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Remembering the Drafting of Luke Hochevar

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the recent turmoil of the Brady Aiken-gate that Houston, Aiken, the MLB, and the Union are currently going through it reminded me of a similar case that's dear to all our hearts.

A year before Royals fans would be aware that their team was going to take Luke Hochevar with their first pick, #1 overall, Luke went through an Aiken-like debacle with the Dodgers.

Hochevar was regarded as one of the better pitchers available in the 2005 draft . While 2005 saw a large front load of hitters ranked 1-4 by BA (Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Cameron Maybin, and Troy Tulowitzki), Hochevar followed Mike Pelfrey, #5 overall, for the best pitcher in the draft.

Like many before him, Hochevar had agreed to be advised by Scott Boras and Boras demanded a high bonus for Hochevar. In the same vein as past Boras clients Hochevar fell due to his bonus demands and was selected as the 40th overall pick by the Dodgers.

Reportedly negotiations were slow between the two sides. Hochevar was still a junior and could return to Tennessee for his final year then re-enter the draft next year and the Dodgers were aware of Hochevar's demand but didn't want to pay that high for a 40th pick. That would also be the Dodger largest bonus ever given.

Where things really got whacky was over Labor Day weekend. Hochevar attended a birthday event for a former Tennessee player, Eli Iorg. While Hochevar had decided to deal exclusively with Boras, Iorg agent Matt Sosnick was attempting to woo Hochevar at the dinner table.

Despite Hochevar saying that he was happy with Boras, Sosnick persuaded Hochevar that he could have a signing bonus worth $3,000,000 within an hour. After debating the decision with his father, who ultimately left it up to Luke, Hochevar decided to take Sosnick up on his word after unsuccessfully being able to reach Boras. Hochevar then faxed a signed letter asking the Dodgers Scouting Director, Logan White, to deal with Sosnick.

After a passing back and forth of dollar values, Hochevar, Sosnick, White, and the Dodgers settled on $2.98M.

Like Ari Gold at his most angered, Boras was finally able to contact Hochevar and convinced him to renege on his agreed to deal and re-enter the fray.

"Thank heavens I contacted Scott and got my wits back under me," Hochevar said. "He got it all under control. I was about to sign a very bad contract. I got my head screwed back on and realized what was going on."

When White heard that Hochevar had switched back to Boras he stated that the $2.9M offer would only be honored if Sosnick was Luke's agent and not Boras. Otherwise the Dodgers would rescind the off and knock it down to $2.3M.

Sosnick still maintained his stance as Hochevar's agent while Boras said he would not deal with White but only Paul DePodesta the Dodgers GM who Boras had a long, and wealthy, relationship with.

A dispute would continue between Boras, Sosnick, and the Players AssociationHochevar over who was Luke's agent. Ultimately Luke would not sign with the dodgers and would play amateur ball with the Fort Worth Cats and re-enter the 2006 draft where the Royals had the first overall pick.

Hochevar's strategy paid off, even with Boras attached, as he went first overall that year and ended with a $3.5M bonus and $5.25M guaranteed deal.

"I learned a great deal of lessons through all of that," Hochevar said. "I really learned the people I can trust, which is definitely Scott Boras."

Hochevar would have a solid two years in the minors covering 2006 and part of 2007 before being called up to the majors for a brief 12 innings.

You already know the story of Luke from then on. He was always able to tantalize us with his front line ability such as throwing an 80-pitch complete game, but would mix that with just awful outings. Despite his rotation struggles, Hochevar has been the 5th best pitcher taken in the first round by fWAR. He would average 1.6 fWAR over his six seasons so far. Obviously not what you want out of the first overall pick, but not a total train wreck (so that's good?).