Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports has an interesting article about Karsten Whitson, a right-handed pitcher who was the ninth overall pick in June’s draft and turned down a $2.1 million offer to sign with the Padres in order to attend the University of Florida.
The short version is that Whitson questioned whether he was truly ready to be a professional baseball player and also wanted the college experience at Florida. The long version is much more complicated than that and definitely worth reading.
From a financial standpoint I think it’s tough to argue that Whitson didn’t make a mistake. His odds of getting more than $2.1 million when eligible to be drafted again in 2013 are significantly lower than his odds of getting less than $2.1 million, and in the meantime there’s always the risk of serious injury or poor performance that could leave him with relatively little.
From a personal standpoint it’s a lot tougher to pass judgment, particularly since–based on what he told Rogers, at least–Whitson seems very pleased with his decisions so far.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.