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Monday, March 12, 2018

Dodd: Scott Boras says “The system has failed” Mike Moustakas – The Athletic

The “system” or his agent?

Moustakas is a good player. He’s not a great player. He’s also the type of player who has lost value…slow, mediocre fielders with one above-average tool (a tool that is plentiful in the market). Boras should have gotten him signed earlier.

Boras, his agent, had misjudged the market. Moustakas lost nearly $10 million in the process in 2018. Yet as Boras, Moustakas and Moore gathered for a group media session on Saturday morning, Boras questioned the “integrity” of the current system, mentioning “intervening factors” that had mucked up his client’s market.

Because Moustakas had declined a qualifying offer, potential suitors risked losing a draft pick to sign him. Because clubs such as the New York Yankees were publicly concerned about the implications of the game’s luxury tax, Moustakas was not a priority. And because Moustakas was content to wait out the market in November and December, he was left with few options.

Reports this week indicated that Moustakas turned down a multiyear deal with the Los Angeles Angels that would have paid him close to $45 million. The Angels, however, pushed back against that notion on Saturday, a source telling ESPN’s Buster Olney that “they never made a three-year, $45 million offer.”

“Things intervene,” Boras said, “and it’s become something other than the best players playing baseball at the highest level for the best teams.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:19 AM | 68 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agents, mike moustakas, pay site, royals, scott boras, the athletic

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   1. villageidiom Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:52 AM (#5636767)
When Boras wins, it's because of him. When Boras loses, it's because the system is broken, or rigged, or unfair, or flawed. His set of house rules for Monopoly must be 30 pages long.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:03 AM (#5636771)
why-mike-moustakas-market-didnt-develop

Fangraphs had some interesting stuff on why teams may have shied away from Moustakas. Bottom line, since his ACL injury he's become deadly slow.

Statcast can come in handy here. We can look at sprint speeds, from Baseball Savant. In 2015, Moustakas’ average sprint speed ranked in the 38th percentile, and the 48th percentile among third basemen. In 2017, however, Moustakas’ average sprint speed ranked in the 7th percentile, and the 9th percentile among third basemen. Suddenly, Moustakas was moving slower, and it’s evident in his baserunning measures. In terms of moving up an extra base on hits, Moustakas just ranked in the lowest percentile. Moving from first to third on singles, Moustakas ranked in the lowest percentile. Moving from first to home on doubles, he ranked in the 3rd percentile. Moving from second to home on singles, he ranked in the 14th percentile. Moustakas, in 2017, didn’t attempt a single stolen base. Moustakas did very little running.
   3. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:06 AM (#5636773)
Ugh, enough with the "draft pick!" stuff.

The system has changed such that nobody is passing up a FA over a pick. Nobody loses 1st rounder anymore.
   4. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5636814)
I'm not sure Boras is wrong, per se. I suspect the free agent market *is* "broken" and the system is a little too heavily tilted into ownership's favor now. But it's there because the MLBPA has had #### leadership since at least Don Fehr, if not all the way back to Marvin Miller. Tony Clark has been an abject disaster for his union. Scott Boras would actually be a good archetype to take over from Clark and pry back some of the losses from the last CBA, but there's no margin in it for him.

That said, until the MLBPA actually starts representing and taking an interest in minor league players as well, I will worry little that marginal free agent types like Moustakas aren't raking in the mega-millions.
   5. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:01 AM (#5636819)
Disaster I think is a bit of an oversell. A disaster would be something like removing the pension, cutting minimum wage in half, and pushing free agency to 8 years and arbitration to year 6. Instead what has happened is the union basically signed on to more of the same please.
   6. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5636840)
Yes, the system. A third of the league isn’t signing free agents because they’re trying to lose games on purpose. It’s gross.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5636841)
I'm surprised that Moustakas was as fast as that in 2015. He always looked slow.
   8. BDC Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5636844)
Honestly, when you really face it, haven't we all failed Mike Moustakas.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5636848)
Honestly, when you really face it, haven't we all failed Mike Moustakas.
I think we've all failed Scott Boras by creating an external reality contrary to the one that exists in his head.
   10. Batman Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5636855)
I'm already tired of the commercial where Sally Struthers tearfully implores us to dig deep to give what we can over video of a sad-eyed Mike Moustakas watching movers unload the truck that was supposed to take his commemorative plate collection from his house in suburban Kansas City to his new house in the suburbs of another city.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5636859)
"In the arms of angel..."
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5636864)
#AllFreeAgentsMatter
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:57 AM (#5636867)
You all will be singing a much different tune when they have to put Mike Moustakas to sleep.
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5636871)
Nah, the Royals are a no-kill organization. Look at Alcides Escobar.
   15. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5636872)
Nah, the Royals are a no-kill organization. Look at Alcides Escobar.


