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Friday, December 19, 2008
“Call”Red Sox owner John Henry emailed the media late last night and said, in regards to Mark Teixeira, "after hearing about his other offers, however, it seems clear that we are not going to be a factor." I think the Boston Globe pretty much nails it with this comment:
Henry's reference to the "other offers" leaves open the possibility he is calling the bluff of Boras, who has been known to inflate the value of offers and the number of suitors pursuing his client. Boras represented former Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, who signed with the New York Yankees in 2005 after the Boston brass apparently refused to believe that the offer from their archrivals was real.
My guess is that Boras spun puffed-up stories about the Yankees' and Angels' interest that Henry didn't buy, and that Henry simply doesn't believe Teixeira's is truly interested in signing with the Orioles or Nats. If that's the calculus, good for Henry for recognizing it.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:58am
My struggle is more philosophical in nature than practical as I understand that what athletes, even the wealthiest, earn can often pale in comparison to corporate executives and many other white collar folks - John Henry is case in point.
It just grate me the wrong way that one of the wealthiest teams in sports (i.e. Yankees) has the gall to request the level of public financing they have and then break the bank in signing players. They reap all the benefits of capitalism while seeking financing via corporate welfare.
My frustration is also with communities that vote for public financing agreements or do not challenge their legislators/elected officials that push such funding schemes while voting down schools levies and recoil if a tax for the public good is ever discussed. Because of the careers both my wife and I have pursued we see the negative effects that lack of public funding can have as my wife sees it at the macro level and I deal with it on a more personal level.
I am a Columbus Bluejackets fan in large part because John McConnell and Nationwide step to the plate after Columbus voted down funding a hockey arena and spent their own monies to build Nationwide Arena. I wish more cities voted down these financing schemes making the wealthy communities members step up if it truly is in the best interest of the community to have such a franchise.
Posted 12/19 at 03:44 PM
I definitely have a problem with lying because it’s lying. It absolutely DOES NOT follow that if Boras says there’s a $250 million offer on the table and the Sox offer $260 million then the Sox value him at $260 million. He might only be worth $240 million to the Sox and anything above that would bring them less of a return. However, they may very well still pay that $20 million as a premium since having the asset is better than not having it. In this case, it turns out that they paid $20 million because someone lied to them.
Whatever your morality or basis for principle, lying in business dealings (and even “inflating the truth” to some extent) is unethical practice. It’s why we have the SEC, among other reasons, even though the SEC doesn’t have any specific jurisdiction over something like this as far as I know. If Boras is allowed to lie, why shouldn’t teams be allowed to collude? If you open that can of worms, all sorts of things are going to come crawling out.
Posted 12/19 at 04:47 PM
To be honest, I don’t really hate Boras, at all. I understand every complaint with him, but as I see it, he’s just representing his clients as vigorously as possible, putting their apparent desires above any sort of ethical quandaries.
That said, I love that the Red Sox have decided that they don’t want to play Boras’ games. Whether they sniffed an attempt to make them bid against themselves, or if they just don’t think Teixeira is worth more than they’re offering, I think it’s fabulous that (finally) a team has realized that the consumers can (and do) dictate the market. Boras is a grocer trying to tell you apples are worth $10 a pound, because, I mean, damnit, they’re good apples. But if you’ll take the somewhat smaller apples down the road for $1.50 a pound, then you do it, right?
Posted 12/19 at 05:08 PM
Daniel: And what would you call it when teams, throughout history, have told players: “We just can’t afford to pay you X”? They’ve lied the whole way through, and I can assure you that they aren’t going to be paying anyone more than is profitable for them.
If the Red Sox choose to offer Mark Teixeira $260M, it’s because they’ve decided that they can pay him that much and still make a profit. And if he’s worth that much to them, why should he accept a lower offer and allow them to take the rest as profit?
Posted 12/19 at 06:34 PM
Pete, I’m not saying Teixeira should accept less than what someone is willing to pay him. I’m arguing that the means to get to that point are unethical and not consistent with the system baseball has set up to sign free agents.
In my opinion there is a huge difference in these two statements:
1. “Based on this data that I’ve compiled, the price for Teixeira is $250 million.”
2. “Based on this offer we already have (which doesn’t really exist) for $249 million, the price for Teixeira is $250 million.”
One is ethical and one is not. Is that not true? It doesn’t really matter which side gets/pays the extra money - as a business person, I feel the process needs to be kept aboveboard, otherwise it’s going to escalate into an even bigger mess.
As for your example of teams telling players, “We can’t afford to pay you X,” of course it’s unethical if it’s a lie. And I would be against that. But “afford” is also a very ambiguous term - teams have budgets with broad categories and can easily (without lying) justify that statement to virtually anyone. Because owners can say: “You want $10 million, but our budget says that we only have $8 million to spend here, because we have $X mil here and $Z mil here, and that gives us a bottom line of $50 million, which is the required rate of return our investors have specified.” It’s then an agent’s job to explain how an extra $2 million in salary would actually increase the rate of return, etc. There’s actual negotiations taking place with no dishonesty.
Boras, on the other hand, CANNOT justify telling a team there’s a certain offer on the table when that offer doesn’t exist. It’s blatant lying and disrupts the system in a way that doesn’t jive with free market principles.
Posted 12/19 at 07:15 PM
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