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Thread: Interesting Article About Scott Boras' Operation

  1. #1
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Interesting Article About Scott Boras' Operation

    This article is from this morning's NY Times. There are a number of former Reds mentioned in the article, several of whom work for Boras now.

    Lesser Lights Get Chance to Shine for Boras

    It is a winter meetings tradition, like the eager job-seekers, the Christmas tree in the lobby or Tommy Lasorda backslapping old pals. At some point each day, the agent Scott Boras will march from one elevator to another, carrying a well-worn leather briefcase stuffed with information on his free agents. Reporters will crowd around him, and executives will notice him.

    Boras, 55, always has a prize to market at the meetings, like Kevin Brown, who signed a seven-year, $105 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the meetings in 1998; Alex Rodriguez in 2000 (10 years, $252 million); Andruw Jones this winter. But for every splashy name, Boras has a player at the lower end of baseball’s salary scale, an undercard to the main event when he meets with teams.

    This week, he will try to convince teams that Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove winner coming off a down season, is worth $20 million a year. He will also try to find jobs for pitcher Ron Villone and outfielder David Newhan, just as he once did for journeymen like Chad Kreuter, Craig Shipley and Kurt Stillwell.

    “I know he probably had his toughest negotiations because of what I did, compared to what some of his other clients did,” said Kreuter, a catcher who played for seven teams and retired in 2003. “I didn’t have great numbers, so my worth to a team was in the intangibles.”

    A month ago, it seemed as if this year’s meetings in Nashville would be a stage for Boras to hold another Rodriguez auction. But Rodriguez has already agreed to a 10-year deal with the Yankees, reaching the basic parameters without Boras, who had irritated the Yankees by exercising an opt-out clause.

    Boras was left to negotiate the bonus package, no-trade clause and contract language, but he said he achieved his desired result.

    “I want the player to play where he wants to play and do what he wants to do,” he said. “That’s my job. If my client has ideas and methods and ways to get things done, my job is providing information and facilitating his interest in getting a deal done.”

    Boras also never had a chance to shop Kenny Rogers, a veteran starter who dropped Boras after 17 years and struck his own deal with Detroit, thereby avoiding an agent’s commission.

    But Boras’s business thrives, with the usual array of All-Stars and first-round picks, and a platoon of players whose contracts do not create headlines. Newhan, who was let go by the Mets last month, hired Boras a few years ago.

    “I was a little tentative at first because they have such big-name guys that I figured I’d get lost in the shuffle, but that hasn’t been the case at all,” Newhan said. “I’m sure he talks with Alex more than he talks to me, but I’m all right with that. Just because he’s doing that, I don’t feel he’s representing me any less.”

    Every half-hour during the season, Boras said, a staff member sends updates on every client to his BlackBerry. When Newhan homered in his first at-bat in 2004, after missing 2002 with a shoulder injury and playing in the minors in 2003, Boras excitedly called him after the game.

    But with roughly 130 clients in the majors and minors, Boras needs to use staff members for much of his communication with players. Newhan usually deals with Mike Fiore, a member of the 1988 Olympic baseball team who, like Boras, played in the minors.

    Boras was once Fiore’s agent, and Boras’s staff of roughly 40 reads like a checklist from a pack of baseball cards in the 1980s or early 1990s: Bob Brower, Don Carman, Bill Caudill, Scott Chiamparino, Mike Fischlin, Jim McNamara, Jeff Musselman and Stillwell all work for Boras. Some active clients aspire to join the list.

    “Scott and I have had discussions about coming to work for the corporation,” said Alex Ochoa, a former Mets outfielder who now plays in Japan. “I’ll be helping him out in the Florida area.”

    Ochoa last played in the majors for the Los Angeles Angels in 2002. After that season, when the Chunichi Dragons dissolved a deal with Kevin Millar, Boras contacted the Dragons and offered Ochoa as a replacement. Ochoa has made $10 million there since then.

    Boras has represented him since 1992, when Ochoa was a rising star in the Baltimore organization. But his power never developed after a trade to the Mets, and as he bounced from team to team, he said Boras helped him accept that he could still carve out a career as a fourth outfielder.