*golf clap*
   16. JRVJ Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5636962)
3, I tend to agree, though if I were MLBPA, I would fight to remove the International FA money which teams lose if they sign a FA.

(I'd also fight to ensure that the signing team doesn't actually "lose" picks. Yes, picks would be handed to the team which gave the QO, but nobody would lose any picks - I recognize that it is very improbable that this last idea would fly with ownership, though).
   17. Zach Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5636966)
“Things intervene,” Boras said, “and it’s become something other than the best players playing baseball at the highest level for the best teams.”

Mike Moustakas, 2017:

BA/OBP/SLG: .272/.314/.521,
OPS+: 116
H/2B/HR/RBI: 151 / 24 / 38 / 85

I'd contend that the only premium number in that list is the 38 home runs. Which put him in a tie for eighth in the league, a mere 21 behind Giancarlo Stanton.

Maybe "best players playing baseball at the highest level for the best teams" is the wrong pitch for Moustakas. Personally, I think of him as a hard worker who can sneak onto the All Star team if he's having a good year.

   18. Zach Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5637001)
For comparison, Lucas Duda 2017:

BA/OBP/SLG: 217/.322/.496
OPS+: 116
H/2B/HR/RBI 98 / 28 / 30 / 64

2018 contract: $3.5 million.

To be sure, Moustakas is 29, a third baseman, and has made the All Star game twice.

Duda is 32, a first baseman, and has never been an All Star.

I would pay Moustakas more than Duda. But how much more?

   19. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:16 PM (#5637002)
I'm not sure Boras is wrong, per se.


He's dead wrong. He gambled and didn't take the QO. He also gave similar bad advice to Joe Crede, Moose's closest comp. Did he not consider what was happening in the trade market?
   20. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5637024)
He's dead wrong. He gambled and didn't take the QO. He also gave similar bad advice to Joe Crede, Moose's closest comp.


That is a fair point.
   21. bunyon Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5637026)
The system is broken but not terribly. But it's a stretch to think Boras should come out and publicly admit fault. That isn't how the world works. Now, he should probably fess up to Moose and formulate a plan for next year.
   22. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:24 PM (#5637037)
MLB should have intervened and forced the Marlins/Rays/Tigers/Pirates/White Sox to sign Moustakas to the 5/75MM contract he’d have received if all 30 teams were incentivized to win games.
   23. BrianBrianson Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:27 PM (#5637044)
We've already made the point that Moustakas is slow. Trying to force him to play for five different teams is just insult to injury.
   24. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:41 PM (#5637054)
I don't think the Pirates belong in the "tanking" category. I doubt that they think of themselves as contenders, except maybe stumbling into a wild card if everything aligns perfectly, but I think they expect to move upward. It doesn't make much difference to the argument, though, because their business plan doesn't seem to include ever signing free agents who have anywhere else to go.
   25. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:46 PM (#5637060)
Tanking is too broad of a term - the Pirates cut salary from last year and arguably didn't improve their major league team in 2018. That's enough for me to put them in that bucket, whatever you want to call it. Well, that plus the history of being this way.
   26. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:52 PM (#5637063)
When Boras wins, it's because of him. When Boras loses, it's because the system is broken, or rigged, or unfair, or flawed. His set of house rules for Monopoly must be 30 pages long.


