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Scott Boras and Voodoo Economics

by Gregory Pratt, Special to BaseballEvolution.com
October 25, 2007

The contempt I have for Scott Boras stems from the belief that he harms small market teams, fans, and by extension, the game of baseball with his contracts. I definitely believe him to be out-of-control, and I can't help but admire those organizations that refuse to meet his outrageous demands. Conversely, I have nothing but scorn for those who accept his nonsense for anything other than what it is (hello, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox!).

That's why I got such a big kick out of John Schuerholz immediately making it clear this offseason that he won't pay Andruw Jones the money Boras is requesting, (goodbye!), and why I got a bigger kick out of Schuerholz referring to Boras' contracts and figures as "voodoo economics." Schuerholz is, you see, a fairly conservative man, so anytime you hear such a person call something "voodoo economics," you've got to enjoy it. I mean, it's true.  As we'll soon discover, Scott Boras is all about smokescreens and voodoo. And the truth is that John Schuerholz was and is too intelligent for Scott Boras with regard to Andruw Jones, and he was too smart for Boras years ago when Alex Rodriguez first became a free agent and duped the Rangers into giving him full no-trade clauses and 252 million dollars.  Schuerholz had offered exactly half of that without any no-trade and was fine when Rodriguez walked into Texas, especially at the price.

Unfortunately, most owners and general managers aren't as smart as John Schuerholz, who would never consider giving Barry Zito the money given him and who would never sign someone to such a crippling contract as Rodriguez', especially without the ability to dump him elsewhere, even if his name is A-Rah and he's the best player since Babe Ruth (even though he's much more like Casey). Even though I'm skeptical about the rest of the league's general reasoning ability, I still have some trouble believing that anyone is willing to give him thirty million dollars a year, especially not for ten years until he's forty two years old. Boras is doubtful as well, but that's just added incentive for him to exaggerate and lawyer on Rodriguez' behalf.

Take Boras’ recent claims that Alex Rodriguez is a billion dollar player, due to marketing and other dollars he brings to the table. It's a delightful way to fool people into believing that his client is worth the biggest contract in baseball, but it's probably untrue. The Yankees certainly dispute his arguments, and so do the Red Sox, as it turns out that their investment in Daisuke Matsuzaka (please, no "Dice-K" -- you can pronounce six syllables) didn't pan out quite like Boras predicted it would.  Larry Lucchino, the president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox, recently called Boras' estimates of Red Sox residuals from Dice-K marketing being in the $20-million range "laughable." The Yankees, too, have scoffed at Boras' claims that Hideki Matsui was worth $21 million to them and that A-Rod boosts YES Network’s ratings.

And he wasn't all that great on the field, either.

W         L          CG         IP         H         R        ER       HR        BB        K          ERA      WHIP

15         12          1         204.2    191    100      100      25         80        201        4.40      1.32

So, newsflash: Scott Boras is by my estimation a liar (a lawyer) and his clients are, generally, overrated and to be avoided after they reach free agency for the first time. Develop your own talent or find better values in younger players. Nothing too outrageous, right?

No, the true "outrageous" thing is that Alex Rodriguez isn't worth twenty million a year, let alone thirty. That's why NY only wants him with a subsidy; that's why Texas can only truly afford to pay the subsidy. No player is worth a fifth of your payroll, especially not if your organization is capable of drafting and developing worth a damn, and no player is worth more than a fifth if you've got a smaller payroll. It doesn't matter if he's a monster with the bat and okay with the glove and okay on the basepaths.  Get some good young players, spread the money out, and find a star whose agent doesn't want your firstborn son.

I just hope that nobody gives into Boras' demands. I'd like to see organizations refuse to meet these demands, which would of course lower them, or else Rodriguez wouldn't play. That would be his loss and no one else's, assuming he even enjoys the game anymore. If the franchises do the right thing, perhaps Johan Santana can stay in Minnesota, Miguel Cabrera can be Florida's future, and Grady Sizemore won't break Cleveland's heart like Jim Thome did.

But hey, you know what I think would be funny? Really, really funny?

If Rodriguez were signed to a monster deal and got busted as a steroid user by the Mitchell commission or by a newspaper. That would be a laugh. Just hypothetically speaking, of course, but it's a thought that's crossed my mind several times. I'll make no bones about it: I would be stunned if Alex Rodriguez were a "clean" baseball player. Just looking at him, his numbers and the era? Maybe I'm too cynical. It is entirely possible that he became the youngest member of the 500 homerun club because the good Lord (or atomic fate) blessed (or chanced) him with the ability to mash like no one else.

But if I were signing Rodriguez, that'd be a concern of mine, coupled with natural questions about the general aging process of a baseball player and the length of the contract. I don't care if Rodriguez is on something and it's the best something ever made (better than Pud Galvin's testicle steroids and Mark McGwire's Operation Equine) or if he's just the most blessed player in the history of the game, he won't be worth thirty million a year in his age forty season, or twenty million, and likely not even fifteen. He'll be an albatross.




This article was written by a guest contributor to BaseballEvolution.com. You can be one as well. Mail your articles to submissions@baseballevolution.com.

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