    “If you are very efficient at what you do in this industry,” Boras said, “by making a couple million a year for seven or eight years, you put yourself in a position four times that of someone who is very successful in the academic world or the business community. If you explain it in that light, you can let them see the opportunity they have.”

    Stillwell hired Boras in 1983, when he was a high school shortstop in California and Boras was starting his business. Boras advised him to go to Stanford, but after the Reds drafted him second over all, Stillwell took a $135,000 bonus to sign.

    Stillwell played for five teams in nine seasons and earned more than $6 million. He said he spent his first five years of retirement fishing, then asked Boras if he could scout amateur players for him.

    Last year, Stillwell signed Mike Moustakas for Boras. Like Stillwell, Moustakas was a high school shortstop from California chosen second over all. But 24 years after Stillwell signed, the signing bonus was $4 million when Moustakas signed with the Royals.

    The rise illustrates the changes Boras helped create in the draft. The involvement of Stillwell shows the value for Boras in long-term relationships with ordinary players.

    “He’s hired so many of us that were not superstars and wanted to stay in the game,” Stillwell said. “That’s special to me, and I appreciate that.”

    In the late 1980s, Boras persuaded the Texas Rangers to give Kreuter a chance, if only because he had roomed with Brown, a talented but enigmatic pitcher. After earning about $8 million over 16 seasons through 2003, Kreuter is now the head baseball coach at the University of Southern California. One of his freshmen next fall will be Boras’s oldest son, Shane.

    Kreuter said that N.C.A.A. rules prohibited him from recommending agents. But if players ask about Boras, he gives a positive review. The former U.S.C. pitcher Ian Kennedy, now with the Yankees, would pepper Kreuter with questions about Boras.

    “Agents were trying to hit him from all sides,” Kreuter said of Kennedy, “and I just said: ‘Hey, he’s the best. Don’t waver.’” Kreuter said Boras was more of a friend than an agent now, comparing him to a father.

    Boras said he was proud of Kreuter’s success, the same way he is proud of former clients like Shipley, who is now the vice president for international scouting for the Red Sox, and Álex Cora, a versatile reserve infielder for Boston.

    Even modest careers like Kreuter’s or Cora’s dwarf Boras’s accomplishments as a player. He was undrafted and signed for $8,000 with St. Louis in 1974, spending four years in the minors and hitting about .285.

    Boras would look at his peers and see future major leaguers like Garry Templeton and Keith Hernandez. He tried to outwork the others, but his talent never took him past Class AA.

    “My immediate sense of professional baseball was, There’s the difference,” Boras said. “You knew who you were and you knew who they were.”

    It was a simple but powerful lesson, and it has never left him. Boras, the agent with the most extraordinary demands for the most famous names, has a soft spot for the common player, who may not be so common after all.

    “In the finite view that people have of professional sports, the focus is always on the superstars,” Boras said. “But in my eyes, these men are all very rare people. When you’ve watched 40 people get released in one day of spring training, you have a greater respect for the major league player.”

    Murray Chass and Ben Shpigel contributed reporting.
    “In the same way that a baseball season never really begins, it never really ends either.” - Lonnie Wheeler, "Bleachers, A Summer in Wrigley Field"

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  3. #2
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting Article About Scott Boras' Operation

    ESPN Insider, a couple months ago, had an even more extensive listing of Boras' clients, and the many that have never really panned out. This article is kinda like a "greatest hits album"....

    When signing Boras' clients, ink the best ones


    In the wake of Alex Rodriguez's new contract, we got to wondering if signing one of Scott Boras' clients to a big deal is really such a good thing. It's generally believed that Boras is the best agent in the game -- at least when it comes to financial compensation -- and if that's the case, wouldn't it follow that when you sign one of Boras' clients, you're often going to overpay?

    To find out, I've tracked down, to the best of my ability, the biggest contracts, in terms of dollars per season, signed by Boras clients in each of the past 10 winters, beginning with Greg Maddux after the '97 season …

    With each player, I've listed an established level of performance, which is simply the average of the previous two seasons. It seems to me that when teams sign free agents, it's with the assumption, or blind hope, that the player will essentially duplicate the recent performance that has made him so desirable. Next comes the player's actual performance: either per season over the life of the contract, or per season over the seasons since, if the contract is still running (as the recent ones are).