It's been a successful strategy for our president.
   27. -- Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:58 PM (#5637067)
The notion that all 30 teams used to routinely participate in free agency every winter is revisionist history, to put it charitably.
   28. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 04:26 PM (#5637072)
Having chewed this over for most of the day, I think the primary issue at play here is that MLB front offices are not treating the Wildcard as a real "playoff" opportunity. If they get it, fine. Maybe make a run. But they're not going to tax their budgets to get from "out" to "WC2." And I don't think I can blame them for that.
   29. Bhaakon Posted: March 12, 2018 at 04:26 PM (#5637073)
It's been a successful strategy for our president.


It's a great strategy in situations where bankruptcy is a thing and your liability is limited protected by incorporation.
   30. jmurph Posted: March 12, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5637074)
But they're not going to tax their budgets to get from "out" to "WC2."

But it seems like the debate is how close to WC2 you need to be to justify spending more. In another thread someone was knocking going for 85 wins, which to me seems like a perfectly good goal for many teams.
   31. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5637075)
MLB should have intervened and forced the Marlins/Rays/Tigers/Pirates/White Sox to sign Moustakas to the 5/75MM contract he’d have received if all 30 teams were incentivized to win games.


Moustakas doesn't look like he's significantly better than the Pirates' current starters at 1B or 3B, so it seems weird that you'd want to ship him to a team where he'd get maybe two starts a week behind a couple of young guys who need to play. Though I guess being substantially overpaid might be somewhat of a consolation for the indignity of being locked into a reserve role.
   32. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 05:01 PM (#5637083)
But it seems like the debate is how close to WC2 you need to be to justify spending more. In another thread someone was knocking going for 85 wins, which to me seems like a perfectly good goal for many teams.


I think 85 wins is a perfectly cromulent goal for many teams. I don't think any team should break the bank to get from 78 to 85, because I think there's too much give and take in the system to justify that. If you spend for a 95-100 win team and things break poorly, you're still probably in the mix for a WC berth. If you spend for 85 and things break poorly, you've just burned money for nothing. Plus, it's way easier to find the talent to move from 78 to 85 in quad-A and 28-year-olds-having-their-one-good-year type flyers. It's much harder to move from 85 to 100 wins that way. To move that last hump, you either need to have pulled a Houston and have developed Altuve and Correa back to back, or you need to buy Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw off the market and damn the torpedos.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 05:16 PM (#5637093)
I think 85 wins is a perfectly cromulent goal for many teams. I don't think any team should break the bank to get from 78 to 85, because I think there's too much give and take in the system to justify that.

But in the context of this off-season, you don't need to break the bank to do it.

The Twins just added 6.5 projected wins for a little over $30M and no long term committments.
   34. -- Posted: March 12, 2018 at 05:44 PM (#5637101)
All this stuff about spending to certain win levels, or even ranges, suffers from the same rather heinously flawed premise, which is forgetting that something on the order of a 20-win spread is baked into the very nature of the relationship between run distribution and actual wins. Last year the actual/pythag spread was plus-12 (Padres) to minus-9 (Yankees).

Which means that even if you had perfect transparency on the number of runs your team would score and give up -- which needless to say is impossible -- you still wouldn't be able to project wins with any precision. A team that gave up the same number as it scored, based on last year's spread, could win 93 games or win 72 games. One is a likely division title winner; the other looks like it's "tanking."

In 2016, the spread was 13 up and 9 down and in fact a team with a pythag of 82 (Texas) actually won 95, had the best record in the AL and tied for the second best record in baseball. The Rockies and Angels had 80 pythag wins and wound up with 75 and 74 actual wins.
   35. The Duke Posted: March 12, 2018 at 07:55 PM (#5637124)
Why doesn’t Boras give up his practice and offer to take up the MLBPA reins. I can think of no one better to put things right with the owners. Of course he would never give that up but he’s the guy that could win major changes from the owners.

I’m not sure why people dislike him so much. Knows the game, great advocate for his clients, and the most important quality of all is that the owners fear and respect him. He had a bad winter but my guess is the owners won the battle and lost the war here. They’ve decided to simply milk the beast and stop putting competitive teams on the field. It’s a strange situation when half the owners are trying to lose
   36. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:28 PM (#5637130)
half the owners are trying to lose


It should be required to name them.
   37. BrianBrianson Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:36 PM (#5637135)
I’m not sure why people dislike him so much.


