How's Boras Doing This Off-Season?

cannonball 1729

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Here's the article. It's a bit of a time capsule to 2015, when the new draft slots had come in and teams were figuring out what to do with that. I can't say my guess about the future was correct, but I'll leave it up for posterity. (The article is also draft-centric but hopefully still illustrative.)




THE AGENT AND THE DRAFT

While free agency reached the majors in the mid-1970s, the MLB draft remained impervious to the new financial realities until the early 1980s. The first pick of the 1965 draft, Rick Monday, signed for a bonus of $100,000; the first pick of the 1982 draft, Shawon Dunston, signed for just $35,000 more. The draft was by no means a fair system, but without a union or leverage, draftees were largely indentured servants, forced to settle for whatever they were offered from drafting teams.

Things began to change in 1983. That year, the Twins drafted Tim Belcher, a promising young pitcher (and future MLB mainstay) with the first pick of the draft. The Twins were notoriously cheap at the time, and they opened the negotiations with a lowball offer of $90,000, slightly below what top picks had been receiving for twenty years. After some brief negotiation between Belcher and the Twins, Belcher consulted with his agent and came to a surprising conclusion: he would simply refuse to sign with the Twins. Instead, the young pitcher decided to take his chances in the supplemental draft in January, where the Yankees chose him first and signed him for the more reasonable sum of $125,000. Thus, modern draft negotiations were born.

Belcher’s agent, by the way, was a 31-year-old former ballplayer named Scott Boras.

If Marvin Miller is the architect of MLB free agency, Boras is clearly the architect of the rights of the modern draftee. Five years after engineering Belcher’s refusal to sign with the Twins, Boras negotiated a record-smashing, $235,000 bonus for draftee Andy Benes. Just one year later, he negotiated the first million-dollar contract for a first-round draft pick (Ben McDonald), and two years after that came the first million-dollar signing bonus (given to infamous draft bust Brien Taylor). The list of “firsts” and “highests” in draft bonus history now reads like a collection of Boras’s greatest hits, including the first major league contract for an amateur in draft history (McDonald), the first major league contract to a drafted high schooler (Todd Van Poppel, who signed a $1.2 million deal the year after McDonald) and eight of the ten largest signing bonuses of all time (including the most lucrative contract in history – Stephen Strasburg’s $15.1 million deal). Boras has forced numerous rule changes in MLB’s draft structure, affecting everything from whether a GED makes one eligible for the draft to how much money each player in the draft can make to how long teams have to send a contract proposal. In the process, he has changed the draft from an orderly assignment of amateurs to a more equitable (if contentious) process in which 18 year-olds can become millionaires.

So how has Boras done it? Behold:

HOW BORAS BROKE THE DRAFT

Creating leverage. One of Boras’s first realizations was that if he could find a way to give his players leverage, he could make them a whole lot more money.

If you’ve followed a major league team, you’re aware that Boras’s favorite technique for creating leverage is to invoke the mystery team, a team that he isn’t allowed to name but is definitely interested in your desired free agent and wants to sign him to a big contract, so you’d better pony up some more money. In the draft, though, this doesn’t work, since players can only sign with the team that selected them. Instead of threatening teams with the specter of other interested clubs, then, Boras exploited the only credible threat he had: he began to tell teams that his players would simply walk away from negotiations. In other words, his players would pursue other options, even if those options were less lucrative in the short term, in order to be drafted by another team the following year.

Now, for a college junior or high school senior, such a threat is credible since the player can go play in college and enter the draft again at a later date. For college seniors, though, there’s no such recourse, since a senior in college can’t threaten to go back to school. So Boras came up with a novel idea; he began to declare that draftees would sign with independent league baseball teams if negotiations were unsuccessful.


