Could Strasburg Move To Japan, Avoid Draft?

Aroldis Chapman can defect from his home country and become a free agent. Could Stephen Strasburg do something similar? Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post concludes that Scott Boras and his clients ultimately play by the rules Bud Selig makes. Here's a closer look at the super-agent and the system he's working within:

  • Boras wants Strasburg paid like a free agent, even though the Nationals have exclusive rights to him.
  • His asking price is believed to be $50MM, but no draft pick has ever surpassed Mark Prior's $10.5MM bonus.
  • The Post's Chico Harlan points out that, in accordance with the MLB rules, the Nats have likely offered Strasburg a preliminary deal already, though nothing Strasburg isn't expected to accept it.
  • Boras has hinted that he could take Strasburg to Japan if the Nationals don't offer enough money.  
  • MLB's vice-president of labor relations explains what will happen if Strasburg doesn't sign with the Nats: "He goes back into the draft, and if he doesn't sign with that team, he goes back in again."
  • Boras could try to work around the wording in the MLB rules and establish Strasburg as a resident in Japan. This could make him an international resident, which would allow him, in theory, to operate under the same system as international free agents.
  • However, the MLB rule ends with the following: "official interpretations of this Rule 4 may be made from time to time by the Commissioner or the Commissioner's designee." 
  • In other words, Bud Selig has the power to step in if Boras gets too creative for his liking. 

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