Testing Scott Boras

Scott Proctor lives
Jeter's future and Mark Teixeira

As 2009 dawns, it does so an age of economic uncertainty. Last year was one of the worst in our nation’s history, and some major indexes ended the year down nearly 40 percent.

While the Yankees have seemingly weathered the storm for now, the rest of baseball has not been so lucky. Teams have fired employers or instituted hiring freezes, and spending is down across the board. Buster Olney noted on Wednesday that the 29 other teams had spent $244 million more at this point in the off-season last year. In fact, only one non-Yankee — Ryan Dempster — has signed a deal for more than $40 million.

Meanwhile, major free agents across the board remain unsigned. Adam Dunn, Jason Giambi, Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu headline a second tier of power-hitting outfield/DH types who have been subject to few rumors, and Manny Ramirez and Derek Lowe are still searching for jobs. Now, these players won’t stay unemployed for much longer, but the 2008-2009 market will really test agents across the board.

Derek Lowe provides the perfect test case. The Mets have been rumored to be in on the Lowe bidding, and now that the Yanks have wrapped up two starters and a first baseman, they no longer seem to be interested in the former Dodger. The Red Sox and Phillies have expressed lukewarm interest at best, and the demand for Lowe just isn’t what Scott Boras wants it to be.

The Mets know they are potentially bidding against only themselves, and to that end, they made an initial three-year, $36-million offer. Early reports had Lowe searching for a four-year deal at around $16 million per. As you could guess, Lowe is reported not impressed by the Mets’ offer and is still looking for “a more desirable offer.” Unless the markets rebound 4000 points when they reopen later today, a significantly better deal just won’t arrive on Lowe’s doorstep.

Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez finds himself in the same situation. With the Yankees no longer interested in his services, it seems that only the Giants and Dodgers are kicking the tires on Manny. The future Hall of Famer turned down a guaranteed $40 million when he wrote his ticket out of Boston, and while he once expected a lavish multi-year deal, he will probably wind up with two or three years at a salary not much higher than the one he declined in 2008.

This all boils down to a test of Scott Boras. Long known for getting above-market deals for his clients, Boras supposedly took a less for Teixeira from the Yanks than the Nationals would have paid and now is facing a reality in which his two top clients aren’t going to see the millions they were envisioning six months ago. If Boras can get the big money deals, then he has truly earned his title as an über-agent, but if Lowe signs for three years at a lower-than-expected AAV and Manny doesn’t land his mega-contract, Boras will emerge just like the rest of us, shaken by bad economy and paying the price for it.

Scott Proctor lives
Jeter's future and Mark Teixeira
  • http://asportsaddictneedsdivineintervention.blogspot.com/ E-ROC

    Giants: Manny Ramirez

    Phillies: Derek Lowe (swoop in Yankee style)

    I’m just guessing here. I doubt neither will happen especially the latter.

    • Alan

      I’d love to see the Mets stuck having to sign someone like Randy Wolf to fill their rotation.

      • http://www.ilikemygirls.com Billy Beane

        or overpay for oliver perez…

        • Jake H

          Someone is going to over pay for Perez.

          • jsbrendog

            whoever signs him will overpay for oliver perez.


    • whozat

      I think the Giants should sign Manny for LF and Dunn for 1B. Weakens their D, but they have a lot of swing-and-miss pitchers. Coupling those bats with their rotation could enable them to take that division.

      • christopher

        would make them an instant contender in a weak league

    • christopher

      lowe would be a fantastic signing for the muts – in fact i think he is the X-factor in that division.

      team that gets him wins the NL East – with those offenses in the weak NL facing th pitiful lower end of th NL east I see him winning 15-17 games and going late into games- something the mets need

  • A.D.

    That and it appears teams have come up with some balls/counter tactics on Boras, which we’re seeing so far with Colletti and the Yanks handling of Tex

  • NY Yankee Fan

    I am wondering whether it may make some sense to sign Lowe or Sheets if Andy decides not to come back at $10.5 million? Both seem capable of being obtained at a truly reasonable price. With Lowe we would have the inning eater we were looking at in Andy.

    • http://www.ilikemygirls.com Billy Beane

      the price of lowe is the years. you’re looking at 3+.

      • http://www.styleforum.net Billy Beane

        with sheets, i think it must be the medical report because teams are avoiding him like the plague.

        • christopher

          what about a john lieber type contract? if he needs the surgery then let him have it. you have to think at this point with no interest in him, he would take an incentive laden contract with a abase of about the 10 milliom they would pay petitte. based on starts, innings, ERA, WHIP etc. the contract could rise to 15 million with a team option if he reaches a certain point and vesting option if he reaches another. Maybe a clause in the contract similar to the ont that boras worked out with maglio ordonez. If sheets shoulder or elbow (not sure which one he has more problems in) then the contract gets voided.

