Interpreting Scott Boras’ Comments On Prince Fielder

There’s more finesse to Scott Boras’ sales pitch than there is to Prince Fielder’s swing, but neither man holds back. In Dallas this week Boras argued that the free agent first baseman can invigorate a fan base and strengthen a lineup, invoking Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig to put Fielder’s career in context and show that comparable power hitters rarely becomes available in free agency. But Boras has compared Oliver Perez to Sandy Koufax, so it’s prudent to take what he says in context. Here are some highlights from Boras’ conversation with reporters. I’ve added a little context when necessary:

Prince Fielder MIL

Boras on Fielder’s power:

“All of a sudden, you see who has this many home runs by the age of 27 at first base and you see Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig and the list is only four guys. Then you start looking at what accomplishments this man has had at such a young age. You go back and look and say ‘how often do you get free agents who have got that kind of power production and that on-base percentage — a .400 on-base percentage and slugging near 40 home runs.’ When you start to analyze, you realize we certainly have a decade player.”

The context:

In fact, just three first basemen have had this many home runs (230) through their age-27 season: Fielder, Foxx and Albert Pujols. Fielder-level production is rare, even at a power position.

Foxx had 302 home runs and a career .339/.440/.640 line through his age-27 season (174 OPS+). Gehrig had 187 home runs and a career .342/.443/.639 line through his age-27 season (179 OPS+). Both had their names engraved on MVP trophies by that point. Fielder, who doesn't have an MVP to his name despite three top-five finishes, has 230 home runs with a .282/.390/.540 line in his career (143 OPS+). Foxx and Gehrig were more dominant relative to the competition, but Boras didn't say Fielder was better than the two Hall of Famers. He said his client compares well to them from a home run standpoint, which is true.

Boras on Fielder’s body:

“Everyone talks to me about Prince’s body, but when you have that 5’11” strike zone, that is a huge advantage and that’s why that on-base percentage is sitting there. Those pitchers have to put the ball into a smaller window and I believe that it’s more difficult to do.”

The context: 

Though the small strike zone may help Fielder, it remains possible that his weight will prevent him from aging well. Fielder is now a passable first baseman, but his defense will decline over the life of his next contract. At some point he’ll presumably become a DH, which may create hesitation on the part of National League suitors.

Boras on Fielder’s age

“The great thing about young free agents is the probability of performance not dropping off is so high for the majority of the years of the contract. We’re not talking about signing a 32-year-old free agent.”

The context:

There’s no question that Fielder’s youth makes him attractive. Pujols, a 31-year-old, managed to obtain a ten-year deal, so Fielder figures to obtain multiple offers in the eight to ten-year range as well. 

Boras on the possibility of a short-term deal:

“To attract players to a franchise, you’re going to want that [star] player there for a long time. You don’t want people to know the time is coming for him to leave. People say ‘why don’t you do a three-year deal?’ That doesn’t fit anybody’s purposes. The length of contract has a lot to do with an understanding from both sides of what franchise players are and what they mean. The branding part, the media rights part — all of those things go into that and while the initial concept is shorter is better, the reality is with these types of players it’s usually not the best dynamic for the franchise.”

The context:

Here’s a rough translation: dream away, but a short-term deal is not happening.

Boras on the availability of other young power bats:

“Let’s project: ‘what under 28 players are coming?’ Then all of a sudden you see [Joey] Votto will be 30 or 29 and you start paring it down. [Miguel] Cabrera was one of them, but he never made it to free agency. So you look inside the game at the younger core that’s coming and you’d say ‘there’s no one.’ You’re going to have to hit 50 home runs in your second year or 44 home runs in your fourth year. You’re going to have to average 37 home runs in this period of time. Who’s going to do that?”

The context:

Mike Stanton and Boras client Bryce Harper are two powerful, young players who will likely hit free agency in their mid-twenties if they don’t sign extensions first. Other teams have to develop power themselves or rely on older free agents. Boras has a point here.

