White Sox to be cautious with top pick
Team has No. 8 selection in June's First-Year Player Draft
ANAHEIM -- When the eighth pick in Major League Baseball's 2008 First-Year Player Draft comes about on June 5, some form of the following announcement will be made.
"The White Sox select ... a player who is not being advised by Scott Boras."
In reality, the aforementioned statement represents far too great of an oversimplification concerning the important upcoming White Sox situation. An edict has not been sent down from above concerning strict avoidance of potential clients for one of the game's super-agents.
But in a recent talk with MLB.com, White Sox director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann admitted the player's worth in the collective mind of the organization and his camp's ensuing demands will make a difference in the selection process.
"There's no question it does," said Laumann during a phone interview on Sunday, returning from an afternoon scouting trip to Nashville. "It's not just because the name is Scott Boras.
"If the financial demands are such that they are higher than we value a player, then it could be Scott Boras or Scott Baio. If they tell us a guy wants $15 million, and we only thinks he's worth $3 million, then we probably won't draft him."
Laumann went on to explain how these negotiations are just like any sort of free-agent dealings encountered by general manager Ken Williams, aside from the fact that the Draft talent is raw and undeveloped. As an example, if Williams is trying to sign a pitcher for $5 million and that pitcher wants an astronomical sum of $25 million, then Williams is bound to walk away and end negotiations.
With the White Sox selecting in the top 10 for the first time since 1990, based on last year's 72-90 showing, the elite players have been thoroughly scouted a number of times by Laumann and his staff. In some cases, those watchful eyes have belonged to Williams.
Certain players might be deemed as less-than-feasible options, though, based on the thought of unreasonable contractual demands.
"History tells us which agents have unfair demands, in our opinion," Laumann said. "But again, it's not just about Boras. We have a fiscal responsibility."
These comments are not meant to define a less-than-worthy first-round pick sliding into the eighth spot for the White Sox. According to Laumann, in the 17 years he has been with the White Sox, chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has never rejected spending money as long as said spending can be justified.
Joe Borchard was inked to a $5.3 million bonus after being selected with the 12th pick in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft. Borchard turned out to be the high-character individual the White Sox envisioned, but if the team spends that sort of money again, they hope the player pans out a little better on the field.
"It didn't work out for us with Borchard. Sometimes they do, and some times they don't," Laumann said. "But if you can justify the money and are fair with Jerry, he's willing to give it to you.
"Don't lie to him and say a player is worth $5 million just to get him, if you know he's worth $1 million."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.