The Phillies 'tattle-tale' blowback has begun
As expected the Phillies' reported decision to tell the NCAA one of its draftees was using an agent is coming back on them.
You'll recall that recently in this space we told you of Aaron Fitt's report that the Phillies ratted out one of its draftees, Oregon State lefty Ben Wetzler, to the NCAA for improperly using an agent.
NCAA rules allow amateurs who wish to maintain college eligibility to use agents under the nebulous role of "advisor," but those agents can't negotiate on the player's behalf. In fact, advisor-agents do assist players in the de-facto negotiation of signing bonuses, as should be their right. The Phillies, though, are alleged to have "gone rogue" and sold out Wetzler to the NCAA, perhaps in an organizational tantrum over being unable to sign him. The NCAA in turn has suspended Wetzler, a senior, indefinitely.
Now, the rather predictable fallout has begun. Here's this, again from Fitt, whose reporting on this story has been outstanding:
One agent: "As of today, Phillies are out. Phillies are not getting into any more of our households. We're shutting down all communications"— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) February 20, 2014
As Fitt notes in the replies to the above tweet, scouts depend upon access in order to evaluate the player in question from close range and gauge things like make-up, true signability, etc. That kind of access is granted at the pleasure of the potential draftee and his advisor. And, well, you get the idea.
We don't know that Wetzler actually did anything against NCAA rules, but we do know that the Phillies -- if they did what Fitt's sources say they did -- have serious amends to make. Absent a public apology on the part of the team and perhaps a few scouting-department scalps, you can likely expect more of this sort of thing. Simply put, you don't vindictively trifle with a young man's career and education like this without consequences.
Hardball tactics flow both ways, you see.
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