Boras on Fielder’s prime:

“When you’re talking about premium years by management, you think ‘well premium years are usually this 27-36.’ But when you’ve got a guy who has performed from 22 to 26 over that five-year period, he has more home runs in that five years than Albert Pujols. He has Albert Pujols-type numbers and those aren’t even his premium years yet. And Albert Pujols is the best hitter we’ve seen since [Barry] Bonds. So when you see that you realize people come in to the market — and you can’t expect every team to be prepared to the level that we are — but we really want to point out that no matter what type of club you are, when you acquire this for your fan base, you’re definitely going to have something that not only is a rarity in the game currently, because he’s so young, you can project five years ahead and he’ll be 32. Normally when someone’s a free agent, you’re not getting that level of prime years.”

The context:

Will Fielder’s prime extend into his mid-thirties? It’s doubtful. Few players in the post-steroid era manage to produce as late into their careers as Bonds did. Boras suggests Fielder’s prime will extend until he’s 36, but that surely exceeds most teams’ estimates by at least a few years.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


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70 Comments on "Interpreting Scott Boras’ Comments On Prince Fielder"


3 years 8 months ago

It is just stunning how this man compares Fielder (who is a very good player dont get me wrong) with some of the all time greats with a straight face. Jimmie Foxx? Fine, I can live with that. But putting Fielder and Lou Gehrig in the same sentence is outrageous.

Bob George
3 years 8 months ago

Jimmie Foxx was also an amazing player, but not as well known by today’s fans as any Yankee player. Go look up Foxx’s stats, they are mind boggling. So are one of his teammates, Al Simmons. Foxx and Simmons were two of the greatest hitters who ever lived.

Foxx had 3 seasons of 163 or more RBI, and retired with a .609 slg percentage. Foxx played through age 37, with many seasons declining from his peak years. Fielder’s career slg is .540. Putting Fielder and Jimmie Foxx in the same sentence is outrageous, at least at this point of Fielder’s career.

Simmons had 100 rbi just in home games two different seasons, the only player in history to do that. He hit .381 or better 4 times.

Baseball is full of fascinating players. Just reading up on some of the greats that came before my time is enough to fall in love with the game all over again.

3 years 8 months ago

Oh no I totally agree Jimmie Foxx was amazing. But Gehrig is immortal. Everyone knows him. Some casual baseball fans might not even know who Jimmie Foxx is. Statistically its not even a comparison between Fielder and Foxx

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 8 months ago

And that leaves out Ty Cobb, who only managed to bat .366 over the course of his career — which lasted until he was 41, a total of 24 years! Cobb didn’t hit a lot of home runs (a dead-ball period player) but that shouldn’t disqualify him from being called the greatest hitter in the history of the game.

3 years 8 months ago

Ted Williams gets my vote. Of course there is no one right answer. Although I wonder how people like Babe Ruth would be today in the modern game. Would he still be a god or more of like Carlos Pena

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 8 months ago

Right, you can’t control all of the variables, so it’s an endless debate. The parks were different, the grass was different, the ball was different — even the distance between the mound and home plate was different. Relief pitching was hardly used. Mostly to the advantage of hitters. Cobb impresses me because of his durability and consistency. He was also a demon on the base paths.

3 years 8 months ago

Ted Williams gets my vote. Of course there is no one right answer. Although I wonder how people like Babe Ruth would be today in the modern game. Would he still be a god or more of like Carlos Pena

FS54
3 years 8 months ago

If I am not mistaken, Cobb was considered a better hitter than Ruth by many of their contemporaries. Cobb may not have been a power hitter (actually there are couple of statistical papers that argue he was a power hitter), but he was more complete hitter and player than Ruth. Ruth dominated slugging like no one else, but Cobb dominated hitting like no one else before.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 8 months ago

… or after.

3 years 8 months ago

Simmons was a Milwaukee native and is buried here.  Not that it matters, but a slight connection nonetheless.

gradylittle
3 years 8 months ago

For GM’s, Boras must be THAT guy that no one wants to speak to or deal with.

aricollins
3 years 8 months ago

The fact that primes (especially for big men) don’t extend into their mid-30s is indeed a blow to the idea that signing him to an 8-year contract means he’ll still be in his prime for the whole deal.

But it does highlight the fact that you so rarely get a star player for the actual prime years, which are 26-29. Pretty unique opportunity with Fielder, so that he’s worth giving a 6- to 8-year contract to. You know you’ll be overpaying for his decline phase, but you’ll be underpaying for his prime years, years you never get out of a star player unless you develop them.

