The Romance Is Gone….It's A Whores Game Now
As a kid, I used to have a favorite player for every pro sports team in my hometown. Being from the Detroit area, names like Dumars, Yzerman, Sanders, and Trammell were mainstays in my card collections and posters that adorned my walls. Each one of those players stayed with their respective team from the beginning to the end. Contract negotiations were rarely blabbered about and fans trusted that their star wanted to be playing for their city and no other. It wasn’t just the star players either, it seemed that entire casts of characters made up teams back then. It was like a good sitcom, the cast would just keep returning season after season, playing their role and occasionally a newcomer would be added or a bit player dropped, but the core was always there.
I don’t pretend to know the mindset of the modern ballplayer. The money the average player makes will be unattainable in my lifetime, unless I hit the lottery. The talent they possess, the talent which justifies these wages, has also passed me by. I have no clue how awesome it would feel to throw 100 miles per hour or hit a ball 440 feet. I can’t imagine being able to do it, consistently at that, unless I was playing in a hurricane and the wind was at my back.
I also understand that it is the agents job, with cooperation from the player and to some extent GM’s around baseball, to get the most money possible for the players efforts on the field. In many cases, this requires leaving a team and their fan base for greener pastures.
I don’t pretend to know the why’s or the how’s of these negotiations between team and player/agent. I do, however, have an opinion. Somewhere between the stitches there is a certain amount of theater and a certain amount of honesty that gets played out for the public. I also believe there are very few players (not all, just very few) that care where they play. When it comes down to it, money will guide them.
The system they’ve been dealt has basically prevented them from free agency,” Boras said. “They want to make sure about their next step, whatever that will be. It means either signing a long-term contract now — and we’re still taking offers on those — or a number of other prospects that could occur after the season starts or in June, after the draft happens.
Like any players, they want to play baseball. But they’re also looking at the long-term aspect of their careers. This system has placed them not in free agency, but it’s placed them in a jail.
I would love to find this jail. Pay me $14 million for next year and I will lock the jail cell and throw away the key.
When Boras makes this type of statement, I begin to wonder who he is actually speaking too? Is he trying to plead to the fans of baseball for justice? Is this a cry of outrage to the commissioner? Is this a hint to the players union, one that may suggest a stand needs taking the next time both sides are at the bargaining table? Or is he just putting on a show?
I tend to believe it is the latter.
The bone Boras is picking has to do with the required forfeiture of an unprotected first round draft choice by the team that ends up signing the player. Boston made a qualified offer to Drew ($14 million for one year) and Drews camp turned it down feeling he was worth a multi-year deal. Draft picks are like gold in the modern game and Scott Boras feels this little wrinkle is hurting free agency, as nobody is too high on giving away draft picks these days, therein teams feel it is best to avoid these players and find other means to fill needs.
I , along with most sane baseball fans, feel a certain amount of disdain for Scott Boras. I constantly wonder what goes through the minds of his clients in these situations. Is Stephen Drew at all worried he could become the next Jermaine Dye? What about the oft injured Morales? Do either of these guys really feel they are worth the Multi-year contract they (or their agent) is pining for? If I could be a fly on the wall of their brain, I would love nothing more than to know what their desired income is….their “Ramen Noodle” minimum if you will.
As some of you know, I am a Tigers fan too. The recent pre-season negotiations between Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers struck a chord with me.
Max Scherzer made a substantial long-term contract extension offer to the Detroit Tigers that would have placed him among the highest-paid pitchers in baseball, and the offer was rejected by Detroit,” Boras said. “Max is very happy with the city of Detroit, the fans and his teammates, and we will continue negotiating with the Tigers at season’s end.
-Scott Boras regarding Max Scherzer
See what he did there? Apparently players are the ones making all the offers now, teams just sit and wait to see what they need. The teams are the bad guys, right? Ultimately it is the teams that let the fan base down, never the player, right Mr. Boras?
Now from a fans standpoint I have always liked Scherzer. However, I just downgraded him from likeable to “you better pitch your ass of this year” and aside from the last two years, he has had a pretty middling career. Last year he was exceptional, I mean, he won the Cy Young for crying out loud. The year before he was good. Prior to that he was not a household name and really did not warrant much consideration for anything higher than a middle rotation guy. Oh, and by the way, the guy turns 30 this year. His trend will be towards that of not living up to his contract, unless he manages to defy mother nature and get better with age. The Tigers reportedly offered 6 years and something close to Verlander’s yearly wage…real close. Boras and company reportedly asked for 8 years and probably more money. That is dangerous territory in the post PED age of baseball. 30 might as well be 40 ten years ago.
I am sure many agents cause headaches for GM’s and teams when contract negotiations come along. The problem with Boras is the grandstanding. He loves to give the media a quote and I can’t help attaching the player he represents to his comments and demeanor. It is probably terribly unfair but technically Scott Boras is “representing” the player. I have to believe the player is in mutual agreement with all comments made.
So, I assume guys like Stephen Drew, ye of the .264 career BA (with help from his early years) and an average to above average glove, truly believe they are in jail with nothing but paltry one year $14 million offers to settle for. I mean, I understand no team wants to give up a first round pick and the millions he would most assuredly ask for, but it probably didn’t help that Drew only hit about .120 in the post-season last year, I am pretty sure that is a fact left out of The Boras Agency’s player novel , The Stephen Drew Volume, being passed around to prospective teams.
Look, I get that baseball has “matured” since the eighties and I also understand that contract negotiations are part of the game. With the advent of increased media it comes as no shock we are privy to more details than a fan probably needs. In my opinion the fan/player romance is all but gone. In this day and age it’s best to cheer for the name on the front of the jersey, because you never know if the one on the back will stay for very long.