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https://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/Npu38Na4NSBwj2Z6TlSTVgtnUo4=/0x260:1311x1134/1310x873/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/46550504/GettyImages-1007512.0.jpg (Elsa/Getty)

Of course, this whole independent league gambit seemed crazy. “What player is going to forsake an MLB team to go toil for some independent club in the hinterlands?,” thought drafting teams. Then players actually started doing it. J.D. Drew spent a summer enjoying the balmy weather in Minnesota as a member of the St. Paul Saints, Jason Varitek signed with (but never actually played for) the Saints as well, and Luke Hochevar spurned the Dodgers for a season with the Fort Worth Cats.

This tactic turned out to be stunningly effective. Drew was offered $3 million by the Phillies before he went to St. Paul; in the following draft, he signed with the Cardinals for almost $9 million. Varitek forced the Mariners to up their offer from $400,000 to $650,000, and Hochevar’s $2.98 million offer from the Dodgers turned into a $5.3 million offer from the Royals.

Occasionally, Boras has even managed to create leverage the old-fashioned way: by finding loopholes to make his clients free agents. In 1996, he noticed a clause in the CBA that granted free agency to draftees if the drafting team didn’t tender a contract within 15 of days of the draft; he exploited that loophole to win free agency for clients Matt White and Bobby Seay, the 7th and 12th picks in the draft, respectively. He also snuck Landon Powell through the draft and into free agency by encouraging him to get a GED in his junior year of high school; no MLB team realized that he was eligible for the draft, and hence no team picked him. Boras has often stated his belief that the draft massively suppresses the value of amateur players – after White and Seay signed for $10.2 million and $3 million respectively, it’s easy to see why he would make such a claim.

Waiting. Much like a student writing a term paper, Boras has a penchant for dragging things out until the very last possible minute. Boras knows that for a MLB team, the pressure for signing a first-round pick is high; he leverages this pressure by simply waiting, knowing that teams, if forced to wait around, will often begin to bid against themselves. This August, check out two things: 1.) how many draftees wait until the last week or the last day to sign, and 2.) how many of those procrastinators are Boras clients. You’ll undoubtedly find that the second category makes up a large percentage of the first.

Boras used this strategy to perfection in the infamous 2009 draft, when he let negotiations for the top three picks (all Boras picks) all go down to the wire in a successful bid to extract maximal amounts of money from drafting teams. With first pick Stephen Strasburg, Boras eventually got the Nationals to bid against themselves – they raised their offer by about $2.5 million over the last hour and eventually agreed to a $15 million deal just two minutes before the deadline. Second pick Dustin Ackley signed his deal with the Mariners about 15 minutes before the deadline, inking a $7.5 million deal plus up to $2.5 million in incentives for reaching the majors. Earlier in the process, Boras had indicated that he wanted “Mark Teixeira money” (i.e. $9.5 million) for Ackley; since Dustin would later earn about $2 million of the incentives plus the $7.5 million base, it seems that Boras got pretty much everything he asked for. Third pick Donavan Tate signed on the last day as well, but at least he came to an agreement earlier in the day – apparently, Boras was content with a $6.5 million deal that merely made Tate the highest-paid high schooler in draft history.

Giving cover to the player by taking the blame for rancorous negotiations. For a new draftee, there’s one very obvious disincentive to playing hardball in negotiations: the fans hate it. Many fans resent the idea that major leaguers make millions of dollars, and they particularly resent the idea that an 18-to-22-year-old who’s never played a day of professional baseball would turn down more money than most of those fans will see in a lifetime. The risk of being excoriated by the press and the fandom is real, and some players can be cowed into lesser deals so as not to seem greedy.

Boras, though, takes the heat off the player. He tells the player that he, the agent, will handle all negotiations and that the player should stay out of the limelight and make milquetoast statements like, “I’m just looking forward to getting on the field!” and "Baseball been berry berry good to me!" Now obviously, no player asks for representation from Boras without knowing that the agent will fight for every last cent, but Boras acts as such an effective lightning rod that the fans somehow overlook the player and blame Boras for the protracted negotiations. How many people remember Jason Varitek as the player who dragged his teams through interminable negotiations three times (once when drafted by the Mariners, once when he made the Red Sox wait around until Christmas in 2004, and once when he held out until February in 2009) despite the fact that only one team was bidding in each instance? No one? Exactly.