Nate Petrashek
3 years 8 months ago

I love listening to Boras talk.  His statements so often just reek of hyperbole and desperation. And in light of the Lozano allegations, I think I should change my career track.  It certainly doesn’t look like a bad time for someone who’d play it straight with players and GMs to enter the fray.

3 years 8 months ago

If you play it staright with players and GMs you’ll never be an agent at all.

Nate Petrashek
3 years 8 months ago

Why not?  An agent’s duty to his client is to act in the client’s best interests.  You can still work hard for your client and get him a good deal without all the head games.  Its just a different approach, and one I think GMs and some players would find refreshing. 

And if indeed the players would rather have the hookers, they’d certainly be free to look up Lozano.

Nate Petrashek
3 years 8 months ago

Why not?  An agent’s duty to his client is to act in the client’s best interests.  You can still work hard for your client and get him a good deal without all the head games.  Its just a different approach, and one I think GMs and some players would find refreshing. 

And if indeed the players would rather have the hookers, they’d certainly be free to look up Lozano.

Cavman_Boland
3 years 8 months ago

Really? I think the guy is an absolute beauty. He knows how to make his case and make a convincing argument a lot like a politician. The contracts he’s gotten for clients speaks for themselves. Man I wish I was an agent.

Okteds
3 years 8 months ago

Except it’s not a convincing argument.  This whole thread, article and comments included, have highlighted how ridiculous and off-base his arguments are. Not one person here takes him with any seriousness….hmmm, maybe you’re right, he is a lot like a politician.  But please let’s not feed into this idiocy by call his arguments “convincing”.

Nate Petrashek
3 years 8 months ago

The part that shocks me is that he still gets clubs to bite on his public displays of ignorance; all you need is one dumb GM to make Boras look like a genius.  I wish we’d stop confusing the idiocy of one for the competence of another.

Liam_Ho
3 years 8 months ago

Because Boras is the last shop open during offseason, when teams get desperate they’ll pay close enough to what he wants.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 8 months ago

I wish I could be as desperate as Scott Boras.

Okteds
3 years 8 months ago

or as shameless…

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 8 months ago

Boras is a salesman, first and foremost. Shame and salesmanship are like oil and water.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 8 months ago

I wish I could be as desperate as Scott Boras.

notsureifsrs
3 years 8 months ago

i only read ben’s parts. strict ignore-boras policy. i recommend it to all GMs

3 years 8 months ago

Nice breakdown, Ben.  I’m just waiting for Mr. Boras to tell us that there are 35 clubs with offers on the table for his client. 

0bsessions
3 years 8 months ago

NFL counts.

Bob George
3 years 8 months ago

Prime years are generally 27-32, not through age 36. It can vary wildly, especially for superstars, who can decline and still put up good numbers, but 27-32 is the general consensus for prime age performance.

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 8 months ago

Congrats Boras on completely ignoring the topic of Fielders body. No one is concerned with his height.

Quacktastic_Duck
3 years 8 months ago

Haha, I thought about that as well when reading this. I’m sure that his height is the first thing that comes to mind when you see him. ::rolls eyes::

3 years 8 months ago

Sure he’s fat, but he’s also short.  Lol.

Dick Armada
3 years 8 months ago

Boras gonna talk some team into 10/300 and it ain’t gonna be my Angels

3 years 8 months ago

Of course it’s not………..

3 years 8 months ago

The “post steriod era” sample size is so small, it’s hardly worth mentioning.  

Jason Klinger
3 years 8 months ago

I can see Fielder getting a Howard-type contract (5-125 extension) from an NL team. Maybe 6-155? Only an AL team would go 7-9 years.

Rcsully
3 years 8 months ago

I will shorten this article …. Scott was saying … Don’t try to get Fielder for a bargain I won’t have any of that.

Rcsully
3 years 8 months ago

I will shorten this article …. Scott was saying … Don’t try to get Fielder for a bargain I won’t have any of that.