Because he talks to us like we're morons.
   38. villageidiom Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:40 PM (#5637136)
MLB should have intervened and forced the Marlins/Rays/Tigers/Pirates/White Sox to sign Moustakas to the 5/75MM contract he’d have received if all 30 teams were incentivized to win games.
If every team were incentivized to win, the average team might win 89 regular season games! And maybe 3 teams will win the World Series this year! [/snark]

What would it look like if all teams were incentivized to win? You're pointing to teams that aren't spending as much as others, and saying they're not incentivized. What would it look like if they were? Would 67-win teams be moving much closer to .500? For that to happen, the lion's share of top free agents would need to go to the worst teams. They have the most improvement to make, and if they are incentivized they'd try to do it, right?

So, in a free agent market where every team is trying their hardest to win, how can the worst teams manage to land most of the free agents? I mean, the simple answer is "money", but in a competitive market we're saying they have to win on every factor. They have to outbid all other teams every time, or be the preference of every free agent otherwise if money isn't the deciding factor. The best teams are simply going to let that happen? No. With comparable offers in hand the free agents are simply going to decide to go to the worst teams, in the interest of parity? No. And there are enough top free agents to go around to all the worst teams, to allow each one the possibility of getting back to .500? No, at least not this year.

Thus if the free agent market is competitive the worst teams know before the bidding starts that they cannot realistically solve their problems in one off-season. If they can't solve them in one off-season, then they will have another losing season, with no hope to offer their fans. Even before the off-season starts, they know this. It's not that they don't want to win in 2018, or that they don't have incentive to win in 2018. It's that they can't win in 2018 - at least not in the sense you mean "win" - and that if they want to win in the future the path to get there doesn't run through signing Mike Moustakas in 2018 to a $75 million, 5-year contract.
   39. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:06 PM (#5637141)
It’s a strange situation when half the owners are trying to lose


Where are you getting these numbers? I can think of a few obvious teams who are not trying, but half?

Please name them all.
   40. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:07 PM (#5637143)
Sh*t, sorry I didn't read #36 before posting.
   41. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:43 PM (#5637152)
I’m not sure why people dislike Boras so much.

Professional team sports have it built into their very nature that fans will support capital (owners) over labor (players)—when you root for the home team, you’re rooting for their owners. It’s why when we think of the “worst” contracts in baseball, we think of the contracts that hurt the owners (like Pablo Sandoval’s $100MM) rather than the contracts that hurt the players (like Aaron Judge’s $531,000.)

Since Boras is the game’s strongest advocate for players, fans respond by disliking him. Because when he succeeds it is bad for the owners.
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:00 PM (#5637156)
Since Boras is the game’s strongest advocate for players, fans respond by disliking him. Because when he succeeds it is bad for the owners.

I don't think that's it. I think it's that he's a brazen liar. He says ridiculous things to promote his players.

No one hates any other agents, and they've all scored tons of big money deals that turned out lousy for teams. No one hates Bo McKinnis for the David Price contract, if they have ever heard of him, which I hadn't.
   43. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:18 PM (#5637157)
Since Boras is the game’s strongest advocate for players, fans respond by disliking him. Because when he succeeds it is bad for the owners.
Nope.

it's that he's a brazen liar. He says ridiculous things to promote his players.
Yep.
   44. Colin Posted: March 13, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5637207)
Boras is not just a guy advocating for his players, he's also a businessman covering his ass at the end of an offseason where he's pretty clearly misread the market for some of his highest profile players, and who stands to lose future business if prospects look at his work and conclude they can do better elsewhere. As much as anything he has to be worrying about losing top prospects and a percentage of their large future earnings to other agents.
   45. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2018 at 09:41 AM (#5637211)
We don't really know if he misread the market or if his clients did or if it is a combination of both. It appears for a good chunk of players the deals were there in the beginning of the season but they thought the offers would go higher not dry up and then vanish. I mean I doubt players and agents were turning down QO while receiving no informal or formal offers. If they did that's either on the agent or player or both.

