Moments ago, the Seattle Mariners shocked the baseball world by reaching agreement with high school catcher Alex Jackson. Reports from noted journalists Jim Callis and Jon Heyman indicate that Jackson will receive a $4,200,000 bonus and head out to a Mariners minor-league affiliate as soon as he passes a physical examination. The young man will then continue to be paid to play baseball for Seattle Mariners affiliates until such time as he chooses to stop, or, more likely, until the team deems his services no longer worth their money.
"We are very excited to welcome Mr. Jackson to the Mariner family," said Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik, "and we look forward to watching him struggle at the major-league level for years to come." Zduriencik also mentioned that, in addition to his $4.2M bonus, Jackson will receive a gift basket including a copy of The Seattle Mariners Guide to Hitting in the Minors But Not the Majors and a $50 voucher for a lesson from an outside hitting coach.
When asked to comment, Mariners president and financial guru Kevin Mather expressed confidence in the signing. "As an organization," he stated, "we came to the conclusion that acquiring the right to make Mr. Jackson wear our team's uniform while playing baseball was the best possible use of 4,200,000 dollars." Another team executive (who prefers to remain anonymous) says that the team also considered buying 840,000 $5 mosquito nets to donate to charity, but ultimately concluded that Jackson's blend of plate patience and power was a better bet.
For his part, Jackson seems thrilled with the Mariners' decision to give him millions of dollars. A source close to negotiations told this reporter: "Alex is naturally excited for the chance to play baseball in front of the hundreds of fans at Safeco Field, but for him the real draw was the money. You can buy a lot with four point two million dollars, you know." Speculation as to how Jackson will spend his newfound riches has run rampant on Twitter, but no two sources can agree on his hobbies - if he even has any. When pressed for a comment on his plans for the days before his professional debut, Jackson responded evasively: "When I'm not playing baseball, I like to... hang out with my brother... and just get ready for the next time I have to play baseball." *
*actual Alex Jackson quote
Reception of the signing was mixed. Agent Scott Boras, who advised Jackson during negotiations (but was in no way acting as an agent (because Alex Jackson would never bring an agent to the negotiation table (unlike that filthy cheater Ben Wetzler, who must be punished))), called the move "absolutely brilliant". "The Mariners did a fantastic job in signing my clien - er, advisee," said Boras. "I can't wait until he shows them just how good of an investment he was by hitting free agency and leaving their righty-killing ballpark in the dust." On the other hand, SB Nation's Grant Brisbee was more critical, grading the pick an "F".
This is the fifth time the Mariners have picked sixth. Their last four picks: Spike Owen, Darnell Coles, Tito Nanni, and Marc Newfield. Oh, but I'm sure THIS Mariners team knows what they're doing.
-Grant Brisbee, SB Nation
Mariners head scout Tom McNamara, the man who first chose to engage Jackson in negotiations, begs to differ. "Alex and those other four players are only similar in the sense that they will all eventually die alone and scared. Also, they were all picked sixth overall by the Mariners in the Rule 4 first year player draft. Otherwise, they're as distinct as five people can possibly be."
Perhaps the most preachy commentary of all came from local Mariners blogger Logan Davis, who wrote on Lookout Landing: "I guess, in the big picture, giving millions of dollars to a high schooler in the hopes that he will grow up to be a baseball star is sort of absurd. No one can possibly know if he'll be any good, and God knows there are other causes that need the money more than sports. But if the Mariners were going to pick a young player to dream on, no matter what... well, Alex Jackson was just about the best choice imaginable."
Only time will tell.