Posted By Jeff Fletcher on March 18, 2009 2:08 pm
Scott Boras was quoted in the Boston Herald this week lamenting the multi-year contract, of all things. Not all multiyear contracts, just those that prevent players from going to salary arbitration or becoming free agents who can get even bigger multiyear contracts. Here’s what Boras had to say…
“All teams are instructed to take their premium players and do their best to remove them from the arbitration market. It’s good business for them to receive premium talent for a grossly devalued cost.”
Boras is right. It’s terrible the way major league teams have taken advantage of poor players like Evan Longoria, who got that six-year, $17.5-million deal after a week in the majors. The kid could be living under the whim of the Rays all the way through 2016, if they pick up the options, and he’ll have nothing to show for it but 40 million bucks. Let me find my checkbook. I hope I can stop payment on that check to the March of Dimes so I can send Evan a little dough.
And what about guys like Bobby Crosby and Noah Lowry? Wasn’t it terrible the way the A’s gave Crosby that five-year, $12.75-million deal that prevented him from reaping the rewards of salary arbitration? Or that the Giants did the same to Lowry (four years, $9.25 million)?
OK, sacrasm mode is off.
Boras, in case you hadn’t picked up on it yet, lives in his own version of reality. It’s true that teams sign pre-arbitration players to multi-year deals in the hopes that the players will be underpaid and they’ll get a bargain. What’s wrong with that? Do you buy a stock hoping it goes down? (Bad example.) No one holds a gun to the player’s head to make him sign the deal. The reason that players do is because they know there are no guarantees in this game. One Rookie of the Year season doesn’t lead to a career of All-Star Games and MVPs, so if the money is there now, take it.
When the A’s put that deal on the table for Bobby Crosby, the team was betting that he was going to be very good, and he was betting that he was not going to be. He won that bet.
Just like the Vegas line on a football game, though, the market decides what makes a bet fair for both sides. In the case of baseball players, years of history has set the line on multi-year deals so that some of them work out for the players and some of them work out for the clubs.
Just like the casinos, though, the agents always win. So Boras ought to just keep quiet.