When the news came out that 2014 unsigned number one overall draft pick Brady Aiken was going to require Tommy John surgery you probably had a similar reaction to mine, the Astros dodged a bullet. Then Aiken wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune and if you paid close attention you see where it made the Astros look even worse than they did a year ago when they first botched the Aiken negotiation.
Aiken’s piece is eloquent and he comes across mature beyond his years. I was so impressed I made my 15 year-old freshman left-handed pitcher read it. Here’s what caught my eye:
I can honestly say I don’t regret not signing…it was an informed decision based on circumstances only a few people know the truth about. The money wasn’t the only factor to consider. I wanted to play somewhere I felt comfortable, with a support system I felt would lay the groundwork for a successful and long career…Even now, I know I made the decision that made the most sense for my future.
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This is from an 18-year-old kid who turned down $5 million dollars less than a year ago and just had Tommy John surgery. Could the Astros have handled his situation so poorly that even now, with all that has happened, he doesn’t regret taking the last minute offer? Apparently so.
And that "support system" part? That’s the equivalent of dad saying he’s not mad at you, just disappointed in you. Those sting.
The handling of Aiken, Jacob Nix, J.D. Martinez, Bo Porter and the mystery of whatever happened with Ryan Vogelsong and the Astros this past winter has not been a good look for Houston.
Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez will be coming back from Tommy John surgery this year, it is hardly a career ender for elite level talent. Elite level people though are much harder to come by, and the Astros let one get away.