Having said that I'm not sure how any agent could have read this market correctly and got their clients paid and happy. You can convince a guy to take the QO but there will always be that doubt that they left money on the table and that you the agent failed them.
   46. BDC Posted: March 13, 2018 at 09:43 AM (#5637215)
when we think of the “worst” contracts in baseball, we think of the contracts that hurt the owners (like Pablo Sandoval’s $100MM) rather than the contracts that hurt the players (like Aaron Judge’s $531,000.)

Perhaps; but there's general acknowledgment (at least around here) that younger stars are getting a raw deal en masse. It's kind of Tolstoyan. All bad-for-the-player contracts are alike, but all bad-for-the-team contracts are bad in different ways :)

Meanwhile, it is hard to point to a veteran of any quality who is truly hard-done-by. Moustakas is making $6.5M this year instead of signing for $65M or whatever, but it's hard to be too outraged from the player's perspective. Neil Walker is taking a $13M pay cut, but he's 32 and declining and still getting $4M this year, etc. It's only relative to the middle relievers and Hosmers of the world that such guys are oppressed.
   47. jmurph Posted: March 13, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5637216)
Which means that even if you had perfect transparency on the number of runs your team would score and give up -- which needless to say is impossible -- you still wouldn't be able to project wins with any precision. A team that gave up the same number as it scored, based on last year's spread, could win 93 games or win 72 games. One is a likely division title winner; the other looks like it's "tanking."

I don't think this has much to do with the discussion, honestly. A. people here understand the first part. And B. no one thought the 2012 Red Sox were tanking (prior to the Punto trade, obviously), they just sucked. I think we all know the difference between accidentally being bad and intentionally tanking a season (or multiple seasons) for future gain.
   48. Sleepless in Munich Posted: March 13, 2018 at 10:20 AM (#5637247)
We don't really know if he misread the market or if his clients did or if it is a combination of both. It appears for a good chunk of players the deals were there in the beginning of the season but they thought the offers would go higher not dry up and then vanish. I mean I doubt players and agents were turning down QO while receiving no informal or formal offers. If they did that's either on the agent or player or both.

If we give credit to Boras for good deals his clients get, we also should give him the blame for bad deals - at least unless there is different information. And I think that, in general, we should assume that "reading the market" is on the agent, because that's one of the big reasons the players pay them six or seven figures.
   49. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5637262)
Boras is paid to get his clients top dollar. That is his rep, that is why you go to him over other agents. Now he could have read the market perfectly and his clients didn't accept that. At the end of the day he is an agent working for a client. The client can take or leave his advice. We don't know what that advice was.

But again, how do you read the this market correctly on October 25th and make your clients happy and getting a top dollar contract? It is likely that no possible FA on November 1st would have been happy accepting a QO even though that might have been the smart play. Individuals aren't rational actors and they certainly are not that when dealing with the future and unknowables.
   50. Rally Posted: March 13, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5637263)
Professional team sports have it built into their very nature that fans will support capital (owners) over labor (players)—when you root for the home team, you’re rooting for their owners. It’s why when we think of the “worst” contracts in baseball, we think of the contracts that hurt the owners (like Pablo Sandoval’s $100MM) rather than the contracts that hurt the players (like Aaron Judge’s $531,000.)


It's naturally tied to a desire for winning. If your team is getting Judge production for that price they will win more games than if they were getting Panda production for his price, all other things equal (especially if it means you have to trade someone else to make up the 20 million difference in salary).

How did the Astros get to be world champs? A big part of it is getting super production from a very cheap Jose Altuve contract, and near minimum salaries for Bregman and Correa. Because they were getting such cheap production they had room to take on most of Verlander's salary at the end of the year.

The desire to back a winning team mandates that you cheer on the oppression of the working class for the benefit of billionaire owners. You cannot win if you can't compromise your principles. Even the Yankees and Dodgers could not afford to pay market value for everyone, especially considering that due to injury or unexpected player decline most teams will have some obligations to players who are not contributing to winning.
   51. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: March 13, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5637267)
Professional team sports have it built into their very nature that fans will support capital (owners) over labor (players)—when you root for the home team, you’re rooting for their owners. It’s why when we think of the “worst” contracts in baseball, we think of the contracts that hurt the owners (like Pablo Sandoval’s $100MM) rather than the contracts that hurt the players (like Aaron Judge’s $531,000.)


