The trouble with Scott Boras

One aspect of this whole Manny fiasco that has been underreported is that the Dodgers’ recent history with Scott Boras clients clearly is playing a role here. Just since Frank McCourt bought the team in February 2004, the list is long, and it doesn’t even count the Kevin Brown and Darren Dreifort contracts, which were signed long before Frank and Jamie ever came to town.

Adrian Beltre — Following an MVP-caliber year for the Dodgers in 2004 (he finished second in voting), Beltre becomes a free agent. Dodgers believed they had a promise from Boras to give them a chance to match any offers from any other clubs. That chance to match never comes before Beltre signs a five-year $64 million offer with Seattle. By missing out on Beltre, the Dodgers have enough to money to sign another Boras-represented free agent in right fielder J.D. Drew. More on that later.

Eric Gagne — Two years after winning the Cy Young Award by converting 55 of 55 save opportunities, and one year after taking the club to arbitration, losing and having to accept a $5 million salary for 2004 instead of $8 million, Gagne agrees to terms on a two-year, $19 million deal to avoid arbitration. Gagne blows out his elbow in 2005 and makes a grand total of 16 major-league appearances over the life of the contract.

Luke Hochevar — The Dodgers’ first-round draft pick in 2005, a pitcher from the University of Tennessee who is being advised by Boras, who is insisting on a signing bonus of at least $3 million. After almost three months of stalled negotiations, Hochevar abruptly dumps Boras, chooses another agent and agrees to a $2.98 million signing bonus. But before the Dodgers can get a scout to Knoxville with a contract for Hochevar to sign, Hochevar just as abruptly drops his new agent, returns to Boras and goes into hiding. He never signs with Dodgers, re-enters the draft the following year and signs a major-league deal with Kansas City for four years, $5.3 million.

J.D. Drew — In giving him an ill-advised five-year, $55 million contract before the 2005 season, money the Dodgers never would have had to spend if they had re-signed Beltre, the Dodgers allow Boras to negotiate into the deal an opt-out clause after the second season. Drew misses most of 2005 with an injury, returns in 2006 to drive in 100 runs, then tells Orange County Register beat reporter Bill Plunkett at the end of that season that he has no plans to exercise the out clause. A month later, Boras informs the Dodgers that Drew WILL exercise the out clause. Drew eventually signs with Boston for five years, $70 million.

Andruw Jones — A year after Drew’s departure, the Dodgers sign Andruw Jones, another Boras client, to play center field. Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove winner and five-time All-Star, agrees to a two-year, $36.2 million deal. Jones then showed up to spring training overweight and promptly hit .158 with three homers and 14 RBI and missed significant time following knee surgery. A few weeks ago, the Dodgers renegotiated the second year of the deal to defer most of the salary, then released Jones.

In fairness to Boras, not all of the Dodgers’ dealings with his clients have gone so badly. Derek Lowe was their most reliable starting pitcher during the course of his four-year, $36 million contract, which expired after last year. Greg Maddux pitched well in each of his two abbreviated stints with the club. And of course, without acquiring Ramirez last July 31 (he was now a Boras client), the Dodgers probably wouldn’t have turned around their season and gone all the way to the N.L. Championship Series. But my point here is that the Dodgers have been burned repeatedly in their dealings with Boras and his clients. Rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, that is playing a role in these ongoing Manny negotiations. If their track record with Boras clients hadn’t been so spotty in recent years, it is entirely possible the club wouldn’t be taking such a hard line in these negotiations. But you know the old saying about ifs and buts and candy and nuts.

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  • ToyCannon

    Scott Boras is also a premium Dodgers season ticket holder.

  • Steve the Fan

    Do you honestly think Scott Boras paid for his seating at Dodger Stadium???? I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you also.

  • TeamHasHoles

    Here’s another under-reported little thought. Juan Pierre, if Manny signs, becomes a $10 million/year bench player for TWO years. The Dodgers would have to trade him/eat at least half of his salary over the next two seasons (minimum $10 million, because lets face it, the Dodgers just got Orlando Hudson for as little as $3.46 mil and no more than $8 mil, is anyone going to take Pierre off the Dodgers hands and pay him the $20 mil over two years he’s owed? Very doubtful!).

    So effectively, you can add $10 mil more to whatever the Dodgers are to sign Manny for in out-of-pocket expenses. You guys can call McCourt cheap all you want, but that would be a bitter pill for ANYONE to have to swallow in this (or any) economy.