    1997: Greg Maddux (five years/$57.5 million)

    W-L IP ERA
    Established 17-8 239 2.47
    Five-year average 18-9 230 2.88

    This wasn't a bad deal for the Braves at all, as Maddux's ERA went up a tick but he remained one of the National League's top starting pitchers, winning at least 16 games and starting at least 33 in each of the five seasons.

    1998: Kevin Brown (seven years/$105 million)

    W-L IP ERA
    Established 17-8 247 2.53
    Seven-year average 10-6 154 3.23
    Obviously a disaster for the Dodgers, whom Boras bamboozled with this one. It's worth comparing Brown's contract to Maddux's, just one year earlier. Brown, with a virtually identical established level of performance, got more years and significantly more dollars per year. Brown did pitch through the life of his contract, and he was outstanding in his first two seasons with the Dodgers, finishing sixth in the Cy Young voting both years. But in the remaining five years of the contract -- two of which he spent as a Yankee -- Brown pitched more than 120 innings only twice, and won more than 10 games only once.

    When Boras was making his pitch for Brown, I suspect he pointed to those two previous seasons, 1997 and 1998, and said, "Look! He's been just as good as Greg Maddux, and Greg Maddux is a Hall of Fame pitcher!" True enough. But when Maddux got his $57.5 million, he'd already won four Cy Young Awards. Brown had won none. There was a real difference between them.

    1999: Kenny Rogers (three years/$22.5 million)

    W-L IP ERA
    Established 13-6 217 3.63
    Three-year average 10-9 186 4.64
    Rogers would later rebound as a Tiger, but he didn't give the Rangers much for their $22.5 million over three seasons.

    2000: Alex Rodriguez (10 years/$252 million)

    Established 139 122 122 .391 .597
    Seven-year average 159 125 130 .400 .591
    No, he wasn't worth $25 million per season. Not to the Rangers, who signed him and continued to pay a good chunk of his salary even after they foisted him off on the Yankees. But it's hard to argue that A-Rod's performance has been disappointing, as his numbers have held steady despite moving from a hitter's park to a pitcher's park.

    2001: Chan Ho Park (six years/$65 million)

    W-L IP ERA
    Established 17-11 230 3.38
    Six-year average 6-7 95 5.63
    In Park's best season after signing that $65 million contract with the Rangers, he went 12-8 with a 5.74 ERA. Overall, he went 33-34 in the six years and should serve, at the very least, as a cautionary tale to American League teams considering offering big bucks to a National League pitcher with one great season to his credit.

    2002: Greg Maddux (one year/$15 million)

    W-L IP ERA
    Established 17-9 216 2.85
    One-year average 16-11 218 3.96
    We're sort of fudging here, as 2002-03 was a slow winter for Boras. Everyone expected Maddux to become a free agent, but instead he surprised everyone -- including his employer, the Braves -- by accepting arbitration. And it's amazing how quickly things can change, isn't it? In 2001 and '02, Maddux was still one of the best pitchers in the majors. But in 2003, when he earned nearly $15 million, Maddux's ERA jumped by more than a run and he's not been a great pitcher since. It's hard to blame the Braves for offering Maddux arbitration; after all, they didn't think he would accept. But 2003 is probably the only season in Maddux's career in which he didn't deserve his salary.

    2003: Ivan Rodriguez (four years/$40 million)

    Established 126 79 73 .362 .504
    Four-year average 132 67 67 .326 .453
    Pudge's numbers might be down -- in two of the past three seasons, he actually posted a sub-.300 on-base percentage -- but the Tigers aren't complaining. In his first season he batted .334, and in his third season Detroit advanced to the World Series. In fact, the Tigers were so impressed that they exercised their $13 million option on Rodriguez's services for 2008. Nevertheless, one might reasonably argue that his performance, with the exception of 2004, has significantly declined since he signed this contract.

