Monday, July 11, 2011

Bubba has entered the building

Quarterback recruit and first-round baseball draft pick Bubba Starling has entered the building — as in Nebraska’s campus, confirmed an NU spokesperson, according to a Lincoln Journal Star blog entry on Sunday night.

According to a recent Kansas City Star story, Starling wasn't planning to enroll in classes but would workout with the team.

Now the Kansas City Royals, who selected the 6-foot-5, 195-pound multi-sport phenom from Gardner, Kansas, as the No. 5 overall pick in the draft, have until Aug. 15 to sign him.
Starling, whose agent is Scott Boras, could command a signing bonus that tops the $6 million dollar mark.

If recent history means anything, Starling might not be in Lincoln for long. Keep in mind, he is there for voluntary summer workouts but it’s not a given he will enroll in classes. Plus, Nebraska begins its preseason practice schedule Aug. 6.

In 2010, Zach Lee (not to be confused with former Husker quarterback Zac Lee) who signed to play football at LSU but then signed for $5.25 million after being drafted at No. 28 by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2009, Donavan Tate was a North Carolina recruit but ,claimed a signing bonus of $6.25 million after being picked third by the San Diego Padres.

Regardless of whether Starling takes the college experience of being a student-athlete for one of the most storied college football programs in the nation or belting Major League fastballs, he will have to withstand high expectations from fans.

On the surface, there might be a glimmer of hope that Starling would choose the Huskers but if I were a betting man, I would lay odds on him signing with the Royals. Keep in mind, the Royals organization is less-than-thrilled with the idea of him being in Lincoln for summer workouts — so there is hope.

However, human nature is such where even the most humble person can get blinded by sudden wealth. The truth of the matter is, Starling has to make a decision on what he loves the most and what he most wants to do. The rational brain suggests to not think of the money until I was pretty sure what direction I was going to go. Then again, I don’t have anyone dangling $5 million dollars in front of me.

One school of thought, no pun intended, is to take the money because you can always go back to college. If Starling plans on banking some of that money into a 401K plan, I’d say by all means take the money and run.

However, if Starling wants to go the Darin Erstad route and play both football and baseball, he will become a Husker. Otherwise, he will become a Royal.

That said, put yourself in Starling’s shoes, you love baseball and someone wants to give you boatloads of coin to do it. How many of you would turn down $7 million to do something you love?

It’s called business. You can hardly blame the young man and if you look at it from another angle it might perfect sense to carry on with what your college plans are. Then, if that hefty signing bonus comes along, then you go with plan B.

Some might say that Starling is using Nebraska as leverage to get a better deal. Perhaps there is an element of truth to that idea because Starling is doing is part taking care of his business as far as becoming a Husker and part of it is letting the Royals know that he is serious about becoming a Husker should they choose to offer him a lowball deal.

The fact is, people use leverage every day and I don't think Starling should have to disregard the leverage he has and should be allowed to use it. I don't view it as NU being used as much as some might.

There might be a negotiating leverage element involved but its also about being as ready to play football as possible if the offer isn't enough to spur him to baseball.

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