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Scott Boras Rumors
Baseball’s most prominent agent says the integrity of the sport has been damaged by its collective bargaining agreement. MLB’s top labor executive says the system works, even though one prominent player remains jobless. Within a telling piece at USA Today, Bob Nightengale reports that agent Scott Boras and MLB executive VP Rob Manfred are at odds over the current CBA.
Boras argues that the basic agreement encourages teams to finish with poor records. The clubs that finish with the worst records are able to spend more freely on amateur players.
"The integrity of the game has been compromised,'' Boras told Nightengale. "What baseball has done, it has created a dynamic where draft dollars are affecting the Major Leaguers. Teams are constructing clubs to be non-competitive, like Houston and Miami, so they can position themselves where they can get more draft dollars. Clubs are trying to finish last to create more draft dollars. And this dramatically affects the Wild Card and Major League standings.''
Kyle Lohse, the top unsigned free agent, has suggested in recent months that the new draft pick compensation rules have limited his leverage (latest Lohse rumors here). His agent agrees. Boras argues that draft dollars are "the latest currency" for MLB general managers.
“And the best way to earn draft dollars is to sabotage your Major League team and finish last,'' he said.
In the past teams didn’t mind surrendering a first round draft pick to sign a prominent player, Boras said. The clubs could simply spend over-slot on players in later rounds, a practice that is no longer permitted in the same way.
“Now, you've taken away the structure of the scouting and developing,” Boras said. “They have stolen our youth. They have kidnapped our children in this system.''
Manfred explained that the agreement won’t be changed to accommodate one player.
"It is important to focus on all the changes to the system of draft choice compensation,'' Manfred told Nightengale. "A large number of players were freed from the burden of compensation completely, and those players undoubtedly received better contracts as a result. We have not heard anyone raising questions as to whether the system is working for those players.”
Manfred points out that with the exception of Lohse the nine players who declined qualifying offers obtained substantial contracts.
"The fact that one Scott Boras client has not signed does not convince me that the system is broken,'' Manfred said.
Agent Larry Reynolds represents B.J. Upton, another player who hit free agency after declining his former team’s qualifying offer. Reynolds told Nightengale it would be “misleading” to suggest that draft pick compensation is the lone variable that determines a free agent’s value.
GM Brian Cashman announced yesterday that the Yankees extended a "significant offer" to Robinson Cano. Agent Scott Boras responded, stating that discussions will remain confidential and suggesting that talks will end if they become a distraction. It sounds as though the sides intend to limit leaks for now, but we’ll pass on any Cano-related updates here…
- Cano told reporters this morning that he wants to "focus on baseball," but he acknowledged that contract talks are "never" going to be off of his mind completely, Dave D'Alessandro of the Star-Ledger reports.
- Cano didn't say whether he had declined the Yankees' offer, Dave Waldstein of the New York Times reports. In fact, Cano didn’t even confirm that he had received an offer.
- There’s some disagreement as to whether the Yankees made Cano an official offer, Buster Olney said on ESPN.com’s Baseball Tonight podcast. Some of Olney’s sources say it was more a discussion of concepts and comparables. It’s still early, yet the sides are talking about some “really big numbers,” according to Olney. It’s possible the Yankees would offer $27-28MM per season on a seven-year deal. The club would probably prefer to avoid a ten-year commitment in Olney’s view.
"We are very excited about having Jose," said Boras. "He has the potential to be a future ace." Fernandez, the Marlins' top pick in the 2011 draft, had 10.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 with a 1.75 ERA in 134 innings for Class-A Greensboro and Advanced-A Jupiter in 2012.
For agency info on over 1,700 players, take a look at MLBTR's Agency Database.
In the first of a six-week series at MLB Trade Rumors, B.J. Rains spoke with Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday on his agent Scott Boras and why he picked him and the relationship the two have.
Here is what Holliday had to say about Boras:
"I signed with Scott Boras after my first year in the big leagues in 2004. My brother had him as an agent so I was familiar with him and interviewed him when I interviewed a bunch of agents while trying to decide after the 2004 season.
I went to California to meet with Scott and Mike Fiore (works for Boras) and Steve Odgers (a training guru employed by Boras) and some of their people and saw their facility and I just felt like to me, in doing the research and looking into all of the possible agents, I felt like it was a good fit. I felt like they did a fantastic job. They had research capabilities and staff and they had an institution in California for working out and longevity of careers and it just felt like they had all of their bases covered. Scott had a lot of experience as a player and obviously his resume as an agent spoke for itself and the players he’s had.