3 years 8 months ago

Boras knows how to candy-coat words, thats his job, but he didn’t get too carried away on Fielder…  if you think comparing Fielder to Foxx or Gehrig is a reach, its because he hasn’t finished his career yet.  Unlike Ryan Howard, he REALLY knows how to hit, not just for power, but with a patient eye.  the only knock on Prince is his weight, and if he keeps it down he’s gonna finish in the top 5 all-time for home runs easily, with a slew of other good numbers along with it, including a good batting avg.  He’s on pace to be a first-ballot HOF

ctownboy
3 years 8 months ago

One of the things I HATE about Boras is every year there seems to be a “mystery team” in on one of his players.  Said “mystery team” seems to show up right about the time most other teams have reached the top of what they are willing to pay a player.

To stop this from happening (and causing teams to bid against themselves which then causes them to have less money to pay for other players they might want to go after while also driving up the cost of similiar players for ALL teams) I suggest that MLB adopt a policy where ALL offers for Free Agents are submitted to the Commish’s Office.  These offers could then only be seen by a few people in the Commish’s Office and the GM’s and owners of teams.  This way, no fake “mystery team” comes into play and teams don’t have to bid against themselves for players.

To stop a team from bidding up a player they are not interested in, just to increase the cost for another team, a fine of 50% of the total bid could be imposed on a team found to be doing this.

In short, Free Agency is nothing but an auction and my plan would help to stop the shill bidding which goes on (shill bidding is illegal in most states and I don’t see why it is allowed with MLB).

NomarGarciaparra
3 years 8 months ago

uhhhh that sounds really stupid to me. I don’t think free agency should be an auction…this is business and the way it is conducted now is how business deals are typically conducted. Everyone hates Boras, but he is at the top of his business. He has the ability to manipulate teams, stretch comparisons, and most importantly, persuade owners to shell out more money than his clients are worth. That’s what agents are for…what’s the point of agents if it’s just going to be an auction?

MannyBeingMVP
3 years 8 months ago

Fielder’s downside is Ryan Howard.  Fielder might share Howard’s risk of injury.  As a MLB owner, I would offer Fielder six years at $150 million and I would be willing to let some outbid me if that is not enough.

3 years 8 months ago

Fielder hits 40 points higher and has better defense.

3 years 8 months ago

Boras is the same guy that compiled what was essentially a book trying to show the similarities between Oliver Perez and Sandy Koufax.  This is nothing new.

PaganIdolCow
3 years 8 months ago

As a human being, Scott Boras is of questionable value (as are we all). However, if I were a baseball player, I’d love to have Boras as my agent. You know, as long as he avoids World Series one-upmanship.

chee1rs
3 years 8 months ago

snake oil salesman

3 years 8 months ago

Feilder is fat but powerful

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 8 months ago

CC Sabathia: never runs around and plays 33 games a year.

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

They bought MLSE (75%) for 1.32 Billion.. doubt theres much money left for Fielder..

You could tell AA was frustrated over the course of the winter meetings, kinda makes sense now.

0bsessions
3 years 8 months ago

The trick is that they don’t make enough money on the Blue Jays. They were 27th in revenue last year, a scant $2 million over the Rays, whom many argue for contraction. Their average revenue over the last five years was reported at $164 million. Sure, they COULD improve the team by adding some free agents, but to get them into contention based off of what’s CURRENTLY available, Rogers would have to commit a very large sum of money to a team that’s simply not bringing in the revenue to justify the expenditure.

If anything, I’d bank money on the fact that AA is outright against the idea of the ownership funneling money into any of these big ticket free agents. The Jays’ revenue stream and attendance put them in a precarious position in that a bad FA signing couple cripple them. They JUST got out from under Wells and Rios, do you really think it’s wise to basically repeat the same mistakes by dropping big money into what is really an overall poor free agent class compared to the Jays’ needs?The Jays are capable of drawing fans, we all know that, but the Jays need to prove they’re profitable before a large corporation is going to funnel money into them.

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

Everything you just said is completely wrong. but way to be super creative with a fat joke.

way to edit your comment afterwards… luckily I dont have to change my comment because you just added more wrong

you clearly don’t understand baseball.

Shawnthemon
3 years 8 months ago

Totally Agree, but this is also good for the future, using the Leafs revenue to buy players, hopefully. 

