that this organization acted stupidly against an innocent kid, I will fry them publicly like many others are doing. I’m not saying I’d put it past them, I just don’t have enough evidence of that yet.

    • Publius

      February 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      The lack of a denial by the Phillies and numerous respectable college baseball sources running with the “Phillies ratted him out” version is plenty of proof. If it is not true, why haven’t the Phillies denied it? Why not expound on what the “participation” means? If more proof to the contrary comes out I will happily reconsider, but there is simply no counter-evidence showing that the Phillies had a small or no part in this whole thing.

      • Vinnie

        February 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm

        What are the numerous sources?

  17. Josh Stein

    February 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Last I checked your innocent until proven guilty and its not the Phillies style to talk much publicly and this whole thing has a suspicious aire about it

  18. DavidE

    February 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Why do the Phillies need to cooperate with the NCAA? They are not a governmental agency. They can’t do anything to the Phillies.

    • wbramh

      February 23, 2014 at 7:10 am

      And when did the NCAA become a paragon of virtue?


      They’ve been putting it to “student athletes” for years.

      • hk

        February 23, 2014 at 8:09 am

        That organization is the furthest thing from a paragon of virtue and are probably the biggest culprits in this situation. Think about how Draconian it is to have a rule that punishes a kid with a suspension if that kid pays an advisor to help him negotiate what most likely is the largest financial negotiation in which the kid will ever engage. The NCAA wants kids to come to their schools to play sports, but when the kid has a chance to turn pro while still having a year of eligibility, the NCAA punishes the kid by either (a) reducing his ability to negotiate or (b) suspending him when he returns to college. Great system.

      • wbramh

        February 23, 2014 at 10:13 am

        Joe Nocera wrote a series of articles on the NCAA in his Times column. The link I supplied is just one among them. None of his articles portray a very attractive organization.To quote Nocera, “He (NCAA founder, Walter Byers) is the man who coined the phrase “student-athlete” to deflect attempts to force universities to pay workers’ compensation. He fought efforts to tax college sports. (Today, buying a “seat license” is viewed by the I.R.S. as a tax-deductible donation).” I suppose that includes all 110,000 “charity” seat licenses in Ann Arbor. Apparently, the NFL is also a charitable organization since they too don’t pay a dime of taxes, but that’s another story.

        If the Phillies had absolute power they’d be able to force prospects to sign contracts on the spot rather than rely on verbal promises. The NCAA actually uses their power to own college players outright and with no contract or compensation. As the NYT article states. the NCAA is currently (and finally) being sued for violation of anti-trust laws. The case Nocera cites centers around Ed O’Bannon, “a former U.LA basketball star who sued the NCAA for licensing his likeness to the video game maker EA Sports without compensating him.

        One of the NCAA’s attorney’s arguments in front of the court stated, “The NCAA’s rules do not force athletes who wish to be professionals to enroll in school.” Well, that’s ludicrous since the NCAA has monopolized college sports, particularly football and basketball and turned them into pay-free minor leagues for pro teams while raking in tens of millions of dollars for themselves in broadcast and licensing rights. More to the point, a basketball player can no longer be drafted directly out of high school but instead, must wait a year (if they forego college) and play in a developmental league – usually those meat factories operated by the AAU who essentially function as players’ de facto agents. In other words, sign with a university or face oblivion. These kids are victimized plenty by the NCAA, agents, universities and amateur leagues long before they meet their first pro scout.

        The O’Bannon case now appears to be headed to trial. A victory for O’Bannon could very well serve as a landmark decision and change “business as usual.”

        And speaking of the legal system, any good lawyer would advise his client not to comment on a situation that could end up in litigation. Therefore, the fact that the Phillies haven’t responded in detail to the charges put forth in no way indicates guilt. There may be as much or more evidence of defamation perpetrated against the team. In any case, now would be a good time for the player and his rep(s) to just shut up, too and stop feeding the ever hungry rumor mill.

