If you’re not familiar with Scott Boras here’s a quick need-to-know: he’s the most powerful agent in sports, he’s a bastard on his best day, and he’s responsible for Oliver Perez. And if you’re familiar with columnist Bill Simmons (ESPN.com Page2 and now Grantland), you know that Simmons has publicly referred to Boras as “the devil”. Good, so now you know the background.
In a new report from Adam Rubin of ESPN, Boras told the NY Times that he has a problem with the way the Mets are handling their team. He’s upset that the Mets cut payroll from $143 million to around $91 million amidst the pending Bernie Madoff trustee lawsuit, which could have them on the hook for over $300 million in damages. Monday a District Court Judge ruled that the Wilpons are responsible for up to $83 million in ill-gotten gains, the exact amount to be determined by the judge.
Here’s what Boras said:
“When they are not providing fans with the highest quality of play, and they take an attitude of ‘we’re going to take on a development role,’ knowing that the TV contracts, the market size and such allow them revenues that far exceed many of the clubs that have to pursue those development policies, that impacts the game. The major franchises who are getting the majority of revenues should provide a product, or an attempt at a product, that has the near-highest payrolls commensurate with the markets they are in.”
The flaw in his logic is equating high payroll to the highest quality of play. But that’s his spin, he’s an agent and wants to get the most money for his clients. Money doesn’t always buy championships otherwise the Yankee dynasty would be still be in control. And it’s hard to convince Mets fans (who you’ve personally burned with Oliver Perez) that their beloved organization should keep spending money on high priced free agents rather than play a little moneyball.
Acting as though the Mets looking at developing players as opposed to high priced pieces is a sin against baseball is absurd, as absurd as trading Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano or signing Mo Vaughn. For once the Mets aren’t doing that, they’re making a good decision.
Sure, this is going to lead to some really bad stretches this year, but the season hasn’t even started yet. I believe that once the Madoff money situation is taken care of, if the Mets don’t get hit with the $300 million tab and can sell some minority ownership stakes, that they’ll give Sandy Alderson the green light to acquire pieces to make the team better.
There are 83 free agents still left on the market according to the Washington Post, and the further we go into spring training the less leverage these guys have. So who knows, maybe the Mets can do some bargain shopping at the end of spring training and put something together. Of course, Boras wants you to believe that if you sign the guy now for $5 million as opposed to $1 million at the end of spring training, you’ll get a lot more production out of him.
Like Simmons said, he’s the devil.