I had a chance to catch up with super agent and MLBTR reader Scott Boras after today's baseball analytics panel at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. A few highlights:
- Asked what led Edwin Jackson to take a one-year deal with the Nationals, Boras said, "In Edwin's case, it was choice. We had multiyear deals, a number of them. We really felt that it was best for him, at his age, to be with a particular team at a particular time and then go into the free agent market next year." I was curious as to whether Boras thought Jackson would improve his market position with a better 2012 performance, and the agent explained, "Our metrics, our analysis, we felt that his evolution as a pitcher is coming. I think he was developing certain pitches as his season went on. We really felt it was best for him to do a one-year contract rather than a three-year deal."
- Speaking of the agency's analytical tools, Boras has internal metrics he does not share with teams in negotiations, he noted during the panel. These analytics instead help determine how the agency values the player as a starting point. Sabermetric guru and Red Sox employee Bill James jumped in to question Boras on what he does when a GM places a significantly higher value on a player than Boras does, "other than celebrate." The agent replied that he will, for the most part, guard against poor fits for his clients, unless the client dictates his destination due to family concerns.
- Johnny Damon is "home, working out, waiting for the right team," Boras told me. I asked if Damon was expected a Major League deal, and Boras said, "Johnny Damon was about the third-best DH in the AL. I'm sure there's a lot of clubs that are looking at youth, and by the time spring training ends they may be looking at it differently."
- Lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez is "in play with a lot of teams right now," according to Boras. He elaborated, "A lot of it has to do with situational needs and clubs. In these markets, sometimes late doesn't mean demand, it just means choice."