Should You Sign? The Pro's & Con's Of Signing A Pro Sports Contract.

You have had a successful career with baseball in high school and now have an opportunity to go to college or play pro ball. Here are some scenarios that might help you decide.
Picture this scenario ...

Your senior baseball season is over with. You capped it all off with a great showing in the postseason, winning several "all-everything" local and state awards. You are one of the most talked about high school baseball players in the whole state. There have been rumblings and rumors of scouts watching your every move on the diamond and checking out your background for potential faults.

Your manic mother cuts out every newspaper clipping that concerns you, and has all your recruitment letters stacked plainly in view of anyone who happens to visit.

Your father purchased a subscription to one of those online prospect news-and-rankings websites to keep up to date with all rumors about you, even though he could just ask you!

To escape the madness you walk up to your room, plop down in a chair and glance over at the table by your bed. There lies an official scholarship invitation from a top Division I-A baseball program in sunny southern California.

You have given them a solid verbal commitment, but they have their doubts about whether you will be lead away from college by the dollar signs. You don't confirm or deny this, but it is something you quietly mull over every day.

Because your mother is so crazy about everything that concerns you, she even cuts out things that pertain to your school - even if you are not actually involved.

The week before the amateur baseball draft is a blur. Scouts from several teams call giving you a prediction where a team might draft you. First they say not before the first ten rounds. Then they say maybe within the first 8 rounds. The final calls say they can't make any guarantees besides within the top 10. Rumor has it that teams are scared of drafting you early because of a somewhat solid commit to the university.

The draft day is upon you. Unlike the other major sports in the United States, the baseball amateur draft is not nationally televised or hyped up. This is simply because not many players make it to the big league. The players won't be ready to contribute to a major league team for a few years (with closers being the exception). Instead of being televised, the draft is webcast.

Your normally techno phobic parents hunch over the computer screen listening to the pre-draft coverage. You feel the need to get out of the house, so you go hang out at a friend's house. You come home in the evening to see your mother on the front door step waiting for you. When you exit the car, she sprints over to you yelling, "You got drafted! You got drafted!"

This is where the story branches off into several points, to explore several different outcomes. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what could happen depending on where you were drafted.

Scenario #1

Your mother is crying hysterically.

"Baby! Baby, you were drafted in the first round, number 19 I think! The Texas Rangers have already sent you a contract proposal!"

You are too shocked for words. You numbly walk into the living room to the fax machine. There sits an official Texas Rangers memo saying they were willing to offer you a whole bunch of zeroes.

This situation is definitely hard to deal with. On one hand, you have a full-ride scholarship to one of the top college baseball programs in the country.

Both your parents want you to have a college education, so you have a fall-back plan if baseball doesn't work out. However, a million dollar signing bonus also seems like a good fall-back plan.

On the other hand, there is the prospect of playing in the minor leagues right out of high school. Studies have shown that through the years, players drafted in the 1st round have a better shot at making the big leagues than any of the rounds following it (there are 50 total rounds).

Having that million dollars lessens the blow of not attending college in the near future. Since you are the team's No. 1 pick, you can guarantee that the organization will pay attention to you for the next 3-5 years, even if you stink, meaning you will not be overlooked simply because the team has so much invested in you.

The Decision:

    It is hard to ignore being drafted in the first round. Unless you get drafted by a team you see no chance of advancing because of a loaded system, or a lowball bonus offer, it's probably in your best interests to sign. Most teams also help pay for college education for some of their minor league players.

Scenario #2

Your father comes out to your car and offers you a firm handshake. You have just been drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round (play along).

The team that drafted you is willing to offer you around half a million to sign. It's still a pretty good offer, considering you get half a million no matter how bad you play for the first few years.

But still, that college offer is there and it's hard to pass up. Should you take the plunge and play in the pros, or go to college?

This decision is actually harder than scenario #1, because you won't be treated as a jewel of the organization's farm system unless you put up big numbers. Also, you could go to college for three years and come back and get big money in the first round, depending on your performance.

The Decision:

    2nd and 3rd rounders also have a decent chance of making it to the big leagues, regardless of whether they were in high school or college. Obviously if you don't get the bonus you were hoping for, you can use the college option as leverage in negotiations. This is a hard decision no one can make without getting a grip on the whole situation.

Scenario #3

In this situation you were drafted between the 4th and 10th round. You are lucky to get a decent bonus, or if a team is really keen on you, they could throw big money at you to help steer you away from going to college. You are most likely going to play in low rookie ball upon signing, and will have to shine to get any notice from the bigwigs in the organization.

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The Decision:

    Unless they throw big money at you to keep you from signing, go to college. If you do well in college, you can re-enter the draft in three years with a better chance of landing in the first three rounds.

Scenario #4

Something happened, and now you have been drafted past the 10th round.

The Decision:

    This is a much easier decision than the rest. Unless they throw big money at you, go to college, simple as that. If you do decent in college, you will probably be drafted in the first 10 rounds.

At What Point Is It Wiser To Not Sign And Just Go To College?

1st Round Draft.
2nd - 3rd Round Draft.
4th - 10th Round Draft.
Past The 10th Round Draft.
Always Sign!


Hopefully this article helped you in understanding what can go on during draft day. The decision is never easy, but if this was at least informational, then it has served its purpose. Remember to learn the ins and outs of contract negotiations if you find your self in this situation. Learn the rules about hiring agents.