        Additionally, the idea that various sources siding with the player makes for truth in this case is ludicrous. It’s likely that only the player and/or his “advisor” would have been present for discussions with the Phillies. Everyone else is spreading hearsay – no doubt some for their own self benefit..

  19. Chuck A.

    February 22, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    So when do the games start? …..

  20. Double Trouble Del

    February 22, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    I generally applaud anything any major league team does to stick it to an agent. And please stop portraying Wetzler as some innocent in all this. At the very least he should have hired more competent “advisors.”

    • hk

      February 23, 2014 at 6:53 am

      So, by extension, do you also applaud everything a major league team does to the player that the agent represents? If so, do you realize that you are siding with billionaires and billion dollar corporations anti-trust exemptions that give them cover to screw the exact people that the public pay moneys to watch actually play the games? That’s an interesting take for sure. I assume that you’ve never known a kid like Wetzler who had a unique talent that people pay to see and who was just trying to do what’s right for himself and his family, but was forced into a situation where the cards are so stacked against him maximizing his worth that it’s either sad or laughable. I suspect that, if Wetzler was your son, you’d think differently.

      • wbramh

        February 23, 2014 at 11:12 am

        Yeah, well there’s that undeniable fact, too. These billionaires are handed anti-trust exemptions, free land, tax-free incomes and tens of millions of misappropriated money from the community chest to construct personal palaces in which few permanent local jobs are created and with seats that, increasingly, the average fan can’t afford to sit in. Close 50 schools for lack of money and nobody cares but lose a sports franchise (to suckers in some other city) and your career in politics is over.

        These men are among the biggest welfare leeches in the country

        And the next time you buy MLB licensed merchandise look at the label to see where it’s manufactured – probably some place where they can get away with paying a dollar a day to a worker risking her life in some fire trap. But the American worker they forced onto unemployment is a “welfare queen.”

        But don’t get me started…

      • photoFred

        February 23, 2014 at 11:50 am

        Exactly. There are no easy answers to our societal problems but tax breaks and subsidies for the rich and powerful are not not on the short list.

        Now, when do the games start?

      • Double Trouble Del

        February 23, 2014 at 3:19 pm

        Your conclusions seem influenced from some dislike of “billionaire owners.” Are you suggesting that there was no misconduct on the part of Wetzler and his “advisor” or choosing to ignore it? If there were no misconduct then there would have been no suspension. I suggest merely that Wetzler’s “advisor” was responsible for some sort of brinksmanship which put the young man’s baseball future at risk. Lastly no one is forcing Wetzler into baseball servitude and he is still free to earn a living with his education.

      • wbramh

        February 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm


        Re:”Your conclusions seem influenced from some dislike of “billionaire owners.”

        Not at all. My point was that HK is also correct – I tried to make that clear in the first sentence when I said, “there’s that undeniable fact, too.” It probably wasn’t clear due to the rant that followed so I apologize if that comment was misleading. In my previous comment, I came down just as hard on agents, schools, the NCAA and others who, not unlike billionaire owners, leech off of innocent kids and/or the public.

        If I had to guess, I’d say someone having less than the kid’s best interests at heart whispered in his ear in the expectation of a quick and dirty commission opportunity that likely won’t come again. But that too is pure speculation. While it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Phillies did something unfair, I don’t believe the probability is all that high, especially since they’re not new to the procedure and were not fighting over rights to the next sure bet Cole Hamels. So no, my very real disdain for billionaire owners (some far more than others – like the Cubs for instance) does not play into the scenario I have conjured.

        As for servitude, you’re correct; no one is forcing the kid to play baseball. If the Phillies had that power and desire (they have neither) they would have signed him under duress or freed him to pursue a career in some other field – one likely without an agent involved. My only reference to servitude was minimum wage American MLB merchandise makers whose jobs were shipped overseas and taken over by Chinese and Bangladeshi workers. They are not much better off than indentured servants, working miserable hours, often in unsafe conditions and for dollar a day type “wages.”

    • Double Trouble Del

      February 24, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      As always well put wbramh. Pardon any of my misunderstandings or misstatements.

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