Scott Boras lobbies to be the subject of Al Franken’s next book

February 7th, 2007 → 10:43 am @

Dan Drezner drew my attention to this Herald Q&A with the warm and cuddly Scott Boras. In particular, Drezner pointed out the following:

Q. It seems like you’ve been very high profile with the Red Sox the last couple of years. Does it seem to you like you do a lot of business with Boston or is it just cyclical?

A. I would say we do and we don’t. I’m still very surprised the Red Sox did not sign Johnny Damon. That was the one thing I thought for sure that would happen, because I felt it was something that was good for Johnny at the time and good for the team. I reflect back on that negotiation and wonder if there was just more I could do but we really made our best efforts about sharing information. We had four or five face-to-face personal meetings, the calls to ownership, I did the best I could to do that. But with Varitek being there, representing Derek Lowe, and Johnny and now the additions of J.D. and Dice-K, we have some solid communication. Players that we didn’t sign there end up doing well and players that we did sign there end up doing well. So, for me, what I cared about was, I kept saying to them, we felt that these players would continue to have very good years in their careers. Boston agreed with us on a couple of fronts, and disagreed with us on others.

(Emphasis added to point out what a total snake Boras is.)

That, as Drezner, along with astute readers of this blog and of Feeding the Monster (available at Amazon for just $17.16. Cheap! And don’t forget, free, signed, personalized bookplates are still available!) know, is a giant load of steaming crap. Boras not only did not do everything he could to keep Damon in Boston (fun with double negatives!), he did almost everything he could to ensure that Damon left Boston. Lies and the lying liars, indeed.

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Sneak Peeks & Johnny Damon & Scott Boras

Our long national nightmare is over

January 26th, 2007 → 12:08 pm @

By the end of the day, the Red Sox and J.D. Drew will have signed a contract. (I know at least one person who’s gonna be pretty disappointed by this.) The conspiracy theorists who speculated that the Sox had “come to terms” with Drew merely as a way of greasing the skids with Scott Boras in advance of the Dice-K contract have been proven wrong.

The two sides came to some specific agreements concerning Drew’s surgically repaired shoulder; the deal is similar to the ones the Tigers worked out with Magglio and Pudge. The details are pretty straightforward. Now we can all focus on pitchers and catchers…

Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & J.D. Drew & Murray Chass & Scott Boras

Still no news to report on the J.D. Drew front

December 30th, 2006 → 12:17 pm @

And it’s been a while. There are lots of reasons for this: Boras has been focusing on fleecing the Giants, it’s the holiday season, etc etc. But man, it’s been a while. Saddam Hussein lost his appeal and his life in the period since the Sox have been debating J.D.’s medical records…and the Olde Towne Team does need someone besides the corpse of Trot Nixon patrolling right…

Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & J.D. Drew & Scott Boras

And the last stupid contract of 2006 goes to…

December 29th, 2006 → 1:10 pm @

Barry Zito!

It’s not all that surprising: when Gil Meche and Ted Lilly are getting enough money to ensure their grandchildren’s grandchildren will be set for life, it was a no-brainer that Zito was going to get enough money to paper his yoga room in $100,000 bills. (If only there were such things as $100,000 bills. Sigh.) What is surprising is that Zito’s contract is, arguably, as dumb (from a management standpoint) as either Meche’s or Lilly’s.

Zito’s contract — $126 million for a seven-year deal* — is the richest ever given to a pitcher. (Zito is tied for the sixth-biggest contract in the history of the game…and three of those have been signed in the last two months.) He’s the third pitcher to get a $100 million deal. And he’s likely to work out about as well as the two that came before him: Mike Hampton ($121 million/8 years in ’01) and Kevin Brown ($105 million/7 years in ’99). I’m pretty sure those three guys are the only pitchers in the history of the game to get contracts for seven or more years, which should tell you something about throwing around that much money for hurlers. (The fourth and fifth richest pitcher contracts belong to Mike Mussina ($88.5 mil/6 years, ’01) and Pedro ($75 mil/6 years, ’99) — arguably the only two six-year pitcher deals that have ever worked out.) You know a deal is a shitty one for the club when it makes the Rangers (who maked out at 6 yrs/$84 mil) and the Mets (5 yrs, $75 mil) look economical in comparison.

A cursory glance at Zito’s CV does give the impression that he’s one of the game’s elite pitchers: a Cy Young award (2002), a .618 career winning percentage, (102-63), and a career 3.55 ERA. But that Cy Young award was a stone-cold theft from Pedro, who was so much better than Zito that year it was a joke, and Zito might very well have the softest .618 winning percentage in the game. As the always on-the-mark Keith Law points out, Zito has been “the beneficiary of a favorable ballpark with lots of foul territory, a favorable schedule, great bullpen support and outstanding outfield defense — and he’s not going to receive either the defense or the relief help in San Francisco. … committing long-term to a guy who at best is a No. 3 starter on a contender is madness.”


Anyway, hats off to Scott Boras, who got San Francisco to pay somewhere north of $25 million more than any other bidders.

