Is Scott Boras Really Good for Major League Baseball?

Patrick LanguzziContributor IIIJuly 30, 2011

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 21:  Sports agent Scott Boras (R) talks with Washington Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner (L) during pregame warmups at Nationals Park August 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. Boras represents Stephen Strasburg, a right handed pitcher from San Diego State University and the overall first round pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft, who signed with the Nationals earlier this week wth a record contract for an amateur player.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

He has a billion dollar smile and a list of clients longer than Shaquille O’Neil’s wing span. He’s considered Major League Baseball's super agent.

In 2006 Baseball America named him the most influential non-player in 25 years, beating out commissioner Bud Selig.  MLB has had to change its rules in response to him on multiple occasions. 

His list of clients include Matt Holliday, Jacoby Ellsbury, Prince Fielder, Magglio Ordonez, Johnny Damon and Robinson Cano—just to name a few. The list goes on and on.

It’s been said there are fans and teams alike that hate him for fear that he is destroying Major League Baseball. 

We’re talking about Scott Boras.

Boras was the first agent to negotiate a contract that exceeded $50 million (Greg Maddux), $100 million (Kevin Brown) and $200 million (Alex Rodriguez).

So, if you’re a player, you want him or can’t live without him and if you're MLB management you really can’t bear the thought of dealing with him.

Consider how Boras has changed major league baseball over the years.

He has single-handedly driven up player payroll so that mostly exclusive big-market teams (with few exceptions) can afford to pay these elite players and stay competitive year after year.

In 1996 Boras was able to find a stipulation in major league rules to have draft picks declared free agents and get more money for his clients.  Baseball responded by changing its rules on behalf of Boras successfully evading the draft.

In 1997 MLB again had to amend its rules on behalf of Boras and his grievance (which Boras won) filed on J.D. Drew, now called the “First-Year Player Draft.”

2007 marked the year the collective bargaining agreement established an Aug. 15 deadline for draft picks to sign.  This came as a result of Boras advising his clients to wait as long as possible to sign. 

In 2009 Boras was able to negotiate the largest contract in draft history—Stephen Strasburg’s $15.1 million—and Donavan Tate’s $6.25 million signing bonus, the largest for a high school player.

Some of the controversial signings surrounding Boras include his over-inflated long-term contractual prices for clients over and above the players’ market value.  This poses an issue for teams when players can no longer perform commensurate to their compensation.

Smaller market teams often avoid Boras’ draft clients because of the high-dollar contracts often sought after for players who’ve never played in the minor leagues. An example of this is Rick Ankiel in 1997. 

It’s been stated that the average contract value for a Boras client is $33.4 million in comparison to all other agent contract values of $7.6 million.

So is Scott Boras really good for major league baseball?