Giving cover to teams by setting unreasonable expectations. Back in 2009, Boras negotiated a massive deal for Stephen Strasburg, convincing the Nationals to offer over $15 million to a man who had never thrown a pitch in professional baseball. Strasburg’s deal wasn’t just a new record for a draftee; it shattered the old record, besting Mark Prior’s previous high by almost $5 million.


stephen-strasburg-delivers-a-pitch-bd6c335d45311594.jpg


http://media.lehighvalleylive.com/sports_impact/photo/stephen-strasburg-delivers-a-pitch-bd6c335d45311594.jpg (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

After such lopsided negotiations, you might expect press reactions to range from “the Nationals were robbed” to “no, seriously, the Nationals were robbed.” And you would be wrong. Most periodicals described the deal as one that was fair to both sides or perhaps even a win for the Nationals. Keith Law said that both parties made “the deal that had to be made.” Dave Cameron at Fangraphs even wondered whether Boras might have “lost a step.”

How on earth did this happen? How did a deal that was 50% larger than the biggest contract in history become viewed as a fair deal to both sides or a victory for the signing team? It’s simple. Early in the process, Boras told the press that Strasburg was worth $50 million. That’s fifty, as in a five and a zero. Obviously, there was no way that $50 million was anywhere close to what Strasburg was going to make, but Boras repeated that number so often that the press began to expect something of that magnitude, and when Strasburg signed for “only” $15 million, many members of the press decided that the Nationals had somehow pulled one over on Boras.

This is a common tactic on Boras’s part. In 2004, Boras repeatedly told the press that Jered Weaver was worth $10.5 million (the amount that Mark Prior received). Weaver eventually received “only” $4 million, nowhere near the initial price tag but still more than anyone else in that year’s draft besides fellow holdout (and fellow Boras client) Stephen Drew. In fact, this is such an effective tactic that Boras often uses it in free agent negotiations as well – you might remember Boras doing this with Alex Rodriguez (who signed with the Yankees for the “bargain” price of almost $300 million even though no one else was offering anything close to that) or Daisuke Matsuzaka (who “settled” for $52 million despite the fact that literally no other team was allowed to negotiate with him).

Announcing his demands in advance. In mid-2000s baseball, certain teams had money and would pay top dollar for prospects, while other teams would try to Moneyball their way into a cheap yet successful draft class. Realizing this, Boras decided that the best way to get large contracts for his draftees was simply to avoid being drafted by poor teams. So he began to make outrageous salary demands before the draft had even happened, knowing that these demands, combined with Boras’s unwillingness to settle for lesser dollars, would keep all but the richest teams away. In 2001, Boras convinced the Phillies that he was serious about a huge deal for client Mark Teixeira, causing the Phils to pass on the young first baseman and letting the Rangers select him with the fifth pick of the draft; the Rangers signed Tex to a $9.5 million deal. In 2004, Boras’s effect was even more dramatic, as his demands for Jeff Weaver dropped the pitcher from a top-three pick to the 12th pick of the draft. Larger still was the effect Boras had in 2007, when he demanded (and eventually received) a $7 million deal for Rick Porcello, dropping Porcello from a top-two pick all the way to the 27th selection. The “Boras effect” was a well-understood phenomenon that could knock top-three picks to the bottom of the first round and low-first/high-second round picks all the way down to the 14th round (see Nick Adenhart in 2004).

MLB FIGHTS BACK: A HARD CAP SOLUTION

Ultimately, this last tactic was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The whole point of the draft is that it allows bad teams to get better; if rich teams can simply dominate the draft the way they can the free agent market, there’s no point in having the draft at all.