Obligatory Boston-New York content: I’m with Law in considering Zito nothing more than a 3rd starter on a playoff team, but the Yankees had to be at least considering Zito as a potential left-handed replacement for Randy Johnson should the previously dominating Unit head west in a trade. I thought all the Zito to the AL East talk was a bit overblown, and I couldn’t see Cashman and Co. getting into a bidding war for a pitcher they must know isn’t all that. But it does alter the playing field a bit…

(Addendum: Maybe I’m hopelessly naive, but it seems to me at least some of these guys must end up feeling a little guilty when it turns out they’ve fleeced the crap out of a club. Back at the end of Teddy Ballgame’s career, he insisted on returning some salary when he had a crappy year. Granted, he was dealing with tens of thousands and not tens of millions of dollars…but don’t you think some of the Mike Hamptons of the world wake up in cold sweats?

Just kidding! Of course they don’t! One can never have enough manicured Arizona lawns, can one?)

* The deal is being reported as being worth six-years and $126 million, but from my reading of the press reports, it’s actually worth a minimum of $133 million: Zito has an $18-million team option for 2014 that can be bought out for $7 million. The option becomes guaranteed if Zito reaches some innings milestones, which would make this worth $144 million.

Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & Barry Zito & Scott Boras

If this blog had musical accompaniment, Paul Schaffer would be singing right now: Reader mail.

December 16th, 2006 → 12:57 pm @

It takes much more time to drive around suburban Boston to sign book stock than you might think. Which is why I ended up spending about nine hours in the car yesterday. (Having not been to Watertown’s Arsenal Mall since around 7th grade, I was saddened to see that I can no longer buy my checked shirts and skinny ties at Chess Kind. I can’t buy elaborate fark jokes at Spencer Gifts, either. Other than that, though, it felt very much the same.)

On the plus side, that gave me all day to listen to ‘EEI. (More on that later.) On the downside, that gave me all day to listen to ‘EEI. (More on that later too.)

Anyway, before I head out to Braintree, I wanted to answer some questions that have come up in your all’s comments. Without further ado…

“Seth: When you have a free moment after your whirwind tour of area bookstores, maybe you could weigh in on what Shaughnessy hinted at in his column today (maybe others have hinted at this, too); namely, that the JD Drew deal went down partly as a result of the Sox wanting to sweeten Boras up for the Dice-K deal. If so, does a spoonful of Dice-K make Drew more palatable, even to the doubters?”

Certainly there’s been lots of speculation about this. As I’ve said before, I think the Drew signing was a good one (as do lots of other people, including SI‘s Tom Verducci, although I can’t find that item online). What’s more, signing one of Boras’s free agents with the expectation that that will help grease the way to signing another isn’t part of the Red Sox’s MO — making decisions regarding a player’s value and sticking to that* — and Boras certainly is not the type of agent who would give a team a break because of a deal he’d made with another one of his clients.

With that answer, I’ll anticipate a follow-up question: why the big contract when the Sox appeared to be bidding against themselves? The answer is I think that’s a simplistic way of looking at things: when you look at the type of free-agent contracts that have been handed out, take into consideration that there are basically no more impact bats available, and realize that there’s still more than three months until position players report for spring training, it seems like a team that makes a trade or two and begins to feel like they have a shot but also have some offensive holes will very likely want whomever they can get their hands on. (Who’s to say the Cubs won’t find another $100 million to throw around?) And, as I pointed out in a Dice-K post, that $14 mil contract actually ages pretty well…assuming Drew does, too.

* Two caveats: obviously there are incidents where part of the Red Sox’s thinking takes into consideration a player’s overall worth (and not just his on-field worth), resulting in a contract that might exceed what they think he’s worth in pure baseball terms. See: Varitek, Jason. Also, while I don’t think for a moment the Sox are overpaying some Boras clients to have a better shot at landing others, the Sox, despite it all, have been able to craft an ongoing working relationship with Boras.


Speaking of Boras and his relationship with the Sox’s front office…

“but i guess i’m a little confused as to why. why wouldn’t boras take the yanks offer [to Damon] back to the sox to see if they’d beat it? was it the time pressure? were the yanks johnny’s real first choice?”

There are a couple of theories I get into in varying levels of detail in the book. (And if you anticipated this, you guessed right: Signed copies available at a store near you! Personalized, inscribed bookplates too! Have I mentioned it makes a great holiday gift?) So briefly: there’s a chance Johnny, for whatever reason — the slammin’ nightlife, Michelle thinking she could be a celebrity on a bigger stage, whatever — actually wanted to go to New York. (It’s true: sometimes players want to leave Boston.) There’s also a chance — and I personally think this is more likely — that Boras wanted to prove he could take one of the most popular players on the most popular team in Red Sox history and have him jump ship to the Yankees; if he can get the two richest teams in baseball to bid against each other’s free agents, that’s only going to raise salaries.


