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July 21, 2007

One Thing We Can All Agree On:: whether you like stats or scouts, I think we can all come together to agree Scott Boras' coaching staff should be blown up before any other agent gets the same idea.

posted by yerfatma to baseball at 09:45 AM - 16 comments

whether you like stats or scouts, I think we can all come together to agree Scott Boras coaching staff should be blown up. There. Damn shame about Hansen though.

posted by jerseygirl at 01:07 PM on July 21

Well, no. Even this article doesn't agree, as it gives Boras a lot of credit for bringing in Dorfman to work with his clients. The reality is that there are lots of players who work with coaches that are not on the team. Sometimes these coaches help players, sometimes they don't. If these specific coaches are doing what the author thinks - changing the approach of these players from one the one that made them successful to something else, then it's probably a bad idea. Obviously, this isn't something that happens to every Boras client. And Boras almost certainly pays his coaches more than major league clubs do, so he can probably hire better coaches. The problem here is a more specific one, involving specific coaches and specific players. Now, if Boras and his coaches think that they always know best, that they should be the ones who determine the approach of every player that Boras represents, then that would be a big problem. But I don't see any evidence that that's the case. Boras may indeed "care too much" about his clients and "overeducate" them, but the solution to that is to practice more restraint and not try and fix things that aren't broken, not to dissolve. Most players would be very lucky to have the (non-financial) resources that Boras provides his clients.

posted by spira at 01:08 PM on July 21

I think Peter Gammons might be ascribing too much blame to Boras and his staff for "ruining" Hansen, Hochevar, and Texeira. It would be foolish, and expensive, for Boras to allow anything that might reduce the value of his clients. Regarding his comments on Matsuzaka's pitch counts, that is entirely consistent with maintaining or increasing, rather than lessening, the value of a client. The larger the contract, the more money Scott Boras puts in his pocket. By the way, I heartily endorse jerseygirl's sentiments.

posted by Howard_T at 02:46 PM on July 21

When is the day going to come that having Boras represent you is a detriment? Are there any clubs that will refuse to draft or look at guys that Boras represents? If this article is to be believed then Boras is the Don King of MLB.

posted by vito90 at 06:15 PM on July 21

Golfers go to swing doctors. I would expect baseball players to get outside help when they need a second opinion from their team's coaching staff. Some people do know more about the mechanics of baseball than Scott Boras does, and thatís the coaches. This comment by Gammons makes me wonder who he thinks Boras is bringing in to coach -- his softball buddies? Surely when Boras has outside help, the coaches have big-league credentials. This seems like a non-story to me -- a trumped-up turf war between teams and their prospects, prompted by frustration over performance.

posted by rcade at 12:07 PM on July 22

The economics are simple for Boras. If he destroys the careers of 10 $1,000,000 players to create 1 $12,000,000 player he's ahead. I really detest the way Scott Boras goes about his business. If you are so talented that you can write your own ticket Boras is a good agent to have. If you are an average big-league player Boras actually decreases your value by being a pain in the ass. "Hey, boss, Boras says his cient will hold out for X million." "Yeah, who didn't see that coming? What's that kid's name in AAA?" People in business, any business, know who makes their life easy and who makes it hard. It's one thing for someone to stand up for their client. That is their job. People hate dealing with Boras. If that hurts one client's bottom line, it will still bring more clients to Scott Boras. It's a bad idea to have an agent that makes more than you do.

posted by gradioc at 05:44 PM on July 22

a trumped-up turf war between teams and their prospects, prompted by frustration over performance. As an owner, shouldn't I have an expectation that part of what I am renting is control over how you go about your business? The manager can sit you, play you all over the lineup, have you bunt. I'll admit my dislike for Boras might be clouding my take, but isn't the next step telling players not to listen when asked to sacrifice because of the effect on his stats?

posted by yerfatma at 06:41 PM on July 22

Yerfatma: In principle, maybe. But once players started earning F-U money, they didn't have to treat their owner like their owner. If he destroys the careers of 10 $1,000,000 players to create 1 $12,000,000 player he's ahead. A business that made 10 out of 11 clients unhappy wouldn't last very long.

posted by rcade at 07:55 PM on July 22

But once players started earning F-U money, they didn't have to treat their owner like their owner. Yeah, I'm torn: players should do whatever they want with their lives, but it feels like the beauty of some of the games is falling / will fall victim to player selfishness.