While there's a lot of truth to this, I do think there's another factor:

Namely, that when your team buys an expensive turd - that expensive turd is going to get lots of chances to fail... and fail... and keep failing. So - I do think there's an element of fan interest in "bad contracts" beyond just capital/labor.

Whether Panda, Heyward, Mike Hampton, Edwin Jackson, or whatever - it's reasonably that a team guaranteeing a truckload of cash is going to keep trying (within some limits) to get their money's worth or something close to it. For a fan, this can end up really sucking regardless of who is paying who what. Nobody likes watching a guy flail.
   52. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 13, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5637299)
No one hates any other agents, and they've all scored tons of big money deals that turned out lousy for teams. No one hates Bo McKinnis for the David Price contract, if they have ever heard of him, which I hadn't.


If Boras didn't exist as the face of The Evil Agent, someone else would get tagged with it.
   53. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 13, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5637308)
If Boras didn't exist as the face of The Evil Agent, someone else would get tagged with it.
I don't think so at all - other agents handle their responsibilities in a professional, behind-the-scenes way and, as mentioned earlier, don't insult our intelligence regularly by spouting ridiculous crap in the media. Boras's public perception is entirely a consequence of him going out of his way to be, very publicly, an arrogant blowhard. If another agent took up that persona, sure, but if Boras suddenly ceased to exist, it wouldn't necessarily change the way other agents act.
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5637324)
If Boras didn't exist as the face of The Evil Agent, someone else would get tagged with it.

Disagree. Who was the "Evil Agent" before Boras?
   55. Batman Posted: March 13, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5637327)
Leigh Steinberg was never The Evil Agent, was he? He's probably the most famous agent, but more for football. I haven't hung out at footballthinkfactory.org.
   56. Colin Posted: March 13, 2018 at 12:58 PM (#5637342)
We don't really know if he misread the market or if his clients did or if it is a combination of both. It appears for a good chunk of players the deals were there in the beginning of the season but they thought the offers would go higher not dry up and then vanish. I mean I doubt players and agents were turning down QO while receiving no informal or formal offers. If they did that's either on the agent or player or both.

Having said that I'm not sure how any agent could have read this market correctly and got their clients paid and happy.


Possible his clients overruled him on a more accurate reading of the market, but as far as goes his reputation, what prospective clients see is that his clients this offseason didn't do terribly well. So, it's in his interest to protect his rep by blaming the market.

Could this market have been read? Probably not in the extreme, but Boras has an entire staff that's supposed to understand his players and analyzing the market for his players. His rep over the years has been earned by him and his staff being smarter than the front offices, but it's been clear that over time front offices have themselves been getting smarter. It's easy in hindsight to say Moustakas didn't get a good deal because he's perceived as slow post-injury, perceived as a sub-par defender, perceived as strong in power and weak in everything else, and there weren't that many contending teams in the market. But, surely Boras had to know these things going into the offseason: that his client had slowed down post-injury, that his client's perceived defense had dropped off, that his client was essentially all about power and not much else, and that the number of teams in the market for a long-term commitment to a third baseman was limited. And, most importantly, surely he had to know that most front offices are smart enough to be aware of all this too (this is getting to sound like that sequence from Friends: "They don't know that we know that they know!").

It's possible Boras knew all this and counseled Moustakas honestly, and Moustakas decided to take his chances. It's possible Boras believed himself a strong enough agent that he could find a team to ignore all of the above and pay through the nose anyway.

Regardless of which is right, Moustakas didn't get paid, and that has to have gotten the attention of some prospective clients.

   57. Bhaakon Posted: March 13, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5637345)
If Boras didn't exist as the face of The Evil Agent, someone else would get tagged with it.


I can't really think of one in basketball. Drew Rosenhaus in football, maybe, but it's hard to be much of an evil agent in a league without guaranteed contracts. It's a lot easier to hate a contract (and by extension the guy who negotiated it) when you're stuck with it for most of a decade.
   58. SoSH U at work Posted: March 13, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5637352)

Leigh Steinberg was never The Evil Agent, was he? He's probably the most famous agent, but more for football. I haven't hung out at footballthinkfactory.org.