shawn.orourke wants to know if there’s any chance Wily Mo will be used as trade bait. Sure, there’s a definite chance. The Sox need a closer, they have (a bit) of a surplus in the outfield, and WMP would, you’d imagine, get decent value in return. With the obvious exceptions of this year’s new signings, the only people who are really untouchable are Schilling, Papi, Papelbon, and Tek, so it’s possible that anyone could get traded. One of the reasons this front office has been so determined to be frugal about trading away their prospects/young players is so they have those players available if and when they have a hole that needs to be filled. It’s the same thing with the pitchers – MDC, Hansen, et al. — is so they have a surplus of young arms when there’s a need for that last puzzle piece. From a personal standpoint, I hope they don’t trade Wily Mo; he’s one of those players that’s simply fun to watch, and as Bill James once told me, that’s sometimes as good a reason to keep a player around as any. But I’d bet his name has come up in discussions. (Speaking of pitchers, yesterday’s bullpen pickups — Donnelley and Romero — mean it’s even more likely there’s more action on the way with the team’s pitching staff.)


Finally, michaelmc and dbvader are having a debate over whether J.D. Drew’s history shows he’s a chronic injury risk or a player who has gotten over the bulk of his physical problems. The answer, I think, is a little of both. If you go to the link for the graphic titled “Drew’s been hurtin’ for certain” in this Nick Cafardo piece, you’ll see a somewhat frightening run-down of Drew’s medical history. However, if you take a look at the last three years, pretty much every “injury” has been more along the times of a couple of days off for some normal wear and tear: with the exception of a broken wrist bone that resulted from getting nailed with a pitch, Drew’s time off since the start of the ’04 season has been limited to three games (stiff neck), five games (hamstring), three games (quad), and five games (knee). That doesn’t worry me too much; unlike, say, Nomar or Trot, those three years look pretty normal to me…

Post Categories: 2006 Playoffs & Dan Shaughnessy & J.D. Drew & Johnny Damon & Q&A time & Scott Boras & Wily Mo Pena

Yeah, that’s right: Theo did

December 15th, 2006 → 1:04 am @

You wanted to know who won that game of chicken? Anyone who saw Theo’s post-press conference live shot with Tina Cervasio knows damn well who won it: the Red Sox. Theo, et al., were driving to the tarmac and getting ready to fly back to Boston sans Matsuzakasan (you know: calling Boras’s bluff) when Boras rang and said, ‘Well, yeah, all right, I guess we will be on that plane after all.’

(Apparently, Buster Olney agrees.)

Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & Daisuke Matsuzaka & Red Sox front office & Scott Boras & Theo Epstein

So who is it that won this game of chicken?

December 14th, 2006 → 12:18 pm @

(Note: I’m on a PC. I hate PC’s. For some reason, most of the links I put in aren’t working, so you’ll need to navigate around and find the articles I’m referring to on your own.)

It’s true: I made it to Boston. And waking up at 6 to get to the airport is about as physical as I’m getting today.

So…some more notes on the…now wait: what’s the big story around here? Ah, yes: D-Mat. (I will use every known nickname before the day is done.) Pretty much everyone, Jack Curry in the Times to the Herald’s Tony Mass to Nick Cafardo in the Globe to Gammo himself is saying the Sox got the best of Boras in these negotiations.

On the first hand, that’s clearly true: if the reports are correct and the Sox’s initial offer was somewhere around $6-7 mil for 4 years, $8.7 mil for 6 years is a lot closer to that than the $15-$20 mil for 6 years Boras was looking for. On the next hand, the Sox, on some level, had Boras over a barrel. Zak really couldn’t have returned to Japan (well, he could have, but not without losing so much face he would have needed a face transplant), and despite the late-in-the-game posturing from Boras about Daisuke wanting “respect,” the good folks of Seibu would not have considered $8 million a year disrespectful. (I spoke with Bobby Valentine on Tuesday about an unrelated matter, and he said that the negotiations would be tough but there was no way his players would be facing the Diceman next year.)

But on the third hand, the Sox clearly won this game of chicken, and they did it by showing the type of single-mindedness and determination that’s marked the best days of this front office. Over Thanksgiving 2003, Theo and Larry both went to Curt’s house in Arizona, which showed Schilling how serious they were and also made it clear everyone was on the same page. The same thing happened here. That can only be seen as a good sign. Whatever rifts remain between those two — and rifts do remain — they’re showing they can work together.

There’ll be plenty more to chew on as the day progresses: the $203 mil (or so) the Sox have committed to three players, blowing away every team save for the Cubs look; the reality that Fenway (and particularly the Fenway press box) is about to be overrun by Japanese tourists and reporters…and the question of how, exactly, the Sox will cash in on extra revenue. Hint: It won’t be through TV deals (which I think are worked out with MLB, meaning the Sox would only see 1/30 of that money) or through merch sales (ditto).

OK: I’m late for the Pru.

Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & Daisuke Matsuzaka & Larry Lucchino & Red Sox & Red Sox front office & Scott Boras & Theo Epstein