You want an agent that you can trust that they know what they are doing. I think for me, he’s somebody that has your best interest in negotiating your contract and he also has people on staff that can help you with your game and not just your contract. They offered a lot of services outside of here. They have a psychologist on staff, people who are doing research for arbitration cases years in advance. They have a research team, a marketing team, a sports nutrition team. I just felt it wasn’t just about negotiating your contract. They offered a lot more.
Also the personal relationship with somebody that you enjoy sitting down and talking to them. Scott is as accessible as you want him to be. I could call him right now. He’s got a lot of clients and people say they don’t hear from Scott but he’ll give you as much or as little attention as you want. I’m not a high maintenance guy, I don’t need to talk to him a lot, but if I need anything, I can call him anytime. I talk to Mike Fiore once a week, but like I said, Scott is as accessible as you want him to be.
I see him from time to time. Whenever we play in L.A. I’ll have lunch or dinner with him. If I wanted him to come to St. Louis he’d come anytime I want. It’s just one of those things where again, I don’t need a lot of maintenance.
Scott has been better than I hoped he would be. I’ve really enjoyed it, not only what he’s offered me as an agent but just getting to know him as a person and the father and husband that he is and all the wisdom that he has that I’ve enjoyed from not just baseball but all walks of life.
I laugh a lot of times when people have opinions of Scott. They couldn’t be further from the truth, the majority of them. I enjoy spending time with him and I think he’s really fun to be around and really good at what he does. I don’t have a negative thing to say about him."
The Phillies have been a playoff contender for the better part of the past half decade, but time and a decline in talent may mean the window of opportunity is quickly closing at Citizens Bank Park, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. "A lot of it will depend on how people perform, on how the young players perform," Amaro said. "At some point we're going to be filtering some young players onto this club and we need to find out who needs to be those guys to keep us going, to keep us afloat." Here's the latest news from around the National League.
- Scott Boras believes the market is heating up for his unsigned clients like Kyle Lohse and Jose Valverde thanks to the start of Spring Training, says Adam Berry of MLB.com. "Like most free agents with that kind of ability, I think you get all kinds of calls. Frankly the calls increase during Spring Training rather than decrease because the need level of each club is more evident," Boras said. "These are ownership decisions at this point. The talent is there.
- Walt Weiss must put his stamp on every aspect of his squad as he enters the 2013 season as the Rockies first-year manager, writes Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post. Renck points to Todd Helton as the starting point with his declining skills, inability to play a full season and the lingering DUI arrest that must be addressed by the veteran first baseman in front of the team.
- John Mozeliak's contract extension from the Cardinals stems from his linear integration model that has paid dividends in the form of victories at the Major League level, says Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I think he’s got a real sense of how to make a decision and a recommendation and not panicking into doing something that is good for the moment,” Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said.
For the last few weeks many of the details related to Michael Bourn's free agency have remained unknown. Which teams are interested other than the Mets? Could the Mets sign Bourn without surrendering the 11th overall draft pick this June? Would they commit more than $40MM? What we do know is that the Mets are interested in signing Bourn to a multiyear deal and that they intend to keep their draft pick. Here are today’s Bourn-related rumors, with the most recent updates up top:
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson stated in an online chat with fans that the Mets would like to sign Bourn. “For us, he would be a very nice fit,” Alderson said. “I think we’re still in the mix, but I couldn’t really predict anything at this point” (video link with text via Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog.com).
- Cerrone hears from people connected to the team that the Mets are thinking three years and around $40MM for Bourn. Agent Scott Boras is still seeking at least four years and $15MM per season, according to Cerrone.
Here's the latest from around the majors…
- The Indians are no longer pursuing Jim Thome, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link) reports, as the team doesn't want to devote a roster spot to a full-time DH. Thome is "healthy, working out [and] open to other clubs," Rosenthal notes. Thome said in December that he was open to continuing his career in 2013.
- Scott Boras plans to open a sports fitness center for his clients in south Florida next year, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports, in part to prevent players from getting associated with doctors and clinics associated with PEDs. Boras says his clinic will “bring about a certain level of assurance that the players we represent are certainly given the best information and best professional training…We feel we can best avoid all of the outside resources that are attacking these young men and providing them with false information and less than licensed professional medical assistance.”