MLB finally struck back in 2012, setting up hard caps on signing bonuses for draftees. In the new system, each team has a fixed amount that they are allowed to spend on their pool of drafted players (the exact amount depends upon which picks the team has), and any team that goes their amount over will be fined and/or docked future draft picks (a fine for being less than 5% over; loss of the next two first-round picks and a fine for being more than 15% over). Now, instead of simply asking teams for fair value, each player is basically asking for a slice of a predetermined pie.

How has Boras responded to this? So far, he hasn’t. Boras has been good at getting his players more than the MLB’s suggested slot values, but there’s no doubt that he is looking for something a bit more significant for his clients.

A SOLUTION TO THE HARD CAP SOLUTION?

Is there anything Boras can do? The answer may lie in MLB’s international free agent system.

Much like in the amateur draft, teams that sign amateurs from the international pool are subject to hard caps on how much they can spend; generally, these caps run from about $2 to $5 million, depending on the team’s finish in the previous year. The penalties for teams that exceed these caps are similar to the penalties for overspending in the draft, ranging from fines to significantly hampered participation in subsequent years’ pools.

In 2014, the Yankees were given an international amateur free agent cap of about $2.2 million. However, when the pool opened for business, the Yankees went on a spending spree and ended up overspending the cap by, oh, $12 million or so. All told, the Yankees signed 9 of the top 25 international amateur prospects that year. The Red Sox quickly followed suit, eventually blowing through their cap number by about $30 million (thanks in large part to the signing of Yoan Moncada). The penalty? A 100% fine on all monies spent over the cap, plus the loss of the right to sign any player for more than $300,000 in the two following years.


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http://image.masslive.com/home/mass-media/width620/img/redsox_impact/photo/19637952-mmmain.jpg (Brynn Anderson/AP)

Did flouting the system pay off for the Yankees or Red Sox? Almost definitely. The Yanks and Sox realized that one great haul was better than three okay ones, so they went all in on one year of signings at the expense of the other two. Moncada alone is a top-five prospect in the game – the Red Sox could have spent years lurking around the international pool and never come close to pulling in a top-five prospect.

Could something similar happen in the draft? In other words, could the next Stephen Strasburg announce that he’ll only sign for $40 million dollars, fall to a team like the Yankees or Dodgers, and then sign for the declared amount? It’s certainly possible. A team that consistently picks at the bottom of the draft (or, worse, a team that consistently forfeits its first pick in order to sign free agents) could decide that one great pick, plus the right to sign significantly over-slot deals later in that draft, is worth the cost of two bottom-of-the-first round picks in subsequent drafts. This obviously hasn’t happened yet, in part because Boras hasn’t represented anyone as hyped as Strasburg was, but if another Strasburg or Bryce Harper or Mark Prior hits the draft, things could get very interesting…
 
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DennyDoyle'sBoil

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None of that was really news this winter, though.

For me the issue with hiring Boras as an agent would be that he always has conflicts of interest, right now very obviously with Snell and Montgomery. If those two players had different agents from each other, I bet at least one would be signed already.
The conflicts issues is interesting. I've ruminated about it from time to time, since legal ethics touches on my job. I don't know whether Boras purports to take off his lawyer hat when he acts as an agent. Even if he doesn't, the kind of conflicts we are talking about here are waivable by the clients if they desire, after disclosure and with informed consent. And I can see where they might want to. There are plusses and minuses. The plusses from the players' perspective are that Boras can kind of act like a cartel. If a team negotiating with one of the players wants to imply or suggest negotiation with, or negotiate with, a different player at the same position to get leverage in the negotiation with the first player, it cannot do so with Snell and Monty. In a very robust market this would be an advantage for Boras and in fact one I think the clubs could complain about -- though nobody would listen. (They are not about to start accusing a guy they need of anti-trust violations.) In a less than robust market, it's a negative for the players. Or at least a potential negative.

I think it's pretty likely that Boras walks them through all of this and has a patter down when it comes to representing multiple players in a sport with a limited pot available for them.