Sucks that we are probably not going to get Darvish or Fielder, but I’m not giving up hope, Rogers still has a ton of money, and are now guaranteed profit with the Leafs. Maybe they were waiting on the sale, now they’re going to pounce 😉

Dont step on my dreams please

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

Nadir Mohammed was very clear that the jays would continue to be run as a seperate entity, so I doubt the profits from the leafs will filter to anthopolous.. I mean Rogers itself hasn’t sent the jays anything from its profit, anything substantial atleast

Shawnthemon
3 years 8 months ago

Yea that’s true, hopefully there not as cheap with the Leafs as they are with the Blue Jays.

I’m still hoping for a Darvish or Fielder signing, we need protection for Bautista, we are wasting his prime years. 

They have the money, and they are a smart business, if they want 4 millions ticket sales again, they need to sign one of Fielder or Darvish, and acquire pitching.

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

I think commiting 100 million to darvish is a waste, when you have to figure 150 should get Fielder locked up.. Even at this point a 6/130-140 should get Fielder

Fielder is a known commodity, where as Darvish isn’t. 

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

I think commiting 100 million to darvish is a waste, when you have to figure 150 should get Fielder locked up.. Even at this point a 6/130-140 should get Fielder

Fielder is a known commodity, where as Darvish isn’t. 

Shawnthemon
3 years 8 months ago

I agree, I would rather sign fielder, and then trade for one of Gonzalez, Cahill, Santana

We have a ton of prospects, and like AA said, they all cannot play for the Jays one day.

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

Those numbers don’t tell the whole story

Jays are 1 of only 2 teams (braves as the other) that don’t currently operate with any debt.. As well as jays have one of the lowest operating/overhead costs in the league..

They own their stadium, which they bought for peanuts on the dollar and broadcast all their own games

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

Considering there is no one in the jays system that has Fielder, on a bad year, potential.. but there is plenty of arms that have Darvish potential..

If there was no posting system I may feel differently.. but I’d rather invest that 50 million in to Fielder than Darvish..

everyone is panicking about the rotation after last year, but going in to 2011 it was supposed to be the teams strength

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

Considering there is no one in the jays system that has Fielder, on a bad year, potential.. but there is plenty of arms that have Darvish potential..

If there was no posting system I may feel differently.. but I’d rather invest that 50 million in to Fielder than Darvish..

everyone is panicking about the rotation after last year, but going in to 2011 it was supposed to be the teams strength

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

I wouldn’t trade for any of those guys to be honest. All will be overpriced and carry either performance or injury concerns..

Matt Garza all the way.

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

I wouldn’t trade for any of those guys to be honest. All will be overpriced and carry either performance or injury concerns..

Matt Garza all the way.

Shawnthemon
3 years 8 months ago

Cecil got into shape this offseason, so hopefully he can perform like he did 2 years ago. I’m not that worried at our rotation, I just think we need a #2. 

Romero, Santana, Morrow, Alvarez, Cecil/Drabek/Mcgowan

That is a solid rotation. 

Shawnthemon
3 years 8 months ago

I knew i forgot one, yes I agree, I would love Garza, just don’t know how much he is going to cost.

We have the pieces Theo should want

Shawnthemon
3 years 8 months ago

I knew i forgot one, yes I agree, I would love Garza, just don’t know how much he is going to cost.

We have the pieces Theo should want

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

I wouldnt want Santana.. and to be honest, even cecil from 2 years ago doesn’t cut it.. He’ll be in the bullpen this year..

a solid year from Mcgowan would be really nice.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 8 months ago

Wrong how, exactly? Fielder averages 126 SOs per season, and Pujols 67. Almost precisely twice the rate. Which probably accounts for the big difference in OBP between the two players.

Stark2k
3 years 8 months ago

I don’t know what he said before the edit, and don’t care about the details – but his premise is true.  Prince Fielder is not in the same class as Albert Pujols.

Prince Fielder’s career high in WAR is 6.5, Pujols had a 7 year stretch where his lowest was 8.2.

Batting average, fielding, baserunning, consistency….

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

he’ll probably cost in or around the same as the other guys you mentioned..

but has al east experience and has historically pitched well in the dome.

Shawnthemon
3 years 8 months ago

He is a stud pitcher and would look great inn our rotation, I would trade for him in a heartbeat

Lunchbox45
3 years 8 months ago

WAR takes in to account defense.. which was  not being discussed

from a strictly offensive standpoint, Fielder has been just as good as Albert the last 3 years