    2004: Carlos Beltran (seven years/$119 million)

    Established 150 112 102 .377 .536
    Three-year average 145 101 102 .356 .507
    When the Mets signed Beltran, the thinking -- well, my thinking -- was that the Mets had been over-awed by Beltran's brilliance as a member of the Astros in the 2004 postseason, and that while Beltran would be excellent for the Mets in the first season or two of his new deal, in the long term he'd be overpaid. Instead he struggled in his first season with the Mets, but has been outstanding since. Considering salary inflation and Beltran's age -- he turns 31 next April -- if he can stay reasonably healthy the Mets should receive solid value for their $119 million investment.

    2005: Johnny Damon (four years/$52 million)

    Established 149 120 85 .373 .458
    Two-year average 145 104 72 .355 .441
    Obviously the jury's still out on this one. But when the Yankees signed Damon two years ago, did they anticipate that halfway through his contract he'd apparently be finished as a center fielder?

    2006: Barry Zito (seven years/$126 million)

    W-L IP ERA
    Established 15-12 225 3.85
    One-year average 11-13 197 4.53
    Well, he's not Chan Ho Park. Not yet, anyway. But when Zito got this contract, setting a new record for dollars per season for a pitcher, he was coming off four straight seasons in which he hadn't won more than 16 games or picked up a single point in Cy Young voting.

    Of course, it's been just one season. Perhaps Zito will magically be transmogrified from an average pitcher into one who deserves to be paid more than nearly every other pitcher in the world. Probably not, though. Based on the evidence at hand, I'm nearly ready to call his contract a disaster for the Giants.

    And to Zito's deal, we can add those of Chan Ho Park and Kevin Brown. That's three. I would classify Johnny Damon's, Ivan Rodriguez's and Kenny Rogers' deals, along with Maddux's arbitration award, as mild disappointments (based purely on performance, and with the caveat that Damon's deal might look a lot worse in a year or two). That's seven.

    Which leaves only three good (for the teams) contracts: Maddux's, Alex Rodriguez's and Carlos Beltran's. Of course, even those come with caveats. While the Rangers couldn't have been disappointed with A-Rod's performance, it didn't bring them the team success they expected, and they couldn't wait to trade him, to the point that they actually have paid him $50 million over the past three seasons to play for the Yankees. And we're only three years into Beltran's seven-year deal.

    See, it's really not so hard to fare well when signing one of Scott Boras' top clients. All you have to do is sign one of the best players in the majors when he's still in his 20s (Rodriguez and Beltran) or one of the all-time greatest pitchers when he's still in his early 30s (Maddux). No problem!

    Otherwise, though?

    Caveat emptor.
    Last edited by GAC; 12-03-2007 at 10:07 AM.
    "In my day you had musicians who experimented with drugs. Now it's druggies experimenting with music" - Alfred G Clark (circa 1972)

  4. #3
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting Article About Scott Boras' Operation

    Here's an interview via the web with Boras. It's an interesting read, but the quote below jumped out at me. I read another interview with Boras viz the state of MLB and I was surprised at the number of good ideas he had. I can't find that interview now, but I came across this one while looking.


    mattcollins (Boston, MA): Thanks for chatting with us, Mr. Boras. I've seen somewhere that you are against the amateur draft because it treats players not from the US or Canada, and nationalized Cubans differently from those who are from other countries. Would you prefer that there be a "worldwide draft" or would you like to see the draft completely done away with?

    Scott Boras: One reason I am unhappy with the draft is that some foreign players have rights that other foreign players (Canada) and US players do not have. Individual countries should determine how their athletes are treated. Instead, MLB is imposing rules on sovereignties.

    For those countries that do choose to participate, I would like to see the draft limited to three rounds of college players and 1 round of high school players. There would be minimum bonuses for these players. All other undrafted players would be free agents. This would assure that teams could draft players they truly wanted exclusivity to (but pay fair values), and the remaining players would not have their fate decided by any single team.
    “In the same way that a baseball season never really begins, it never really ends either.” - Lonnie Wheeler, "Bleachers, A Summer in Wrigley Field"

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  5. #4
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting Article About Scott Boras' Operation

    Interesting Article About Scott Boras' Operation
    He needs what this guy got.

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