Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Baseball's "Bernie Madoff"

Jerry Crasnick has an interesting article about baseball's "Madoff", Scott Boras. It's a few days stale but other than needing a minor update on Oliver Perez, it's all factually intact. And worth reading, whether you hate Boras or simply don't like Boras.

As the game's most prominent agent and premier lightning rod, Boras has had a hectic winter even by his exacting standards. His public approval ratings hover somewhere in Dick Cheney territory. But contrary to the popular belief that he would be marginalized or lose his clout after Alex Rodriguez's celebrated end-around with the Yankees last winter, Boras' headline-generating potential remains unscathed.

Things peaked just before Christmas when Boras negotiated an eight-year, $180 million deal for first baseman Mark Teixeira with the Yankees. The process generated hard feelings in Boston and prompted The Boston Globe to write an editorial that equated dealing with Boras to investing in a Bernard Madoff "Ponzi scheme," but Teixeira walked away with the fourth-richest contract in MLB history.
The thing that I hate the most is that many (most?) writers and fans put the onus and burden on Boras, not the players he represents. These players are grown men, capable of making a decision. Yet, we seem to give these guys the chance to skate free behind the scenes while Boras takes the heat. If Teixeira wanted to accept less and land in Boston, he could have. Boras might be a conductor, but he isn't a puppeteer.

If Manny wants to take the Dodgers current offer, whatever it might be, all he has to do is tell Boras to accept it. Boras must do what his clients instruct. They can instruct him to get them the highest offer possible, but in the end, it's the player's responsibility to tell Boras where he wants to sign, whether or not it's actually for the highest dollar amount.

We tend to chastise the players who choose Boras as their representation. What's so wrong with taking the highest offer out there? I think all players want to play for a winner and win a title, but earning the most they can in the shortest time possible has gotta rank right up there with winning. Their talents have an "expiration date". We, the fans, want our players to WANT to play for our team for a fair wage. But when another team wants to pay them more, we are angry.

Tell ya something: If another company called me tomorrow and offered me a 50% or 500% raise, I'd be outta here in a blink. And so would you.

After all, it is about the money, ain't it?

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