          Either way, i think the combination of hughes and sheets can give the yanks better numbers than petitte at a 200 inninngs mark. The yankees want to work in their youngsters and still contend. what better way to do that than to sign sheets a guy with injury problems, but also a guy who can put up a stellar 150 innings and relatively cheaply.

          I cant see him wanting o go to texas. he was on a loser for his whole career until last year. does he want to return to that.

          In a strange way, i like the fact that he has injury problems because it will allow hughes, kennedy, and IPK to get innings and experience.

          There are also options out there like mark prior and freddie garcia who dont seem to be getting a single bite on the market. Perhaps they ay be amenable to ST invites with the possibility of converting prior into a reliever.

          …and for god’s sake please take advantage of the bargain basement price on hitters. Nady would be appealing to the dodgers as he has a low salary. Couple him with a top minor league picture and maybe they can land Kemp -pipedreams none the less, but maybe IPK, and Nady could be enough to land kemp

          • whozat

            “The yankees want to work in their youngsters and still contend. what better way to do that than to sign sheets a guy with injury problems, but also a guy who can put up a stellar 150 innings and relatively cheaply.”

            They already did that. They signed AJ Burnett. AND Joba needs to skip a month or so worth of starts.

    • The Evil Empire

      Cashman should definitely put a dead-line on that 10M offer.
      If Andy doesn’t accept I say we go for Sheets, not Lowe. We need some depth in our rotation, if Burnett, Wang, or CC (knock on wood) get injured we’re left with 2008 all over again. Lets say Burnett is MIA, we have CC, Wang, Joba, Phil, and … IPK? We definitely need to go out and get another man.

      Sheets! Pure talent.

      • whozat

        Cashman should definitely put a dead-line on that 10M offer.

        Why? That makes no sense at all. What would be the point? To make entitled fans feel good that the team is taking a hard line because Andy didn’t jump at the chance to take a 40% pay cut out of some kind of magical feeling of gratitude that the almighty Yankees are still willing to have him pitch for them?

        Sheets has better command of almost-as-good stuff as Burnett. And won’t take 5 years to sign. And yet…no one is calling him. There MUST be something hideous in his medicals. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Unless you think the Braves and the Mets (and everyone else) are too stupid to notice that he’s out there?

        Signing Sheets is not adding depth — it’s adding risk. And, apparently, people who get to see the guy’s elbow all agree that he’s NOT a risk worth taking, because you’re not likely to see him take the mound all that much.

        Yes, they need another pitcher. I’m not as down on Kennedy as you seem to be, but I’m still hesitant to have Joba, Hughes and Ian all in the rotation at the same time because then you’re one step away from throwing Chase Wright and Kei Igawa out there again. However, Sheets is exactly the wrong kind of pitcher to add to this staff. You need a durable pitcher who is highly likely to provide at least league-average performance.

        Outside of Pettitte, name me one such pitcher who is likely to take a one-year deal.

        • http://www.styleforum.net Billy Beane

          no one. as long as there are dumb general managers giving carlos silva and adam eaton multi-year deals for 10+ per year, no such pitcher will take a 1 year offer. the yankees know this. andy pettitte knows this. the yankees will shoot for 10m–andy wants 16m. they’ll meet halfway at some point after lowe and perez sign.

        • christopher

          i agree sheets is a major risk but i think he will take a 1 year deal and with hughes, aceve, and IPK in the waiting they can afford to have him land on th DL a couple of times or give him a few weeks off when needed

        • The Evil Empire

          Sheets is a better pitcher then Pettitte, it’s that simple.
          Obviously Cashman wants Pettitte for one more year, but I would definitely take Sheets. Pettitte is injury prone too not to mention his age, they both bring some kind of risk, and in my opinion Ben’s talent far exceeds his risk especially compared to Andy.

          I’d sign Sheets for 1 year, or 2 if he wouldn’t take 1.
          In my opinion, the Best Starting Five in the league!
          I’m not an IPK fan, but I see A LOT of potential there, will he be on the opening day roster?

          • christopher

            exactly right and having a guy with injury concerns over the years isnt such a bad thing because they can work in hughes.

            he has something to prove and after looking at last season, his arm gave out in the late season. the yankees can rest him throughout the year with spot starts from the three minor league kids

          • christopher

            doubt he makes the opening day roster unless the yankees dont sign petitte and sheets and phil shits the bed in ST and krnnedy is awesome.

            right now i see him as trade bait. with brackman and betances coming up soon and Kennedy and the roatation set up for a while by the time IPK can break into the rotation he will be too old to be a prospect.

