Homer Bailey and Scott Boras

Tom DubberkeCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2010

I just saw an SI.com article about Homer Bailey and that reminded me that I have been rooting for Bailey to do well.  He was the seventh player taken in the 2004 draft, and he shot through the Reds system and made it to the big league club by age 21.

He wasn’t ready.  Homer had major league stuff but not major league command.

Homer pitched poorly in Cincinnati and Louisville in 2008, but he put it together last year in both places.  Here is his ‘09 AAA line: 2.71 ERA, 89.2 IP, 87 hits, ten HRs and 27 walks allowed and 82 K’s.  Except for all the dingers, it’s an excellent line.

Homer is still only 24 in 2010, and I think he’s ready to build on his strong finish in ‘09.  The only thing I don’t like about Bailey is his name: Homer is not a good name for a pitcher.

I’ve been trying to think of something to say about the $8 million Johnny Damon contract.  I’ll say this: it was as good a contract as Damon could get after rejecting the Yankees’ reported two-year $14 million offer when no other team was willing to offer a second year.

As could be expected (in some quarters at least), there have been rumblings that Boras had a conflict of interest representing Damon and Matt Holliday.  A website called (I kid you not) No, You’re a Towel posted a particularly detailed analysis of this theory.

This all stems from attorney Jack Marshall’s Hardball Times piece from January 2009.  Marshall’s argument is that under the Model Rules of Professional Ethics Scott Boras, as a lawyer, has an unwaivable conflict of interest in representing free agents who play the same position.

However, the Model Rules are not the actual rules of professional conduct in many jurisdictions.  If Boras is smart, and he clearly is, he has his players sign statements at the beginning of the representation in which he discloses the potential conflict.

I really have a hard time feeling too sorry for the players who choose Boras as their agent.  So long as they are properly informed of the potential conflict up front, a lot of them will still choose Boras because of his proven record of results.  Also, a lot of players over-estimate their own abilities and value to teams, so they get the guy who will get the biggest possible contract for them, if they’re as good as they think.

Sometimes you have to protect people from their own stupidity or greed (think Bernie Madoff), but it’s always a question of exactly where to draw the line.  Protecting Johnny Damon from having to accept only $8 million to play baseball for another year, isn’t on my side of the line.