In the end, whether or not Boras is good or bad at his job will come out in the wash I would think. If players are getting screwed because he misjudges the market then other players are going to go elsewhere. It's a very highly competitive business where you can't suck for long. I would think other agents circle like vultures.
 

jon abbey

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It was reported here in November that Boras/Chapman turned down a nine figure offer from TOR to stay.

“The Jays haven’t given up hope that Matt Chapman doesn’t find the massive contract he’s hoping for in free agency and would take something in the neighbourhood of $100 million over four or five years.

Considering he already turned down more than that from Toronto in the form of a long-term extension, it still seems unlikely that the Jays get their all-world defensive third baseman back, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.”

https://www.tsn.ca/mlb/scott-mitchell-the-pressing-questions-facing-the-toronto-blue-jays-right-now-1.2033852
 

loneredseat

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Here's the article. It's a bit of a time capsule to 2015, when the new draft slots had come in and teams were figuring out what to do with that. I can't say my guess about the future was correct, but I'll leave it up for posterity. (The article is also draft-centric but hopefully still illustrative.)

That's going to make one hell of a mini series. I wonder who will play Boras? I'd love to watch the negotiations for the rights ;).
 

HfxBob

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Nov 13, 2005
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Bellinger - Pillow
Chapman - Pillow

Will it be a Grand Slam of Pillows for the Boras 4? (Which might be a little disrespectful to JD Martinez.)
 

SouthernBoSox

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The Cubs always made the most sense for Bellinger.

The Giants always made the most sense for Chapman.

The Red Sox have always made the most sense for Montgomery.

We will see.
 

bosockboy

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It was reported here in November that Boras/Chapman turned down a nine figure offer from TOR to stay.

“The Jays haven’t given up hope that Matt Chapman doesn’t find the massive contract he’s hoping for in free agency and would take something in the neighbourhood of $100 million over four or five years.

Considering he already turned down more than that from Toronto in the form of a long-term extension, it still seems unlikely that the Jays get their all-world defensive third baseman back, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.”

https://www.tsn.ca/mlb/scott-mitchell-the-pressing-questions-facing-the-toronto-blue-jays-right-now-1.2033852
This seems to be a real Boras weakness. Sometimes an early extension offer will far exceed the FA marketplace. He isn’t good at identifying this because he’s greedy and convinces his client there’s more out there.
 

simplicio

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I wonder how much these pillow contracts are about acknowledging the drag of a QO on a player's market and trying to get back to FA unencumbered ASAP. Montgomery still being eligible may be enough cause for his eventual deal to buck this trend.
 

Steve Dillard

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I’m not too sure about the value of a pillow for the Sox. It will make them more competitive this year, but their primary goal is building a longer term team. For purposes of planning, a yearly opt out is counterproductive. Especially with the opt out being structured as a front loaded contract, where you overpay for this year to incentivize the opt out. That makes a lot more sense for a current contender willing to overpay for this year. I imagine that is the very point of dispute between the Sox and Boras now, with the Rangers or similar team in a slightly more attractive spot to accept many opt outs. Of course, he does signal to the fans a desire to be competitive, and has a QP that would make him walking a bit more attractive to overall growth.
 

OCD SS

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Monty being elligible for a QO may be a reason for him to hold out for longer; whoever signs him has that in their back pocket if he opts out, so he'd be looking at this king of drag on his next contract when he's a year older.

For me the interesting thing is the Bellinger and Chapman contracts are building in massive deflation in their player values, so by getting as much money as they can up front they don't need to match as much if they choose to go year to year on the back end (although they should probably look at JD Martinez's contract history for a view of how that might play out).
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I wonder how much these pillow contracts are about acknowledging the drag of a QO on a player's market and trying to get back to FA unencumbered ASAP. Montgomery still being eligible may be enough cause for his eventual deal to buck this trend.
The weird thing is that if the QO is such a drag on a player's market, it should preclude "pillow contracts" from anywhere but their original team. If the draft pick penalty is preventing teams from offering getting 5-6+ years like the player wants, it really should prevent a team making a one year offer.

