Boras Blackballed in Boston?

Tony Massarotti does a post-mortem on the Red Sox’ unsuccessful pursuit of Mark Teixeira. Nothing all that shocking or new here, but then he says something interesting:

5. Can Boras and the Red Sox still do business?
The answer to this question is probably yes, but one can only wonder. Part of the problem is this type of negotiation is that people begin spinning the media and whispering into friendly ears when things get ugly, which only complicates the process. Just once, it would be nice if people answered questions honestly – and if reporters all eschewed “background’’ and “informational’’ discussions for the purpose of getting to the truth.

Boras still represents a number of Red Sox clients, including J.D. Drew and Daisuke Matsuzaka. He also represents Jason Varitek, who is now a free agent. The Sox’ last two conclusive dealings with Boras have involved the Manny Ramirez fiasco and Teixeira, raising serious questions about the relationship between the agent and team. Boras seems to harbor no ill will toward Epstein, though his camp is quick to portray Sox president Larry Lucchino as the bad cop given Boras’ adversarial relation with Lucchino.

In the wake of the Teixeira development, has any damage been done to the relationship between agent and team?

Or, in the words of the Corleone family, is this all chalked up to being just part of a dirty business?

Reader MooseinOhio — who sent me the link (thanks, Moose!) — says:

Boras certainly walks a fine line in his dealings (e.g. referencing ‘phantom’ deals on the table, stretching the process out and affecting a team’s ability to have an option B and C still available) and I would be curious what would happen to his efforts if the Sox pulled a Frank Wren and refused to deal with him in the future as one of the big money players took their chips to another table.

I don’t know how likely that is. Frank Wren’s recent fatwa against Arn Tellem and his crew wasn’t an isolated incident in Bravesland, as John Schuerholz all but gave up on Boras clients in 2003 after Greg Maddux’s decision to accept arbitration when, allegedly, Boras assured Schuerholz that he wouldn’t. In short, the Braves have a history of getting emotional and arguably irrational about this stuff, so their example may not be the best one.

Still, one has to wonder how long Boras can get away with this. The part of me that values professional ethics and people keeping their word often makes me wish that his business would crater. The part of me that understands how the world really works, however, convinces me that Boras, whatever his methods, will continue to be outrageously successful until the exact moment that insanely talented ballplayers stop hiring him.

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  1. Michael said...

    I despise Boras.  Baseball is a business, sure, but it’s a game first.  If he didn’t auction off his players and make processes with him a pain in the neck, I truly don’t believe contracts and money would be AS big a deal.  Maybe he sped up a process that was inevitable; but he’s making baseball players seem like money-grubbing divas and even if they are, I’m sick of him and his dramatic, greedy business.

    I don’t even like the MLBPA’s existence.  You can imagine how I feel about Boras.

  2. Mark said...

    “Just once, it would be nice if … reporters all eschewed ‘background’ and ‘informational’ discussions for the purpose of getting to the truth.”

    Wow, pot; call the kettle black much?

  3. Jimmy P said...

    IIRC, the WhiteSox have a strict “no Boras clients” mantra throughout their organization.

    They do.  I believe Joe Crede was the last Boras represented client on the team.  After he wouldn’t even talk about an extension, Kenny said that they wouldn’t deal with Boras clients.  I believe that they didn’t even offer Crede a contract this offseason.

  4. Michael said...

    Doubtful, Moose.

    Boras isn’t a player, and he isn’t represented by the MLBPA.

    If the PLAYERS Boras represents were blackballed, that’s collusion.  I’m sure no team would deny working with a Boras client with minimal or no interaction from Boras himself, a la A-Rod.

  5. Allie Fox said...

    According to Boras in an interview last night on “MLB Hot Stove,” HE was the one who brokered the deal with the Yankees.  He said that his relationship with A-Rod is a good as it ever was.

    I understand that he is good at what he does and does what he is supposed to do but he certainly makes it hard for teams to go forward when he plays the games that he does (e.g. Derek Lowe and the Mets).

  6. jgiffen said...

    I really don’t see the problem with the guy.  It’s fine to say that he hurts teams, as a RS fan I understand that after the Manny/Texierra debacle.  But the players need to think about themselves as well b/c the teams are thinking of themselves to begin with.  If you look at how the whole arbitration process and how first six years of a players carreer are begun then I have no problem with first time FA’s cashing in.  IMO these guys have limited windows and no one knows when a freak injury can happen.  When you have the opportunity to get a market corrected contract I say take it, if you can live with the consequences.  Get what you can when you can, for my money if I’m a FA i’m signing Boras.  Teams can’t always have their cake and eat it too.

  7. Chuck said...

    Please understand that Boras is NOT stupid.  He is well aware of what teams are in need of the players he represents.

    I have no doubt that the Yankees were not that involved in the process with Teixeira for the most part, just on the periphery for the majority of the time.  However, when things were getting “close”, Boras probably contacted Cashman and said something like, “Do you really want Swisher on first, when you can have Tex for 8 yrs/180 mil?”  In Cashman’s shoes, I’d have done the same thing as he did – SIGN HIM!

