Johnny Manziel was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 28th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Saturday. Yes, the same Johnny Manziel who played quarterback for Texas A&M, won the Heisman trophy as football’s best player, and never put on a collegiate baseball uniform. He was drafted to play professional baseball.
This is one of the problems with the MLB Draft: there are too many players selected who have no intention of signing a baseball contract or even playing professional baseball. The Padres must be pretty content with their Major League roster, farm system, and hopes for the future to essentially waste a draft pick on an athlete who was a first-round NFL Draft selection just weeks ago.
The decision to draft Johnny Football would make sense had he actually played baseball in college, except he hasn’t been on a baseball diamond since his junior year of high school. Technically, he was on a baseball field as he threw out the first pitch at both a Rangers’ game and a Padres’ game.
He was listed as a shortstop on the draft sheet for San Diego. Manziel could have been listed at any position because he never played baseball for the Aggies. I can’t reiterate that enough. The guy may be a great athlete with a great arm, but if he has no intentions to play baseball, why use a draft pick on someone like that?
It’s not just the fact that it was Johnny Manziel. He has so much star power that anything he does will warrant a news story at some point. If any team takes a collegiate athlete from a sport other than baseball, what is the reason? I understand that there are 40 rounds, which is enough to draft an entire minor league roster and then some. There are players drafted who don’t sign because they either are high school players with college commitments or college players with eligibility remaining. But to use a pick on someone who hasn’t played baseball in five years and probably never will again is absurd.
Johnny Manziel has no desire to sign
Some college athletes do play two or more sports. It happens frequently, and those players usually have talent to play professionally in more than one sport. There have been former college football players drafted such as Bo Jackson, Chris Weinke, and Kyle Parker who were drafted and did sign baseball contracts. These were players who had potential to sign and play baseball. Johnny Manziel is not one of these players.
Any player picked by the Padres after the 28th round should feel insulted. I would not want to play for a team that decided it was worth the effort to use a draft pick on a player with zero signability, more so as a marketing ploy and a way to make some headlines. In my eyes, they should have went ahead and forfeited the rest of their draft picks since they obviously felt their needs had been met at that point in the draft.
The Padres not only wasted their own draft pick, but they gave away the possible future of another baseball player who was more deserving of a chance to be drafted. Whether they chose that player later in the draft or not, it was one less “real” selection of a player who had the chance to accomplish their dream of getting to play professional baseball.
Major League Baseball already has a lot of rounds and many players drafted who do not sign or have little intention of signing. The pros and cons for an athlete to sign a professional contract are vast: receive a signing bonus and minimal salary for an occupation that does not last more than a few years for most versus going to college to get a degree.
Every team should be trying to utilize each one of their draft picks. By drafting Johnny Manziel, that obviously was not the case for the San Diego Padres. Should Manziel suddenly decide to give up the guaranteed money from football and all the endorsements to pursue a minor league baseball career, then by all means the Padres made the right move. The odds of that happening are zero in case you were wondering.