In contrast, until he ran into some problems with the sauce, he was kind of seen as the Glinda, the Good Agent of the West.
   59. -- Posted: March 13, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5637354)
Who was the "Evil Agent" before Boras?


Howard Slusher was one, though I don't know how much baseball he did. The really annoying agents used to threaten holdouts, and their clients used to actually hold out. The various CBAs have made holdouts not as much a thing now.

Because of the anti-holdout provisions and rookie pay scales that have taken hold in most of the Big Four and salary caps, agents in aggregate are nothing close to as annoying and douchey as they used to be. I do agree, though, that Boras is a uniquely accomplished douche. A douche's douche, if you will.
   60. -- Posted: March 13, 2018 at 01:38 PM (#5637368)
David Falk was a massive d-bag. He still has some clients, but the room for NBA guys to actually negotiate (max salaries, rookie pay scale), has greatly diminished since his heyday.
   61. villageidiom Posted: March 13, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5637378)
His rep over the years has been earned by him and his staff being smarter than the front offices, but it's been clear that over time front offices have themselves been getting smarter.
Unclear that they've been smarter. Clearly they take bigger risks, and in some cases benefited significantly from it. You could argue that very few have been burned on it. Matsuzaka, perhaps. Moustakas this off-season.

If new limits have been set, Boras is just the guy to test those limits. That has largely been to his clients' benefit.
   62. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 13, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5637394)
Howard Slusher was one, though I don't know how much baseball he did. The really annoying agents used to threaten holdouts, and their clients used to actually hold out. The various CBAs have made holdouts not as much a thing now.

I just finished Halberstam's basketball book, The Breaks of the Game, which talks a bit about Slusher's battles with NBA owners in the nascency of their big spending days. I don't know if Slusher ever represented baseball players but from some googling it looks like he was NFL and NBA focused.
   63. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5637406)
Regardless of which is right, Moustakas didn't get paid, and that has to have gotten the attention of some prospective clients.

Sure but we're not talking about ordering a pizza in a new city here. We're talking about a very small group of possible clients and nobody looked good this offseason. So even if Boras took a hit he took the same hit everyone else took as well.
   64. Rally Posted: March 13, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5637411)
Howard Slusher was one, though I don't know how much baseball he did. The really annoying agents used to threaten holdouts, and their clients used to actually hold out. The various CBAs have made holdouts not as much a thing now.


Was he considered 'evil' by the owners or the general public? I have not heard of him, but maybe I just don't pay as close attention to other sports.

Boras is rare among agents in the amount of attention he draws to himself. You could say that is because of the media giving him more attention than others, but I think Boras knows what he's doing here. He puts outrageous claims out there through his media contacts, and steers the conversation about his players and himself.
   65. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 13, 2018 at 07:48 PM (#5637553)
Who was the "Evil Agent" before Boras?


Probably Jerry Kapstein, who represented, among others, Fred Lynn and Carlton Fisk back in the day. Kapstein eventually came over to management's side, working with Larry Lucchino for the Padres and Red Sox.

-- MWE
   66. Ziggy's screen name Posted: March 13, 2018 at 08:21 PM (#5637559)
Besides losing out on the commission from Moustakas' QO, it's not clear that this off season hurt Boras any. He's not paid to get top dollar for his clients, he's paid to get more dollars for them then any other agent could get for them. And it looks like pretty much everybody got pretty uniformly hosed here.

Edit: Which I guess hurts him some, but it's not like he's lost his reputation as the preeminent agent.
   67. Jay Z Posted: March 13, 2018 at 08:35 PM (#5637565)
How did the Astros get to be world champs? A big part of it is getting super production from a very cheap Jose Altuve contract, and near minimum salaries for Bregman and Correa. Because they were getting such cheap production they had room to take on most of Verlander's salary at the end of the year.


Isn't some of the reluctance to commit to these players the increased availability of talent late in the season? There's a Verlander or two out there every year. Why not save some ammo for when things are going well, then make a push for a stud and have him for two months or a year and two months? Seems more efficient.
   68. Morty Causa Posted: March 14, 2018 at 08:10 AM (#5637692)
Wikipedia has Boras as representing 175 baseball clients.

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