I really don't think the QO is the issue with these players. It's that, apparently, no one wants to give them the big money, long term deals they are seeking. The QO is arguably irrelevant.
 

jon abbey

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The QO is arguably irrelevant.
I don't think it's irrelevant, it depends on the team and the situation. If Snell didn't have one attached, I think he and the Yankees might be able to figure out a deal that works for both of them, but given everything else, I don't think it will happen.
 

Cassvt2023

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Ohtani and Yamamoto's agents are having a WAY better offseason than Scott Boras. Love it.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I don't think it's irrelevant, it depends on the team and the situation. If Snell didn't have one attached, I think he and the Yankees might be able to figure out a deal that works for both of them, but given everything else, I don't think it will happen.
It didn't prevent them from offering that multi-year $150M deal earlier in the winter. I can certainly see where a QO would hamper discussions of a shorter term deal as any team is likely going to be more reluctant to give up a draft pick for a one or two year commitment from the player. My point was more that Snell isn't unsigned right now because the QO hurt his market. He's unsigned because no team was willing to give him the years/dollars he was asking. Maybe now it's a hindrance to finding a "pillow" type contract, but it wasn't the issue two and three months ago.
 

Benj4ever

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This seems to be a real Boras weakness. Sometimes an early extension offer will far exceed the FA marketplace. He isn’t good at identifying this because he’s greedy and convinces his client there’s more out there.
Both Boras and the Titanic were unsinkable...until they sunk.
 

moondog80

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If he opts out year 1 and they lost a 2nd round pick + 500k IFA cash to pay him $20m in a park that's likely to suppress his hitting even more? That doesn't look great to me.
How is that different than any number of deals (like Verdugo) where teams give up non-elite prospects for one year of a guy? Chapman much better than Verdugo and the return for Doogie is more valuable than the picks SF loses.

2nd round picks are nice but let’s not get carried away about their value.
 

SouthernBoSox

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How is that different than any number of deals (like Verdugo) where teams give up non-elite prospects for one year of a guy? Chapman much better than Verdugo and the return for Doogie is more valuable than the picks SF loses.
Because you are also guaranteeing him 3 years 53mm.
 

VORP Speed

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Should you price your house below what it’s worth to get offers flowing and then end up above the asking price, or price it way above what is realistic and then hold out until someone caves and gives you an offer close to that? The risk of the former is you leave a little money on the table, the risk of the latter is you overplay your hand, get smoked out by the buyers as being full of shit and your leverage collapses.

Boras’ hyper-aggressive negotiating tactics work great in frothy markets, with multiple bidders and rampant FOMO. It was rare someone didn’t swoop in to save the day. But as the free agent markets tighten for all but the tippity-top talent, it might not continue to be the best approach. Styles make fights.
 

BigSoxFan

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Really is incredible to me that decent players like Chapman would turn down $100M+ offers. Really curious about what Boras thought he could get in this tight market. So much downside to turning down that kind of money. He’ll still be fine in his life but, yeah, I wouldn’t have the guts to balk at offers like that.
 

simplicio

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How is that different than any number of deals (like Verdugo) where teams give up non-elite prospects for one year of a guy? Chapman much better than Verdugo and the return for Doogie is more valuable than the picks SF loses.

2nd round picks are nice but let’s not get carried away about their value.
Losing 2nd round money from your pool has a cascading effect on the whole draft. It's a big deal.

And $500k IFA money could be an extra 10-50 shots at the next Bello/Rafaela.
 

moondog80

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Losing 2nd round money from your pool has a cascading effect on the whole draft. It's a big deal.

