Every industry has its powerful figures. Hollywood has Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Ovitz, the culinary world has Gordon Ramsay and in the world of baseball, there's Scott Boras.
For nearly two decades, this man has had a reputation as being one of the most hard-nosed agents when it comes to contract negotiating.
His long list of A-list clients like Prince Fielder and Jayson Werth probably appreciate his negotiation style, asking for amounts of money that would make Warren Buffett go "...damn."
Why, just last week, Boras got the Detroit Tigers to offer Fielder a nine-year deal worth $214 million. Tigers fans, Fielder and Boras were probably thrilled about the deal, but the sad truth is that the super-agent is ruining baseball.
I know there are some of you out there who think that Boras should be free of blame. His job is to get the best deal for his clients, so why get mad at him for working hard to do just that? It's what he's paid to do, and to do any less than his best would put him out of business.
Call me old-fashioned, but allow me to explain myself.
I grew up among old-school baseball fans, ones who worshipped the likes of Mickey Mantle and Roberto Clemente and spent their weekends either watching a game or playing Strat-O-Matic. To this day, I remember being three years old and getting my first pack of baseball cards from my grandfather, who would later read me the epic baseball poem "Casey at the Bat."
That being said, the baseball I grew up loving was one of players who played out of love for the game. Sure, the money was nice, but it was secondary. These were men who had a legitimate passion and played on a field of honor. They loved the fans and never dreamed of leaving them.
Now that Boras is around, all honor and loyalty is dead. Instead of staying with the one team that made them a star and that they helped turn into a contender, players are more likely to go play where the money is.
A perfect example of this can be found in Boras' own client, Prince Fielder. The man had become a legend for the Milwaukee Brewers and played a big role in getting them back to the playoffs, but he instead held out for months until he got his current contract with the Detroit Tigers.
While the deal is sure to help the Tigers, they will regret it in the long run, because Fielder's build will have him moving from first base to DH very soon, and no DH is worth $20 million a year or more.
Still, the contract is guaranteed and with little to no teams who will take on that much payroll via a trade, the Tigers could be screwed.
Simply put, Boras' negotiating style is ruining the integrity of the game and could possibly bankrupt teams, and the man doesn't even know it. Instead of being a rational human being and saying to a team, "My client likes it here. What will it take to keep him on the team?", Boras instead acts like his bratty clients and immediately goes, "My client wants X amount per year."
The fact is that the man turns his clients into headcases and makes them think that they're worth more than they are, case in point Alex Rodriguez.
Following the 2000 season, Rodriguez and the Mariners had just made it to the ALCS and were looking to get better. Instead of staying, Rodriguez went for the big money and signed a then-record 10-year deal worth $252 million. Seattle did fine without him, winning 116 games in 2001, but you see my point.
Yet, in 2008, Rodriguez made a shocking admission in that he didn't want to play for the Rangers but for the New York Mets. However, he went to Texas because Boras convinced him to sign there, aka Boras just wanted a fatter commission.
The Rangers also ended up trading Rodriguez to the New York Yankees prior to the 2004 season and had to front most of his remaining salary, so there we have an example of how Boras' style screws a team.
Yet, the fact that he was so manipulative to the point where he actually convinced a player to sign for more money instead of following his heart is just plain disgusting. Baseball is an honorable sport and a team game and to be successful at it, as "Damn Yankees" says, "you gotta have heart!"
Since Boras has come along, baseball's heart has slowly become frozen, and if you ask me, something needs to be done about it before every player is just another symbol of greed.
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