Know Thy Enemy: Scott Boras

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Know Thy Enemy:  Scott Boras

American sports agent Scott Boras (pictured above) has been at the center of all the Johnny Damon/Detroit Tiger talks lately.  The uber-agent, famous for sucking every cent out of baseball owners for his clients, refuses to get anything but top-dollar for Damon's services.  And really, why shouldn't he? That's his job.

But everyone hates Scott Boras.  Owners, general managers, sportswriters, fans, even many players can't stand the guy.  I'll bet his own mother wrinkles her nose when she hears his name.  Many folks say he is bad for the game.  So, this all got me interested in something.  Exactly who (or what) is Scott Boras?

Boras was born (or hatched?) in Sacramento, CA in November, 1952.  For those of you who think Brandon Inge is good and don't understand mathematics, that makes him 57 years old.  He attended the University of Pacific on a baseball scholarship and even led the team with a .312 batting average in 1972.  To this day, the team’s Most Improved Player Award is named after him.

Following his college career, he would go on to play four years in the minor league systems of the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs.  However, knee problems would end his baseball dreams and he would return to school and graduate with his law degree in 1982.  After law school, Boras worked as an associate in the pharmaceutical defense department of the Chicago firm Rooks, Pitts & Poust, defending drug companies against class-action lawsuits. 

I guess you can trace his first bits of evil to that time.

Boras' start as an agent came representing Mike Fischlin, a former high school teammate and major league shortstop for the Cleveland Indians.  He also represented and Bill Caudill, a former minor league teammate and closer for the Seattle Mariners.  Fischlin and Caudill both now work for Boras.

Caudill would be the guy that put Scott on the map when Boras later negotiated a $7.5 million deal with the Blue Jays for him in the mid-80’s.  That made Caudill the second highest-paid reliever in the game. Shortly after, Boras left his job at the law firm and became a full-time agent.

Close to 30 years later, Boras has had a big part in changing the financial structure of baseball, for better or worse.  He negotiated baseball’s first $50 million contract for Greg Maddux in 1997 (five years, $57.5 million).  In 1998, he delivered the first $100 million deal for Kevin Brown (seven years, $105 million).  And in 2000, he would trump himself with Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year $252 million deal, the biggest in history.

Like him or not, the man does his job. He gets every dollar he can for his players, whether they deserve it or not.  Many of baseball’s biggest bust contracts have been to Boras clients.  Todd Van Poppel got a then-record of $1.2 million after the 1990 draft.  The next year, Yankee "legend" Brien Taylor surpassed that with $1.55 million thanks to Boras.

The Kevin Brown deal mentioned above is among the worst in history for the Dodgers. Well, it was until Boras got L.A. to pay Darren Dreifort $55 million over five years in 2000.

In 2004, Boras got one-year-wonder, Adrian Beltre a five-year $64 million deal with Seattle. The next year, he struck Magglio Ordonez’s deal with Detroit and Kevin Millwood’s five-year $60 million deal in Texas.  Personally, I like "Maggs" a lot.  But many think that is one of the deals still haunting the Tigers today.

And perhaps the worst deal a team has ever signed (sorry, Mike Hampton) was to a Boras client in 2006.  Barry Zito, who has an arm that Johnny Damon laughs at, signed a seven-year $126 million deal to pitch for the San Francisco Giants.  How Boras pulled this one off is unbelievable to me. It’s probably more unbelievable to Giants fans.

Oh, and to show that some teams never learn, Boras got the Dodgers again in 2007 when they gave Andruw Jones a two-year $36.2 million deal to strike out a lot and get fatter every day. Luckily for us, he is going to be the White Sox DH this season. Thanks, Scott!

Tiger fans know Scott Boras well.  Rick Porcello’s deal out of the draft was done by Boras.  Boras just got Jacob Turner a $4.7 million signing bonus from Detroit, the biggest ever for a high school pitcher.  Current Tigers Gerald Laird, Zach Miner, Max Scherzer, Bobby Seay, and Ordonez are all represented by him.  Some ex-Tigers still playing that are clients of him include Edwin Jackson, Jair Jurrjens, Carlos Pena, Pudge Rodriguez, Dane Sardinha, Jarrod Washburn, and Jeff Weaver.

And now we come to Johnny Damon.  People are upset that the guy hasn’t signed. They think he’s crazy to just not jump on the Tigers’ deal, whatever it may be.  But why should he? It’s not spring training yet.  He has Scott Boras, the evil genius, on his side.  You never know what the man will end up getting for you.

Like him or not, more often than not, the guy gets what he wants.

He’d be my agent if I could hit a baseball out of the infield.

And finally, just for fun, here’s a quick list of other famous people that may or may not be represented by Scott Boras.*

-Satan
-Brett Favre
-The Jonas Brothers
-Adolph Hitler’s grandchildren
-OJ Simpson
-Sean Hannity
-The shark in Jaws
-Michael Vick
-Latrell Sprewell
-Freddy Krueger
-Peter King
-Rick Reilly
-Jigsaw
-Joe Buck
-Ozzie Guillen
-Joe Mauer’s right side-burn
-Bono
-Michael Irvin
-Claude Lemieux
-Luke Scott (only when playing Detroit)
-Bill Simmons
-That chick that wrote the Twilight books
-Darth Vader (Jeter?)
-Lynn Henning
-Drew Sharp

*They’re not…that I know of.

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