And $500k IFA money could be an extra 10-50 shots at the next Bello/Rafaela.
Getting Chapman at a very team friendly deal is big deal too.
 

jon abbey

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Sure. That’s still well below Chapman’s value. It’s not like he’s 39. Check out his stat cast page.
.659 OPS after April last season, don’t think he’s anywhere close to a sure thing.
 

moondog80

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.659 OPS after April last season, don’t think he’s anywhere close to a sure thing.
Nobody is a sure thing. But the April stats count too. Again, check out his statcast page. He crushed the ball last year. You don’t get scores of 98-100 from one good month.
 

chrisfont9

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Should you price your house below what it’s worth to get offers flowing and then end up above the asking price, or price it way above what is realistic and then hold out until someone caves and gives you an offer close to that? The risk of the former is you leave a little money on the table, the risk of the latter is you overplay your hand, get smoked out by the buyers as being full of shit and your leverage collapses.

Boras’ hyper-aggressive negotiating tactics work great in frothy markets, with multiple bidders and rampant FOMO. It was rare someone didn’t swoop in to save the day. But as the free agent markets tighten for all but the tippity-top talent, it might not continue to be the best approach. Styles make fights.
I've been saying all along -- you can't treat the pitchers' market like the hitters' market. He thought he could get teams to do that. They refuse. Not just the Sox.
 

simplicio

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Yeah I think the crux of this disagreement lies in how good one thinks Chapman still is. I don't think SF is going to be kind to him.
78915
 

SouthernBoSox

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Sure. That’s still well below Chapman’s value. It’s not like he’s 39. Check out his stat cast page.
I don’t want to get into an Opt Out mega thread but the quick rebuttal is that the opt outs completely
negate the fact “well below” his value.

If it’s “well below”, he will opt out, if it’s not, they will be overpaying for his services.
 

moondog80

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I don’t want to get into an Opt Out mega thread but the quick rebuttal is that the opt outs completely
negate the fact “well below” his value.

If it’s “well below”, he will opt out, if it’s not, they will be overpaying for his services.
And if that happens — which is the most likely outcome — it will be because he has a good year. Check for SF. Prospects worth more than what SF loses are going to get traded for rentals worth less than Chapman and everyone will applaud the GMs for going for it.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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.659 OPS after April last season, don’t think he’s anywhere close to a sure thing.
This even undersells it a little bit because he was good in July, also. He was pretty much unplayable with the bat in August and September, although he did sprain a finger somewhere in there. Maybe he bounces back with better health, but I doubt going to San Francisco helps much on that score.

EDIT: corrected the injury
 

nvalvo

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If he opts out year 1 and they lost a 2nd round pick + 500k IFA cash to pay him $20m in a park that's likely to suppress his hitting even more? That doesn't look great to me.
With his glove, he doesn’t have to hit a ton to be worth $20m. And the thing about the NL West is that the ballparks are three marine-layer parks that play as extreme pitchers’ parks *at night* (but much less so during the day) and two high-altitude mountain west parks that are extremely hitter friendly. Oracle is also much rougher on left-handed power than right-handed.

I think he’ll be fine.
 

uncannymanny

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I do wonder if Boras’ style – the binders of data and lofty predictions for future performance – has been nearly cancelled out at this point by the rise of team analytics departments (“yeah, we have tons of data too, Scott”) and of social media commentary (the weakening ability to drive narrative himself).
 

Benj4ever

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I do wonder if Boras’ style – the binders of data and lofty predictions for future performance – has been nearly cancelled out at this point by the rise of team analytics departments (“yeah, we have tons of data too, Scott”) and of social media commentary (the weakening ability to drive narrative himself).
If Boras' style does render him obsolete, so much the better for baseball!
 

joe dokes

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I do wonder if Boras’ style – the binders of data and lofty predictions for future performance – has been nearly cancelled out at this point by the rise of team analytics departments (“yeah, we have tons of data too, Scott”) and of social media commentary (the weakening ability to drive narrative himself).
Boras has Heyman, and that's it. Used to be sufficient to drum up the visage of "mystery teams," but the combination of Heyman's exposed whoredom and the proliferation of other connected talkingheads has really neutered the mystery strain.
 