    That has to be on FMc’s mind as well as the Boras issues, Manny’s age, attitude, his team’s lack of good starting pitching and his inability to DH in the NL when he’s 40 years old and is embarrassing himself in left.

  • Michael in Sactown

    I am done with caring if they sign this guy. $25 million a year in this awful market? I am hoping that finally Boras will back himself into a corner and emerge with his tail between his legs. May every team in baseball stick it to Borass this time around just for once. I know that is not rational or reasonable thinking but that is how ticked I am about this fiasco. Still waiting for the “other” fantom teams to emerge that Borass is negotiating with.

  • amoral.myvidoop.com

    what’s the old saying?

  • ToyCannon

    According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times Boras/Manny would have accepted the 2 yr. $45 mill offer if the payments weren’t deferred. McCourt offered $10 mill this year, $10 mill next year, and $25 mill deferred over 3 yrs. after that. Boras/Manny want the $25 mill for this years salary & $20 mill next year with the player option. McCourt doesn’t seem to have the cash to do this.

  • phillydodger

    GEEEZ…stop the shell game. Either you want Manny or you don’t! Offer him the ACTUAL 25 mil for one year and an escape clause and not this deferred payment crap.

    Normally I wouldn’t take Manny/Boras’s side, but why tell the media and fans that they rejected a 45 mil deal – when once again, it’s not the TRUTH! How does Manny feel coming into camp getting 10 mil for this year, when Pierre is sitting the bench at aprox the same salary?!?

    Understanding the economy is certainly a factor, but does anyone seriously think the D’s won’t draw 3 mil+ again, esp with Manny on board?

    PS Casey Blake is already stealing money! The D’s could have had a solid glove and bat from Joe Crede for a year at bargain basement prices. Yes, he has back problems, but has better glove and bat and is younger and could have keep the seat warm for DeWitt in 2010.

  • Buddy

    Where did the Casey Blake thing come into the picture? Yes, the Dodgers did let go of some quality prospects for him but his off-season deal wasn’t really egregious. Besides, I’d rather have him than Crede who struggles to get on base, look at his OBP (lifetime it is .306).

    I think the LA Times story addressed the Ramirez contract deferment issue well. That’s actually quite a bit differed but the good news is, they’re still talking. Whoever said this isn’t over is absolutely correct.

  • TeamHasHoles

    Once again, Manny waited until NOW to begin “negotiating” (if that’s what you wanna call this). When few if any teams have ANY money left (in the worst economy I hope I EVER see).

    Once again, without deferring money McCourt is screwed because of Pierre’s contract (which few of you seem to wanna acknowledge is having an impact here).

    I give credit to McCourt for being creative and I think Manny is being pennywise and pound foolish. Honestly, who cares when you receive your money? You’ve already made over $100 million playing baseball in your career. If you went back on the market after one year, you’d be collecting $10 mil from McCourt while you were being paid upwards of $25 mil from another team (if anyone could afford what you want even next season).

    If I’m the Dodgers, the best I do is figure out an interest rate Manny will accept on the differed payments and offer that. The money’s fair, give him the prime rate of interest (which is low as all hell right now) and if he doesn’t take it, he can freeze his ass off in San Fran for less.

    I’d rather see the Dodgers take a run at Halladay thru trade this season and Holliday in next offseason than be screwing around with this headcase, I don’t care how well he hits.

  • joshburke2

    We tried to buy Manny Ramirez on credit? Manny fricken Ramirez…on credit! Presale at 10 am, hey “Alan Hall” hook me up prime tickets, I got a stack of IOU’s that I will pay you back in 5 years.

  • Mario DiLeo

    “If their track record with Boras clients hadn’t been so spotty in recent years…”
    What team DOESN’T have a spotty record with Boras’s clients? He’s the Drew Rosenhaus of baseball and a long acrimonious holdout seems to be in the works.

  • CubanDodger

    Boras is deceptive, manipulative, etc., etc. However, Ned and the boys (and girls) are, after all, the ones that decide whether or not to sign Boras’ clients. If they get takent to the cleaners by Scott, it is their fault (incompetence?) rather than Bora’s perfidy.

  • bryboiblue

    You really can’t blame the Andruw Jones and Eric Gagne debacles on Boras, they were the result of bad luck — unless he actually one way or another encouraged his players to use steroids, which I wouldn’t put past him.

    The rest — yeah, a mess. If teams would stop drafting his clients (a la the White Sox), eventually (in about 20 years) he’d be left with no clients and the game would be better off.