Scott Boras went off on the Blue Jays’ ownership with Ken Rosenthal reporting that the super agent believes that Rogers is keeping a tight hold of the Blue Jays’ purse strings.
Most informed people are seeing through Boras’s attempt to guilt managements into spending more money on (his) free agents but it is concerning that he tries to influence the market, using whatever means necessary.
In this case, guilt is the tool of choice but Boras has a wealth of other possible techniques that he can deploy. One is by creating bidding wars for his players and another is by grumbling about how the rules need to change in order for his hard-done-by players to get a new contract. This makes Scott Boras the type of guy you want representing you if you’re a baseball player (particularly if you’re a good one) but it definitely leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many teams and baseball executives. It even makes me feel like he’s a pretty scuzzy guy, willing to do anything and everything for the players that he represents.
There may well be more to his indictment of Toronto Blue Jays ownership than there appears on the surface. The Blue Jays have avoided Boras’s players like the plague. In 2009, the Blue Jays drafted a Boras client, right-handed pitcher James Paxton, with the 37th pick in the draft. When the Blue Jays were unwilling to meet Paxton’s (and Boras’s) price, the young pitcher seemed destined to head to the University of Kentucky to pitch. That changed when Beeston, allegedly miffed because Boras wouldn’t let him negotiate directly with the family, mentioned the fact that Paxton was violating the NCAA’s “no agent” policy by using Boras negotiate. NCAA rules are somewhat nebulous and open to interpretation but it was enough to scare UK into keeping Paxton off the field. Paxton ended up playing for an independent league team in 2010 and was drafted (again) by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round, signing on and reaching the major leagues in 2013.
The Blue Jays have an even longer relationship with Boras which goes back to 1984 when the Blue Jays traded for reliever Bill Caudill, Boras’s first player. The Jays negotiated a lengthy extension with Caudill (through Boras) for five years and a minimum of $7 million that the Blue Jays had to eat when they released the oft-injured and ineffective pitcher.
While Boras’s verbal jab against the Blue Jays ownership is likely just a prod to get the market moving for his players, why would he pick on the Blue Jays specifically? His two highest profile free-agents, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales don’t seem to fit with Toronto (unless Drew plays second base). It could be that Boras’s latest attempt to increase the price of his players is more personal, thinly veiling his comments against Paul Beeston. Beeston, who was in charge at the time of the Caudill debacle, was also around for the Paxton issue. Beeston likely caused Paxton to lose some signing bonus money by having him drop to the fourth round in the following draft. It has been reported that Paxton signed with the Mariners for $942,500 in 2010 which was several times the slot for that pick ($209,700) and about $69,500 more than than the slot value that his pick held when he was drafted in 2009. The amount that the Blue Jays were offering in 2009 has not been published (as far as I can tell) but reports were that it was above slot.
Was Boras really talking about his old nemesis, Paul Beeston, who possibly cost him and his client a significant amount of money several years before, when he was talking about the Blue Jays’ ownership? Or am I making too much out of some of Boras’s typical posturing?