Given his high-profile stature and flair of the limelight, Johnny Manziel was probably warned to be leery of potential hangers-on. However, it’s doubtful anyone could have anticipated a Major League Baseball franchise jumping on the Manziel train.
OK, so maybe it’s harsh to suggest the San Diego Padres drafted Johnny Manziel in the 28th round Saturday as a publicity stunt. After all, Manziel batted over .400 as a sophomore and junior, playing shortstop for the Tivy High School baseball team. Just maybe, the Padres have been scouting Manziel for some time now.
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) June 4, 2014
And perhaps the front office liked how he looked in a Padres cap and jersey when Manziel threw out the first pitch last spring.
— Mr. September (@Dubsco) May 17, 2013
Sadly, this wreaks of publicity stunt. The Padres organization has shown an affinity for drafting college quarterbacks who put their baseball careers on the back burner in order to focus on the gridiron. San Diego drafted Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens in 2012, a move so unexpected that when I asked him about it that year, he said he thought someone was pranking him.
Interesting managerial tactics being employed in San Diego. Small wonder, then, that the Padres are 13 games back in the NL West and fading every day.
Of course, this strategy of drafting college quarterbacks might actually pay dividends a year from now. Florida State’s Jameis Winston will be eligible for the 2015 MLB Draft, and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner is a viable baseball prospect.
Imagine the Padres landing Heisman winners in consecutive years, a rare feat for NFL franchises, say nothing of Major League Baseball. Too bad San Diego has as much chance ever sending Winston out on the diamond as it does Manziel–which is to say, zero.
Winston will be a first-round pick in next spring’s NFL Draft, much as new Cleveland Brown Manziel this year. The safer play when taking a college quarterback is how the Boston Red Sox selected last year, taking Florida Gators starter Jeff Driskel.
No, this wasn’t about a drafting a talented athlete San Diego brass hopes can one day find a place in the club. Don’t be surprised if the Single-A farm team Lake Elsinore Storm host a Johnny Manziel jersey night at some point this season.
It wouldn’t be the first time someone other than Manziel was profiting from his jersey.