It's just a step in negotiations. Each side -- both the prospect Bubba Starling and the Kansas City Royals front office -- are going to do what they can maximize their side financially in making a deal. If the Royals hope to sign Bubba Starling before the August 15th deadline, they're going to have to pony up some big money deal -- probably more than Drew Pomeranz earned last year as the No. 5 overall selection in the 2010 MLB Draft with the Cleveland Indians, which was $2.65 million.
For now, Starling is playing his cards early by announcing he's headed to the University of Nebraska to begin unofficial player workouts as he assembles with other Cornhusker players. He's committed as a quarterback -- that's just how gifted this kid is athletically -- and he loves football. But he also loves baseball and it's clear there's immediate big money there for the taking. Thus, there are choices to make -- on both sides. For the Royals, the move to Nebraska by Starling should encourage some expediency on their part. The reasons:
1. Atmosphere - The reality for Starling if he signs with the Royals is that he'll be in for long bus rides and crappy clubhouses for the next couple of years. At Nebraska, he'll already become ingratiated with fellow players, make friends around the campus, and begin to see what it would physically feel like to lead the team. The starting QB spot won't be handed to Starling at any time in his playing career there, but the fame that comes with a nationally recognized program that could play for a BCS Championship could create stars in the eyes before the Royals strike.
2. Lack of Supervision - While there are conditioning and strength coaches on hand at the player workouts and the rest of the coaching staff arriving for August 6th official practices, the Royals have no control over what Starling will or will not be doing during his time at Nebraska. It's human nature to picture the worst case scenario when we have no control over a situation, and you better believe that Dayton Moore and company are picturing Starling running through college football workouts with their rose-colored glasses far removed from their eyes.
3. Stoking The Wrong Fire - Starling loves two sports. He also excels at two sports. But until he signs his contract, he can only stoke one fire -- and the one he's currently choosing is to learn the next level of football. It's possible that one fire overwhelms another and that Starling simply goes with which one is most exciting to him for now -- money or no money.
The reality is that Starling will likely sign, since most guys who cry foul during the negotiating process ends up capitulating to the deal in front of them in the final minutes leading up to the deadline. But each year has that anomaly, that player who leaves it on the table for one reason or another. There's no need for the Royals to give Starling any reason to do so.