    No matter what the Red Sox offered, it is obvious – to me, at least – that the Yankees were in greater need here than the Red Sox.  As a result, Boras was always going to contact them with a final proposal to accept or reject, depending on whether they wanted to make the deal or not.

    This is just the way the “game” is played.

  8. Conor said...

    On of the reasons that Boras is such a great agent is his willingness to throw himself under the bus for his clients. Being an agent is an ugly job and part of the job is getting owners and fans to direct their anger and frustration regarding money disagreements toward the agent and not the players, even when these disagreements are often caused by the player.

    In the Texiera case, it’s Boras claiming that he personally negotiated the deal with the Yankees. I’ve read other articles that suggested that Texiera really preferred the Yankees all along. But it was very important that the public and the Yankee and Red Sox organizations think that Boras was the one playing them and not Texiera. After all, once these negotiations are over, Boras steps out of the picture until it’s time for a new negotiation while Texiera has to play for/against these teams every day.

    The A-Rod case is another example. I believe that it was really A-Rod’s decision not to negotiate with the Yankees to avoid opting out. I think he had his mind set on opting out, so Boras supported him. Then, when the decision blew up in A-Rod’s face, Boras took the heat BUT made sure to send A-Rod to patch things up. It was imperative that A-Rod be one to smooth things over since it was his relationship. Boras needed only take as much of the ire and frustration away from A-Rod and onto himself.

    Let’s face it, the only way to be a good agent is to make people hate you and blame you instead of hating and blaming their clients.

  9. tadthebad said...

    Chuck, I think you’re correct.  This is why, despite what NYY fans will tell you, the BRS are not at all on the same level as the Yanks.  The Sox aren’t underdogs or poor as they can outbid all but one, maybe two, teams.  But in terms of financial might, they’re not close to the Yanks and, as such, the Yanks are the only team that can always play the game you described…waiting until all other offers are in and then pouncing with a larger guaranteed contract.  I don’t blame them for it, it’s a smart ploy.  But, it DOES make it even more satisfying when the bombers fail, which, by their own standards, they’ve done a lot this decade.

    I don’t see the Sox terminating any business association with Boras…they’re too grounded and too smart to take themselves out of the running for any number of elite players.

  10. Ron said...

    Millionares getting richer. Wouldn’t it be better if we could put a moratorium on salary information and make it all confidential. the less we hear we about it, the more we can all just enjoy the game.

  11. GBS said...

    I’m still stuck on Michael’s comment:

    “I don’t even like the MLBPA’s existence.”

    What, you preferred when the owners had nearly-complete control over the players, and, therefore, kept the vast majority of the money for themselves?

    I’ve never watched a game to see an owner; I watch to see the players, so I’m happy when they get as big a cut as possible.

  12. pete said...

    I like Scott Boras, and I hope that he uses every tool at his disposal to get the final penny for any player that wants it. If feelings are bruised along the way, so be it. If his dealings cost his clients potential employers, so be it.

    I’m not sure why people get so worked up about it. When a team actually refuses to sign a Boras client and that client loses money, things will change. Until then, I can’t see why Boras should change his tactics.

  13. Michael said...

    GBS -

    I didn’t say I never liked the MLBPA’s existence, I’m saying I don’t like it now.

    By MLB rule, the players are made man, all multi-millionaires.  I want to see them reap the profits of their team as much as the next guy, but now all they do is push guys like CC and Tex to make the biggest dollar amount possible, and it ends up looking like a greedy auction.

    Even if a player does want to make the last dollar possible, because for the last 40 years of his life he’ll never come close to that again, I get that.  Most guys never even get to the point where they get to have an amazing mind-shattering contract.

    My issue is that the MLBPA just isn’t needed now.  Between players and agencies and precedents of previous contracts, I think the players are safe without the MLBPA.  At the very least, they should shut up when a player is trying to decide how he wants to spend the rest of his enriched career.  They butt in more than anything else.  They were certainly needed for a long time, but not now.

    Beyond that, in a perfect world, I wish players would truly go where their heart is, if that goes against the few million more they could make elsewhere.
    So many times I hear players say “I’d love to be back, and I know they want me back, so I hope something works out.”
    If that’s true, then all the team has to do is offer something decent, and the player should take it.  Players lack more and more loyalty as they get thrown to make more and more dollars.

    The ugliness and parameters of it all just sadden me.

  14. Aaron said...

    For all the talk about Boras, I don’t even know what he looks like, and he’s not the man who signs the contracts.

  15. Jim Casey said...

    Scott Boras is the worst thing to happen to baseball since steroids. He does not care about the teams, the fans, or even his own clients. All he wants is for his players to sign the biggest contract, whether it is in the player’s long term best interests or not. All he wants is his cut. He orchestrated A-Rod’s opting out of the biggest contract in baseball solely because he needed the commission on the new deal. Even worse with Manny. He becomes his agent, then leads him out of town so he can get the money from the new deal. He’s a greedy scumbag who only cares about his own money. It’s surprising he’s not an owner.

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