By Jon Flanders – @redsoxviews10
Scott Boras. A name many know, and many don’t like. Dubbed ‘The Most Powerful Sports Agent in the World’, it’s clear that you probably either dislike him, or do in fact understand his power. No, this isn’t Bill Clinton using his power over a certain intern to get his ‘needs’ met kind of power either.
In 1972, Boras was a walk-on for the University of the Pacific (in Stockton, California) and led his team with a .312 batting average. In fact, within the last decade he still ranks in the top-10 in multiple categories. My point here? He probably wasn’t going to be thrown money and be set for life to play Major League Baseball. The wheels were spinning as the passion for the game stuck with Boras long after his playing days. He wanted to make an impact on the game, and for good.
Even though he did play four years in the minors, Boras decided to hang up his cleats, and needed another outlet. Free agency was a new concept within Major League Baseball in the 1970’s. Player representation was not always fair, nor was it ever meant to truly benefit players more so than owners. It takes a patient person to be the ‘in and outs’ of a player and to negotiate contracts with greedy owners.
It was in 1980 that Boras decided he wanted to be an agent. In 1983, he negotiated closer Bill Caudill’s $7.5m deal, which at the time was one of the largest ever in baseball. He left the legal world to become a full-time agent. Boras is the first to have negotiated a $50+ million dollar deal (Greg Maddux 5/$57.5m in 1997), $100+ million (Kevin Brown 7/$105m in 1998) and $200+ million (Alex Rodriguez 10/$252m 2000).
Throughout the years, Boras has always been known to advise players to wait for free agency, rather than give ‘hometown discounts’. The main motive behind Boras IS to get his player the most amount of money. Chances are taken (as players have on occasion taken one-year ‘bridge’ deals to re-estabish their values) and risks are made, but at the end of the day it is Boras’ job to provide security for his players. It isn’t always pleasant, nor does it endear him to fans of whichever team of which player(s) he is representing. No sports agent has proven as successful as Boras has over the past 30 years.
Opinions can be harsh against Boras, as fans assume that players will in doubt move on to other teams. The esteem of Boras and his reputation can easily be skewed, based on those notions. If there were a salary cap for players, one which limits how much one player could make in any given season, fans wouldn’t dislike Boras, because he would always get players signed. In this offseason it is assumed that the inflated egos behind the scenes are to blame for the lack of signings and trades. I don’t blame Boras for the lack of moves. I DO believe he needs to be cognizant of trends.
Using 2016 salaries, 2017 salaries, and what we have for 2018 salaries we get the following intriguing numbers:
-2016 Beginning of Season Salaries (MLB): $3,903,750,767
-2017 Beginning of Season Salaries (MLB): $4,100,091,927 (increase of 5.03%)
-2018 Beginning of Season (so far) (MLB): $3,776,824,678 (7.9% lower than 2017)
The trend here is that it appears baseball team owners are attempting to get control on the amount of salary players are making. I haven’t ever complained about how much players make, because you have to factor in that these men in terms of talent are the top 1% in the world. They also draw in the revenue for their team/employer. It really sucks having to go through 90% of an off-season with maybe 10% of the movement we all thought would come to fruition. Leverage is diminished as some of the top teams decline to commit to 6+ years on any one given deal. I tend to agree with that. I would much rather give a player a 4-year deal with a higher Annual Value (AAV). The average salary would go up, but unless contracts became non-guaranteed, this might be the only way to prevent situations like this from happening.
ICYMI: AVIDBOSTON PODCAST EPISODE 28: THE JD MARTINEZ/ROB MANFRED EDITION!
Also available on iTunes!