Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pic of the Week

Chipper Jones said Thursday that 2012 would be his final
season. It brings to mind something Ozzie Guillen said:
"Good players retire. Bad players get released. I got released."

How different would baseball history be if the current draft rules -- designed to further limit the leverage of players -- had been in place in 1990?

That spring, the Atlanta Braves had the first overall pick, and a high school right-handed pitcher named Todd Van Poppel was the consensus top prospect. Bobby Cox, then the Atlanta GM, met with Van Poppel, looked him in the eye, and decided the kid was sincere when he told Cox he would not sign, that he was going to college.

The Braves drafted Chipper Jones instead. Van Poppel went much later, to the defending AL champion Oakland A's, and signed a contract that today would be prohibited.

Jones became a no-question Hall-of-Famer, a middle-of-the-lineup fixture on a playoff perennial who spent his entire career with Atlanta; Van Poppel became a very mediocre middle reliever who wandered from team to team.

I'd say it worked out pretty well for Atlanta.

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