Yesterday, Chris Gilmore posted the preliminary information for 2010 Bowman Chrome. Included were lots of interesting nuggets. As expected, Strasburg gets a chrome autograph. Unexpectedly, this product is going to release in October and not August. Even more unexpectedly there were three names included on the autograph checklist that I never expected to see as prospect autographs – Tim Beckham, Yonder Alonso and Brett Wallace.
These three minor leaguers were some of the cornerstones of Razor’s exclusive signing class of 2008. Razor Signature Series, Razor Letterman and Razor Metal were sold with the knowledge that these exclusive signees would only make it into Topps products as autographs either, a. after the three year exclusive contract was up or b. after they were called up to the MLB and became available for “RC” cards. This is the reason that many prospectors bought cases and singles of these Razor exclusives, not because they were in love with the Razor brand (like many are with Chrome) but because they liked the players and the exclusivity.
I still own some of the Razor Metal cards I bought and so to see this checklist yesterday was somewhat disheartening. If they lose the exclusivity factor, the value will plummet.
I sent an email to Brian Gray of Razor this morning noting my surprise and here is his response:
I spoke to the agent for Beckham and Yonder. They HAVE NOT committed to do this product. Our contracts are still in force and valid. I expect Yonder and Wallace to be called up imminently which would make them available to Topps.
In Tim Beckham’s case, Tim has approached us with an interest in buying out of the remaining year on his deal. While I cannot comment on this at this time, we always consider any strategic opportunities with respect to any assets we own. With that being said, I also cannot rule out the possibility we would entertain buyout offers should Yonder and or Brett wish to compensate us to shorten the contract length (in the event they are not called up).
He also noted in a later email, that a legal letter was sent to Topps today about this issue.
All this really doesn’t clear the murky waters too much but I think it is reasonable to interpret this: There is a distinct possibility that exclusive Razor signees will make it into Bowman Chrome as autographs and that possibility is greater than it was just a year ago. Either a. the players (Topps) might buy out the Razor contracts or b. Razor could potentially sell autographs to Topps.
This is most certainly supposition on my part, a business owner who isn’t “using” these contracts at the moment would of course want derive revenue from them if possible. At the same time, this will be a disappointment (and perhaps lost future revenue due to customer loss) to anyone who bought Razor if it does indeed occur.
Stay tuned on this one, Days of Our Lives Razor style is still unfolding.