Below is the transcript of an interview XM Satellite’s Chuck Wilson did today with Scott Boras on MLB Homeplate. I didn’t actually HEAR this interview, just received the transcript in my in-box. Notice how long his answers are. This is Scott’s standard M.O., to answer questions with these long monologues, usually delivered at a rapid pace. … Brad Penny officially filed today, the day after the Dodgers rejected his option year. Club could re-sign him, but it’s highly unlikely. He was the longest-tenured member of the Dodgers.
Here’s the Boras interview:
On Manny Ramirez’s prospects in free agency and the reported offer by the LA Dodgers:
Host, Chuck Wilson: “Obviously the main topic today is Manny Ramirez and the supposed two-year contract that [the Dodgers] have offered [for] $50 million. Obviously, you’re not going to give us specifics but what do you do from here and do you foresee this being a long process with Manny, trying to sign him with a club?”
Boras: “We’re really not even in the negotiating mode now. We’re in the information taking mode, trying to determine what the plan is for a variety of Major League teams coming in to the 2009 season. The teams have had their meetings. My job is now to extract what their plans are and see if we have any fits for our clients with those respective teams. I think the publicizing of an offer and bringing those to light, there may be reasons why that’s done. I know when I go to do a negotiation my job is to look at the substance of what is fair and what should a player expect? What are the reasons behind an evaluation for value? When you look at Manny Ramirez, he’s probably the greatest right-handed hitter in the game, and he’s a historic hitter, a future Hall-of-Famer. He’s helped two teams get to their respective League Championship Series. His pedigree in the post-season is, frankly, unmatched by even great players like A-Rod or a Barry Bonds. The only reason I raise those players’ names is that Barry Bonds serves as an example of market fairness and what a Major League team did to a player who is an extraordinary performer and also had the ability to pay for himself in that Barry Bonds put fans in the seats, he was a franchise player in San Francisco, and at a year older than Manny Ramirez he got a five year contract. Alex Rodriguez is a player who is obviously a very special player, a unique player in the game, and he also got a contract that paid him to the age of 42. So people ask me about barometers. What do you use to try to attach to a sense of fairness about what other Major League teams do? And I’ve used those two examples just to illustrate what substantively we can look at to say, ‘How do you fairly gauge the process? What’s a player worth, and why?'”
On whether the way Manny Ramirez left Boston will impact future contract negotiations:
Host, Chuck Wilson: “Obviously you have a lot of strong evidence to be able to show a club as to what Manny Ramirez can mean because we saw that with the LA Dodgers, the re-energizing of a franchise, the incredible numbers, what he meant in the clubhouse, what he did from a marketing standpoint. There is some tremendous upside there. There is the flip side and I want to find out from you what your explanation is for what happened in Boston that really cannot be explained away by simply saying he had a problem with management. It went much deeper than that. The Red Sox reached a point where they really did not feel that Manny was giving his all and it wasn’t just management that was feeling that way or even the manager or coaches. We’re talking about the players on his team. They liked him as a teammate and even at the end they felt it would be best to part company. What about that side of it in trying to get a long term contract and convince people that he’s going to stay motivated throughout that length of the contract and be able to deliver?”
Boras: “I think, Chuck, that the best thing you can say, in any situation, when you are negotiating a contract, you want the parties to examine the totality of the circumstances. You have to remember that Manny Ramirez played six years in Cleveland without incident, very happy. [He] took a club that had not been to the World Series in 40 years and they went there twice. He goes to Boston, he lives there [and] he found out after living there for a period of time that he didn’t enjoy living in Boston, that he and his family were not comfortable in the city. [He] liked his teammates, liked the organization and Manny, far before I represented him, he went to the ownership and explained that, ‘no disrespect to you and what we are trying to accomplish here, I just don’t like living in the city of Boston. I want you to know that and I’d like to go somewhere else.’ Now, in that timeframe, mind you, the Boston Red Sox were purchased for around $700 million, I think, in 2002. In that period of time while Manny was there they won two World Championships which, I think we all agree, is an historic accomplishment. They’ve become, if not the best, one of best franchises in baseball and the value of that franchise has probably tripled. The value of the network (NESN) has increased dramatically. A lot of people there have had a lot of success both economically and in the sense of performance of the franchise while Manny was there. Throughout this process Manny had explained to them that he wanted to live in another environment, that he wanted to go somewhere else. When you talk about his teammates, I remind that everyone needs to talk about what ownership and what everyone said about Manny Ramirez at the end of the 2007 season. I also remind that they can go and look, that Manny had an All-Star season in 2008. When they talk about Manny Ramirez not performing to the level he should I remind you that in July he hit .347 for his club. And so when you talk about what the players’ sentiment was and, again, I represent a number of the Boston Red Sox who are in that clubhouse every day, I think their feeling was that Manny had reached the point where it was best for Manny and the organization to come to an agreement to have him play elsewhere because he had requested this transfer for a number of years. And with respect to the organization and everyone involved they came to an agreement to move on. And then we also have to look at Manny and his character and what he did in the locker room in Los Angeles that was chronicled to be very separated. He came there, he put a club together. He was enthusiastic. He demonstrated leadership and commitment. No one questions the fact that every morning this player gets up at 10 o’clock and goes to the gym. He works with young players. He was great with the fans and we all know about his extraordinary talent and performance. When you look at the totality of the circumstances I think every owner, every GM can evaluate that and the one thing he’s going to want to be clear of is the fact that Manny Ramirez is a lot older than when he signed in Boston. He’s more familiar with the issues about going to a city or to a place that he’s not going to be comfortable with. I think he’s going to be very cautious. Certainly the direction he’s given me about what city he would play in, and why, he’s going to really know a lot about that city and know what his parameters are for choice before he makes that decision.”