posted by yerfatma at 08:17 PM on July 22

When he came up with Papelbon and Delcarmen I thought Hansen had the best stuff out of the three. He showed flashes of being a dominant pitcher last year but was too inconsistent. I was curious as to what the deal was with his recent pitching woes, so this is interesting. And Boras almost certainly pays his coaches more than major league clubs do, so he can probably hire better coaches. You lose me with this assumption. Most good coaches are already in the majors. There's no giant pool of coaches waiting for a job but holding out because the money isn't good enough. And if he was stealing the best coaches we'd be reading an article on that subject. The best we can say is that Boras most certainly hires major league quality coaches. Secondly, coaching is a full time job. When exactly is Hansen being coached by a secondary coach? Changing mechanics etc. isn't something you do on the side. The greatest coach in the world needs access to the player. Thirdly, at this level it's not as black and white as saying one coach is better than another, or that more money buys a better coach. They're all major league coaches. The difference is often that certain coaches click with certain players. A great hitting coach for player A might not understand player B at all. And if I'm wrong, and Boras somehow managed to hire the best pitching coach away from every major league team, the results say otherwise. Golfers go to swing doctors. I would expect baseball players to get outside help when they need a second opinion from their team's coaching staff. This isn't a golfer looking for outside advice for a slight slice. We're talking about a pitcher changing his delivery and pitch repertoire (according to the article). That's basically breaking down Hansen and recreating him as a totally different pitcher. That's more than a second opinion. Boras is concerned with his clients having long careers, reaching free agency and making big time money, which is his job, but it does little good if the player never makes it to the majors. We're talking about a player that was very close to sticking at the major league level, who was thought to be a possible contributor this season, and for now, that's gone. Even assuming everything in the article is true, it certainly isn't a big enough sample size to condemn Boras, and perhaps Hansen will eventually turn it around, but its a troubling trend and worth examining. Boras is known for giving his clients the benefit of coaches and trainers and other advantages. But if he's gone to the level of changing a pitcher's mechanics and pitch selection I can certainly see a teams becoming concerned, and rightly so.

posted by justgary at 11:01 PM on July 22

J.D. Drew had big-star potential until Scott Boras came along. Yes, my view is skew since Boras sulked when my beloved Phillies drafted Drew in 1997 (Anyone say "Northern League?). What's J.D. been us to lately? Certainly not the Hall of Fame. It's a shame ó ruined by his agent.

posted by jjzucal at 11:01 AM on July 23

As much as J.D. Drew currently pains me, he has a career 130 OPS+ which means every time he makes it into a lineup, he's 30% better than the average league player. I don't see the tie-in. Drew still has star potential, he just insists on sitting down whenever he catches the sniffles instead. I can't blame Boras for that.

posted by yerfatma at 11:23 AM on July 23

When is the day going to come that having Boras represent you is a detriment? Are there any clubs that will refuse to draft or look at guys that Boras represents? The answer is yes, there are teams that for the most part will not draft players represented by Boras. Peter Angelos famously would not permit the Orioles development personnel to draft Boras clients for a long time; the Orioles broke with that policy this year in drafting Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters with the fifth pick in the draft, who most analysts had going to the Nationals at six because of the anti-Boras policy. While the Cardinals drafted Boras clients J.D. Drew and Rick Ankiel in the past, the current management team passed on the best high school arm in the draft (and their system is very thin on pitching) this year, Rick Porcello, because it didn't want to deal with Boras and demands of early first round money. Porcello, considered a top 5 (if not top 3) talent in the draft, dropped to the Tigers at 27; the Tigers have no issue dealing with Boras. The same applies to a slightly different extent in the free agent markets. In terms of Boras ruining talent or getting below-market returns for his clients, I think his track record of successes far outweighs his track record of failures. He consistently gets more for players than they should be worth from a reasonable market perspective, and I'm sure he convinces his clients that they'll be fine even with making some changes -- even if there are bad results, he can spin those into positives. Considering he got the Dodgers to pony up $55 million for Darren Dreifort over 5 years and the Rangers to commit $65 million to Chan Ho Park over 5, I think I'd be inclined to trust him as my agent.

posted by holden at 02:17 PM on July 23

My opinion of Boras is that he is a scourge, but it really has no basis in reality. I just don't like sports agents. I think what he is doing with his stable of athletes is probably done with the best of intentions for all involved, but it seems to me to be a misguided effort. The best coaches would already be in coaching at the top level, wouldn't they? Of course, bear in mind, I know nothing of what I speak.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:44 PM on July 23

Considering he got the Dodgers to pony up $55 million for Darren Dreifort over 5 years and the Rangers to commit $65 million to Chan Ho Park over 5, I think I'd be inclined to trust him as my agent. Absolutely, but now you've got me wondering (on the basis of two anecdotes, I know) if he did right by two guys who had a couple of good seasons or if he changed a couple of stars.

posted by yerfatma at 04:23 PM on July 23

BP on a slightly related note.

posted by yerfatma at 11:45 AM on July 24

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