I’m sure you’ve heard and/or read Arron Fitt’s piece on Baseball America regarding the Philadelphia Phillies reporting a drafted player that did not sign with the club after last year’s draft. That player would be Oregon State ace Ben Wetzler. Allegedly, Wetzler had an agent, not an advisor.
If you’re not familiar with the “no agent rule”, Dayn Perry from Eye on Baseball has a “quick and dirty” explanation:
“NCAA rules allow amateurs who wish to maintain college eligibility to use agents under the nebulous role of “advisor,” but those agents can’t negotiate on the player’s behalf. In fact, advisor-agents do assist players in the de-facto negotiation of signing bonuses…”
Perry notes that the players should be entitled to this right.
Anyway, the ramifications of the Phillies reporting Wetzler now sits like this…
One agent: "As of today, Phillies are out. Phillies are not getting into any more of our households. We're shutting down all communications"
— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) February 20, 2014
If you follow along with Fitt’s Twitter timeline, he addresses other issues with this including how the NCAA has sat on its hands on the Wetzler issue since last November. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. Hit Fitt’s timeline and you’ll see mention of Andy Oliver.
If you want more, check out the Twitter timeline of MLB.com’s, and former writer for Baseball America, Jim Callis. Callis notes cases involving Logan Ehlers & Albert Minnis. But more importantly, he notes the manner in which the Phillies went about this. Along with Callis, the move by the Phillies to turn in Wetzler is viewed as being vindictive – even saw the proverbial term “bush league” in many a tweet – because Wetzler’s refusal to sign after being the Phillies’ 5th round selection last June.
While Fitt’s tweet from above comes from only one agent, it’s hard to imagine that other agents would not at least consider following this lead. Now the Phils have directly painted themselves into a corner, and it could take an extended period of time before not only agents can trust them, but potential draft picks as well.
Imagine your son being visited by a rep from the Phillies, and…wait a tic.
In lieu of all of this stuff, why would you even let a rep from the Phillies in your home now? Better yet, why would your adviser even permit you to talk, whether in person or by phone, with a Phillie rep? If that Phillies rep sees that adviser – provided you even let that rep near your home – and your son doesn’t sign, his college eligibility will surely be in peril now, won’t it?
And rest assured parents will be weary of this move, too.
I think for anyone to say the Phillies have some mending to do is off the mark. They will undoubtedly have to completely rebuild.
UPDATE: Eye on Baseball’s Matt Snyder reports that Wetzler has been suspended for 11 games, or 20 percent, of the season. And do read Snyder’s take on this. You won’t regret it.
In a series of tweets, Wetzler had the following:
“It is an absolute honor to put on the Oregon State jersey and play for the logo on the front… I cannot wait to toe it up next week!”
“I love you #beavernation now lets root on my brothers as they take care of business this weekend and we’ll see you at Goss in a week!”
“No one goes through life without overcoming some sort of adversity! Just a little bump in the road…”
“I am truly glad to finally put this all behind me and get back into the trenches with my brothers…”
“I would first like to thank everyone for all of the support throughout this process!”