|Hell hath no fury like a Ruben scorned|
In last year's amateur draft, the Phils selected Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler in the 5th round. Picking college kids who have not graduated is always a calculated risk because there's the chance that they will stay in college. It's commonplace to not be able to sign a kid so it should not come as a surprise when it happens. Wetzler decided to stay for one more chance at winning the College World Series after making it last year.
Of course, the NCAA being the giant hypocrisy that they are, will not allow players like Wetzler to use any legal representation (an agent) to negotiate a contract with a Major League ball club and still retain their amateur status. So if a kid is on the fence about returning to school or signing his contract it would be beneficial for the player to not use any representation. This is so wrong at face value it makes my head spin, but rules are rules and the NCAA loves them some dumb ones.
Anyway, 20-22 year old kids generally lack knowledge when it comes to negotiating the terms of a baseball contract so it makes sense for them to get some outside help. Wetzler did this. He did break a rule. He used an agent to help layout terms with the Phillies so he could be as well informed as possible to make a decision. Considering he did not actually sign the contract it's really a no harm no foul situation. The Phillies get a replacement pick for not being able to sign Wetzler, and he technically didn't sign anything so he can go back to Oregon State without any repercussion.
Unless of course the Phillies' GM decides to act like a scorned 17 year old that got dumped right before prom. Then you're in trouble if you're Wetzler. So Ruben went and decided it was a good idea to inform Oregon State and the NCAA that Wetzler had used representation during his negotiations with the Phillies. Uh-oh! A really dumb NCAA rule was broken! Let's punish a kid who is just trying to do the best he can for himself. The ruling came down last week that Wetzler will need to miss 20% of the season due to this rules violation.
I just don't get it. This was a nothing to gain and a ton to lose scenario Ruben has decided to play out. This move was spiteful, petty, and shortsighted. My mind is boggled.
Put yourself in the shoes of any college kid getting drafted who isn't sure if he wants to make his way through the minors or stay in college another year. If you're that kid, do you want to go deal with the guy who just tattled to the NCAA about something I'm sure 1000s of kids have gotten away with over the years? To quote Kevin McCallister, "I don't think so."
I equate this to a boyfriend who just got dumped by his girlfriend so he decided to post every scandalous picture she ever sent him online. Every one found out about it to the point where every one knew this guy was an asshole for his actions. Do you think he's going to have an easier or more difficult time getting a girlfriend after that?
To make matters worse the Phillies have stayed virtually silent while this whole mess has been unfolding. Virtually silent other than being stubborn and arrogant while showing no remorse. Check out the tweets from Phillies' beat writer Matt Gelb regarding the Amaro's statements.
When you come out of an ethics issue looking worse than the NCAA you are not doing your job properly. Thanks a lot Ruben. You're doing great work here.