ShaneTrot

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I want the players to get as much money as possible. The owners are rich, the franchises are worth billions, and the game generates a lot of revenue. Plus John Henry is never going to need Tommy John surgery. The players have a short shelf life and they need to cash in when they can. That said, Boras screwed the pooch here by overestimating the market, and I do find it amusing. Sometimes the guy who thinks he is the smartest guy in the room gets his comeuppance.
 

uncannymanny

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Boras has Heyman, and that's it. Used to be sufficient to drum up the visage of "mystery teams," but the combination of Heyman's exposed whoredom and the proliferation of other connected talkingheads has really neutered the mystery strain.
Exactly. I also forgot to mention the average fan has access to, not quite team level, but a pretty amazing amount of data that wasn't accessible for them even a decade ago.
 

jon abbey

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Boras has Heyman, and that's it. Used to be sufficient to drum up the visage of "mystery teams," but the combination of Heyman's exposed whoredom and the proliferation of other connected talkingheads has really neutered the mystery strain.
For a long time he was able to talk directly to owners and often circumvent the more practical GMs, but that doesn't seem to work anymore.

My only issue with Boras really is his constant conflict of interests, absurd to hear as we did this winter that he didn't want to talk about Montgomery until Snell was signed. I guess Montgomery agreed.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I want the players to get as much money as possible. The owners are rich, the franchises are worth billions, and the game generates a lot of revenue. Plus John Henry is never going to need Tommy John surgery. The players have a short shelf life and they need to cash in when they can. That said, Boras screwed the pooch here by overestimating the market, and I do find it amusing. Sometimes the guy who thinks he is the smartest guy in the room gets his comeuppance.
While I do agree with this.... there really should be some sort of ratio of team profit- ownership profit- player profit that also caps team spending at both the high and low ends and also helps the really underpaid people that make the whole experience from hot dog vendors to groundskeepers to terribly underpaid minor league players. It's still crazy that certain players that blow make hundreds of millions while young productive ones make such a small amount compared to their production.
From an outsider's perspective.... the whole economy is kinda disturbing yet we still watch.
 

Max Power

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Jul 20, 2005
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I want the players to get as much money as possible. The owners are rich, the franchises are worth billions, and the game generates a lot of revenue. Plus John Henry is never going to need Tommy John surgery. The players have a short shelf life and they need to cash in when they can. That said, Boras screwed the pooch here by overestimating the market, and I do find it amusing. Sometimes the guy who thinks he is the smartest guy in the room gets his comeuppance.
Yes, but I also want the free agent period to be wrapped up by spring training. As a fan it's a helpful dividing line between switching from the "what do they need" to "what do they have" mindset. His dragging it out isn't fun to watch and doesn't help the game.
 

uncannymanny

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For a long time he was able to talk directly to owners and often circumvent the more practical GMs, but that doesn't seem to work anymore.

My only issue with Boras really is his constant conflict of interests, absurd to hear as we did this winter that he didn't want to talk about Montgomery until Snell was signed. I guess Montgomery agreed.
No one cares about COI when the tactics are working. When the old moves stop being effective and you lose the ability to see when the best deal is on the table, you lose clients.
 

dynomite

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Proof positive that Boras failed.
And how. Coming off multiple healthy, strong seasons and heroic playoff run capped with a World Series victory, Montgomery needed to cash in this offseason.

We'll never know what really happened, and whether Montgomery turned down bigger offers because Boras assured him he could get more later, but on its face a 1 year / $25M seems like the absolute worst case scenario. He has a little insurance with the $20M player option for next year, but now he didn't even get a regular Spring Training to put his best foot forward this season in the hopes of getting a replacement deal next year (when he'll be a year older, of course).
 

BigSoxFan

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I’d be perfectly fine with a marginalization of Boras’ influence on the game but ultimately the player is making the decision. If JM got $100M+ offers and turned them down because Boras told him he could get more, that’s mostly on JM. Boras has a good history of getting money so I get why he might gamble but Montgomery knew the risks and went with them. You have to wonder if similar cases will operate differently next offseason given the elbow injury stuff.