- The Angels twice chose to focus on their hitters ahead of their pitching rotation this winter, decisions that MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez feels will define their season, for better or worse.
- Angel Villalona will join the Giants' Spring Training camp after obtaining a work visa to come to the United States, Baseball America's Ben Badler reports. Villalona couldn't get a visa last year and was on MLB's restricted list in 2010-11 due to complications from being charged with murder in his native Dominican Republic in 2009, charges that were eventually dropped.
- While Scott Rolen can't contribute on the field as he could in his prime, his veteran leadership can still be a big boost to a contender, MLB.com's Mike Bauman writes. Rolen has toyed with retirement this winter but may be negotiating a return to the Reds.
It was on this day in 1999 that Dennis Martinez announced his retirement from baseball. The first Major League player from Nicaragua, Martinez enjoyed a 23-year career with five teams, including spending his final season with Atlanta and eight years with Montreal from 1986-93. "El Presidente" is best remembered for throwing the 13th perfect game in Major League history, shutting down the Dodgers on July 28, 1991.
Here's the latest from around the NL East…
- Scott Boras has denied an accusation that he planted a rumor that the Marlins were close to signing Jose Valverde, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Spencer reported on Monday that the Marlins/Valverde rumor was false, with one source suspecting that Boras planted the rumor to generate interest in his client. Boras said he had "no motive" for creating the rumor since "what benefit would it be for me and my client to do that" when the false information could be so easily disproven.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has turned down several offers to buy the team in recent months, The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reports, including a group led by former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Loria has no intention to sell the team, though Jackson hears from an unnamed league official that Major League Baseball would prefer if Miami had an owner more willing to spend.
- The additions of Mike Adams and Chad Durbin will improve the Phillies bullpen, but the team also needs one of their young relievers to fill key roles in 2013, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.
- Chipper Jones discussed the Braves' offseason moves and his upcoming visit to the team's Spring Training camp with MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Though he accepted the Braves' invitation to spend five days at camp, Jones said he is enjoying retirement and has "not had the itch whatsoever" to play again.
It's no secret that the Mets would like to add Michael Bourn, the top free agent remaining. They dined with him, and their franchise player reached out to express interest. Though it's difficult to pinpoint other suitors for Bourn, the Indians could get involved if his asking price drops "a lot," Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported yesterday. Here are today's Bourn-related rumors with the most recent updates up top…
- Agent Scott Boras is telling the Mets he has attractive offers for Bourn, and the Mets are essentially challenging Boras to prove those proposals exist, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. The Mets have discussed a three-year deal for Bourn and hinted at a willingness to offer a fourth season, Sherman adds. It’s possible the Mets would match the four-year, $40MM contract Angel Pagan obtained, but only if their 11th overall draft pick becomes protected. Interestingly, the Mets would prefer to wait until they have an agreement with Bourn before challenging the existing draft pick compensation rules, Sherman writes.
- The Mets have discussed a three-year deal with Boras, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. However, the team isn’t willing to spend anywhere close to $15MM per season on the center fielder. Still, Boras maintains that interest remains strong in Bourn and free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse. “Bourn and Lohse have very viable markets and we’re negotiating with the clubs currently,” he told Rosenthal. The Braves never made Bourn an offer other than their qualifying offer, Rosenthal writes. Atlanta executives didn’t believe him to be worth more than $10-12MM per season for four years. Rosenthal lists the Mariners, Rangers and Cubs as potential suitors for Bourn.
The newest member of the Rays organization, Kelly Johnson, spoke with reporters on a conference call earlier today about his signing with Tampa Bay. The veteran second baseman/outfielder said he respected the Rays way of playing baseball under manager Joe Maddon, which made joining the franchise an easy decision. "I wasn't surprised they were interested. I knew if I wanted to go to Tampa I had to be willing to move around. They called and I was happy hear from them."
Here is what's happening around the league…
- Scott Boras denied his involvement with the planting of a rumor about his client Jose Valverde and an imminent deal with the Marlins, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- Mychal Givens will no longer play shortstop in the minors for the Orioles, but rather try his hand at pitching, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty has yet to hear any updates from Scott Rolen while he remains at a stalemate with his four remaining arbitration-eligible players, says Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
- Francisco Liriano's deal with the Pirates remains on track to become official, but will not do so until his non-throwing arm heals so the veteran can take a physical, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- Derek Lowe will wait to see what other offers come his way after passing on a minor league deal from the Rockies, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).