Thursday, December 10, 2009

Scott Boras: The Hypocrite

The super-agent addressed the media at the Winter Meetings again yesterday. He gave his ridiculous pitches for his players while doing his very best to chisel at certain franchises fan base. It seems one of his primary targets this time around was the San Francisco Giants. This is what he had to say, more or less, liberally paraphrased by Andrew Baggarly of San Jose Mercury News:

Boras on Beltre - “We did a study of road numbers compared to a hitter like Jason Bay. Obviously, Adrian had nicks with his collarbone (this year), but in 2006-08, we compared his numbers to Bay’s 07-09 on the road and … Adrian had more RBIs, just a couple fewer home runs and he hit 25 points higher. The OPS was the same. That’s just to put into perspective what kind of offensive player he is. He compares favorably to the top free-agent talent. And nobody has to tell you he’s far and away the best defensive third baseman in the game.”
Boras on Giants’ interest - “That’s my assumption. When you look at the game and you can get a top-seven player at a position … Obviously, the Giants have this window of opportunity in the next four or five years with one of the dominant pitching staffs in the game, if not the most dominant… and they were 29th, I think, in runs scored. If you add a player who can add to the pitching staff as an incredible defensive contributor (while) adding a middle-of-the-order bat capable of 90 RBIs, I’d say he’d be pretty welcome in the Giants’ situation.”

I’d just like to point out a few things from this. First, though, I don’t blame Boras for the tactics he uses. Boras is very intelligent and he is literally a Jedi Master in using the media to turn a teams fans on its management and owners. He is the man, after all, that got the Giants to fork over 7 years and $126 million guaranteed to the Giants’ least talented starter going into 2010 (this is debatable, but I’d say there are decent odds he’s outpitched by Freak, Cainer, No-No Dirty Sanchez and baby Bum in 2010).

He is very careful to highlight the strengths of the players he represents. In a recent post I used Matt Holliday’s Home/Road statistics to argue he is clearly not the franchise player Boras is marketing him as (*). While Boras would never dare analyze Home/Road statistics on Holliday, he quite happily did just that for Beltre in comparing him to Jason Bay as well as emphasizing his great defensive ability. Boras’ arguments are very strong and I myself used the exact same reasoning on my first post. I didn’t in my post, however, mention that Beltre was a Boras client. This fact may price the Giants out of Adrian Beltre. Boras is confident Beltre will receive a premium contract and precedence agrees with his belief and Boras is doing his best to hook the Giants yet again.

(*) Quickly one thing he said about Matt Holliday – “Matt Holliday could play in the NFL.” What a ridiculous statement. He will do and say anything in the media to create a buzz about his clients.

So is Boras a hypocrite? Absolutely! Do I blame him? Absolutely not! His #1 job is to get his players paid – handsomely – not to be ethical. He does it year in and year out across multiple sports. When speaking he is very good to tell the truth when his assertions are verifiable (like stats, for example). When his assertions are not verifiable (team payroll capabilities), he makes wild accusations that can never be confirmed. I was recently asked if teams will eventually stop working with him all together. So long as he continues to represent the premium players on the market, there is no chance of that. The key in dealing with him is not to let his biased analysis of each player control the market. Unfortunately, there will probably always be 1-2 teams that will cave in to his demands.

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