Giants Executive Says Drew Got No Promises Assistant Gm Ned Colletti Contradicted Assertions By Scott Boras, The Player's Agent.

Posted: May 12, 1998

An executive of the San Francisco Giants denied yesterday that he had made any type of monetary offer or pledge to J.D. Drew - or to any other player whose draft rights didn't belong to the Giants.

Ned Colletti, the Giants' assistant general manager, issued a brief statement disputing sworn testimony by Drew's agent, Scott Boras.

Testifying April 20 in a grievance hearing, Boras said that the day before last June's amateur baseball draft, Colletti had indicated a willingness to offer Drew a four-year contract worth $11 million to $12 million if the Giants were able to select him.

``I have not made a financial offer, conditional or otherwise, to any amateur player - or any agent representing an amateur player - who wasn't selected by the San Francisco Giants in the draft,'' Colletti said.

In his testimony, Boras said that the day before the Phillies selected Drew in the draft, Colletti called to investigate the Florida State outfielder's contract demands in case the Giants - who drafted fourth, two picks after the Phillies - were able to select him.

After being told that the ``going rate'' would be $11 million to $12 million, Colletti called back later, Boras said, and gave him clear indications that ``the amount of money we were requesting was not an issue.''

In his testimony, Boras also said Colletti had asked if Boras would consider a four-year major-league contract, as well as the possibility of spreading the signing bonus over more than one year. Boras said they had agreed that the ``structure of the contract was workable,'' and he testified that Colletti ``essentially told us that the numbers were fine.''

Colletti initially declined to comment on Boras' testimony. He said yesterday that although ``I've known Scott a long time and I have great respect for Scott,'' Colletti's recollection of their pre-draft conversation was that he never had indicated how much money the Giants were willing to offer Drew.

``The primary purpose of my conversation with Scott Boras in regard to J.D. Drew,'' Colletti said in his statement, ``was of an exploratory nature, to determine the structure of the contract Boras and the player were seeking.''

Colletti declined to answer questions, saying: ``I don't want to say anything more while this matter is in front of an arbitrator.''

Boras has contended that any dispute about his testimony could be

``a matter of semantics.'' Legally, he noted, a club can't make an offer to a player before it drafts him. What Drew received, Boras said,

``was a conditional offer - the condition being `provided we draft the player.' '' Boras described conditional offers as ``customary.''

While Boras has declined to comment about any team or any specific conversation covered in his testimony, he has questioned why lawyers for Major League Baseball never called witnesses to attempt to dispute his accounts.

``I testified under oath that J.D. was offered a four-year major-league contract for $11 million,'' Boras said. ``They have my phone records and my notes. And no representative of a major-league team came forward to refute that.''

Yesterday, the lawyer representing Major League Baseball in the case said he had called no such witnesses because MLB believes any offer to Drew to be ``irrelevant'' to the grievance, which was brought by the Major League Baseball Players Association in an attempt to prevent Drew from going back into the draft if the Phillies fail to sign him.

The union contends that because Drew played last summer for the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League, he is no longer an amateur. MLB is arguing that the only real question is whether baseball officials had the right to change the name of the draft from ``amateur draft'' to ``first-year players draft'' without first getting the change approved by the union.

Frank Coonelly, the lawyer representing the baseball owners' Player Relations Committee, said the reason the PRC felt it was unnecessary to refute Boras' testimony about any offer or offers Drew received was that ``the issue before the arbitrator in this case is a very narrow question'' regarding what he termed ``clarifying changes'' to the draft rules.

``So offers purportedly made to J.D. Drew by clubs other than the Phillies - or the Phillies themselves - are completely irrelevant to the legal question before the arbitrator in this case,'' Coonelly said. ``This grievance has nothing to do with J.D. Drew, and the arbitrator has no jurisdiction to determine Mr. Drew's status under the major-league rules.''

The union believes otherwise. Its lawyer in the case, Michael Weiner, declined to comment yesterday.

``We anticipate a decision from the arbitrator in a week,'' Weiner said. ``I think it's inappropriate for any lawyer involved in this arbitration to comment at this time on the evidence before the arbitrator.''

Baseball's attorneys previously had declined to comment, as well. However, Coonelly yesterday went as far as to maintain that ``even if that testimony [concerning the alleged offers] were relevant, Mr. Boras conceded when pressed on cross-examination that no club made an $11 million or $12 million offer to J.D. Drew before the draft.''

Boras disputes that contention. He was adamant in his testimony that the Giants did indicate they would pay Drew that amount of money if they selected him.

Boras also testified that George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees' owner, had established Drew's market value by comparing his worth to that of Travis Lee, another college star, who signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for $10 million in 1996 after becoming a free agent after the draft through a technicality.

Coonelly charged that ``Mr. Boras' own notes make it very clear that neither the Yankees nor the Giants offered Mr. Boras $11 million or $12 million for J.D. Drew prior to his selection by the Phillies.''

During testimony, Boras said Coonelly was misinterpreting his notes.

A decision by arbitrator Dana Eischen in the case is expected next Tuesday. It would either make Drew a free agent or require him to re-enter the draft. The Phillies would have less than a week to negotiate with Drew before their exclusive negotiating rights expire at 12:01 a.m. May 26.

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