When I go into a mediation with a client, one of the first things I tell them is that there may come a time today when we have to make a decision. And that’s what we’ll do if and when that time comes.
Until then, just lay in wait. Let the game come to you. Don’t form any expectations. Don’t make any decisions until there’s one to be made — if there’s one to be made.
Because sometimes the other side makes the decision for you by either making you an offer you couldn’t possibly accept or making you one you couldn’t possibly turn down. The latter is an offer that exceeds your wildest expectations. It does’t happen often, but when it does, you just sit back, laugh your butt off and exchange high fives around the room.
Yesterday, the Rangers didn’t have any real decision to make when the 11th pick came around. I can only imagine the laughter and celebratory high-fiving that took place in their draft room when a nearly comatose Bud Selig (was he drunk, or did he suffer a stroke yesterday morning?) announced that the Astros were taking Stanford catcher Jason Castro with the tenth pick.
Leaving Justin Smoak on the board.
Probably the third or fourth best player in the draft.
If you are wondering why absolutely nobody connected the Rangers to Smoak in pre-draft speculation it’s because it seemed to be completely beyond the scope of possibility that he would still be there when Texas picked.
The switch-hitting first baseman has power from both sides of the plate, is a potential Gold Glover, a great teammate, the kind of dude who typically loves Texas (i.e. sort of a redneck), a proven commodity against high-level competition with wood bats, likely to be a quick and easy sign, and should be ready for a big league job within about 20 months. As one scouting report puts it, he is what he is and that’s awfully good. As is. Right now.
This isn’t some sort of project.
There won’t be a 1500 at-bat adjustment period for Smoak.
There won’t be any retooling of his swing or time wasted on learning a new position.
He’s simply going to need some time — not much, but some — to get used to centering the ball on a wood bat on a consistent basis, and then he’ll be ready to roll. Maybe two months in Bakersfield this summer. Maybe three or four months in Frisco next year and then a final polishing in Oklahoma City in July and August of 2009.
In the second round, the Rangers took Robbie Ross, a diminutive high school lefty with great stuff from Nicholasville, Kentucky. Here again, there probably wasn’t much doubt that he was the best prospect on the board when the selection — number 57 overall — was made. Ross was ranked the 43rd best prospect in the draft by Baseball America.
Ross stamped himself as a top-two round guy last summer in a scouting showcase where he upstaged the likes of Tim Melville: Ross “pitched at 89 mph, touching 92 on the Baseball America Stalker. His slider was up to 82 [with] hard, late tilt, and helped him rack up empty swings. Ross allowed one baserunner, on a walk, and struck out nine of the 12 batters he faced in four hitless innings.”
He fell, in large part, because he’s a signability question.
Yesterday, Ross told the Louisville Courier-Journal that “(Teams are) just wondering if they’re going to pay me as much as I’m asking for,” Ross said. “It’s not so much, ‘Is my body built right?’ or ‘Am I throwing well?’ It’s really more about their opinion about the money than it is about my ability.”
Ross, who has the same advisor as Smoak, is said to be asking for $1.5 million — which is about what Texas paid Blake Beavan last year. Beavan was the 16th pick in the draft.