            I see Cash amking a few more deals. maybe throw in kennedy with matsui to free up some payroll. I knoe they have a ton of outfielders, but they nee to consider next season when there will be few quslity outfielders on the market. supply and demand dictates that the top outfieders next season will get what with the top pitchers will get thid season

    • christopher

      rumors are appearindg (espn so who knows) that sheets mau be willimg to take a one year deal.

      why not offer him a one year 12 million dollar contract and take the chance. with him in a year he is out prove himself. they were willling to throw petitte 10 million and th eoffer is apparently healthy. i will take sheets and his 170
      IP over petitte any day. they have the depth to survive injuries and the thought of havign 2 guys with inniings count scares me. Let hughes fill in for joba, burnett, sheets or anyone else or use the red sox strategy of using a sixth man rotation late in the season to give
      cc and wang left out there.

      this guy is a potential dominant ace. if he is great it frees them up tp trade him for a major centerfield upgrade or even trade wang who could bring back a lot.

      it is a gamble, but onee the yankees can afford with thier pitvhing depth to take. unless they hate hid MRI results,then go get him on a one year deal with incentives for innings pitched, starts, wins, ERA ect.

      pitching wins and this guy is far better than petitte. phil will get his chance and in my opininion while IPK has a good future in front of him – it wont be with the yanks. not with the staff they have now, but with betances and brackman on the way in a couple of years, and phil works out – where is this guy going to pitch

      • Reggie C.

        Very interesting. If Ben Sheets is willing to re-establish his market and sign a 1-year deal to achieve that then the Yanks should make a play.

        • whozat

          Very interesting. If Ben Sheets is willing to re-establish his market and sign a 1-year deal to achieve that then the Yanks should make a play.

          Why? You miss paying a pitcher to sit on the DL?

          No team thinks he’s a good health risk. If anyone did, we’d be hearing SOMETHING about Sheets. The Yankees already HAVE a health risk in their rotation AND a pitcher on an innings count. They need stability, not risk.

          • Count Zero

            This was my point way back when we were discussing Burnett vs. Sheets.

            I always thought Sheets was the better talent — but the fact that no one seemed to be really interested was a clear sign that the GMs knew something we didn’t. On top of that, the fact that his agent wasn’t even posturing that Sheets should get a deal like AJ told you that even he was admitting there was a real health issue (not just “poor history of durability” like AJ).

            There is always a shortage of starters with Sheets’ potential, and MLB isn’t completely filled with idiot GMs. I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Sheets has a major problem or someone would have gone for at least 3x$11MM.

      • whozat

        with incentives for innings pitched, starts, wins, ERA ect.

        INCENTIVES CANNOT BE BASED ON WINS, ERA, OR ANY OTHER PERFORMANCE-BASED MEASURE. They can only be based on things like appearances, innings, etc. This has been pointed out countless times by Mike, Ben, Joe, and posters on this site.

        they have the depth to survive injuries and the thought of havign 2 guys with inniings count scares me.

        If Sheets had even a reasonable chance of making 25 starts next year, he’d be on SOMEONE’S radar right now. The Braves wanted Burnett and won’t talk to Sheets. The Mets are looking at Lowe and then Perez-the-walk-machine. Signing Sheets would make it very likely that they WOULD spend most of the season with Hughes and Joba in the rotation, with Kennedy having to step in when someone needs time off…and then Aceves, Coke, Wright, and Igawa are an AJ Burnett heartbeat away from the back end of the rotation.

    • christopher

      lowe wants too many years. i really think we can get sheets on a one year deal as he is looking to prove himself

  • christopher

    …and i still think the yanks shouldnt rule out dunn and manny. if either sign with the dodgers the market will be all but gone for them.

    manny makes this line-up murders row and can probably be had for 2 years 50 million with 15 million next year and the rest next season

    dunn can be had at a reduced rate in this down economy.

    it sucks that the yanks have so many corner infielders/DHs because this si the year that they can get good young players on the cheap.

    i dont for a second trust matsui to stay healthy and i know either of those guys (including millton bradley) crowd up an already crowded situation, but come the trading deadline they may be able to get some good prospects for guys like matsui (if healthy), Nady, and swisher iuf he is having a good season

    • The Evil Empire

      Do you mean corner outfielders?
      I don’t want Dunn, and Manny will only wear pinstripes in my dreams lol.

      We need to get rid of Matsui and Melky and sign Matt Holliday. I know Cashman wants to, i know he’s thought about it, and hopefully he’s a RAB lurker or poster and if i keep talkig about Holliday he’ll make him an offer. I hope the A’s deal him to us!

  • christopher

    and one more thing…bullpens are very volatile. dont overestimate the fact that many of the relievers the yanks threw out were unknowns with little scouting on them.

    Juan Cruz, i believe his name was had 71ks in 51 IPs and the relief market is just as crowded as the corner infield.

    finally it may be sacrilidge, but if gets no offers elsewhere, would pavano sign a split contract – 1-2 million if he makes the team out of spring trainging – 500k if he goes to the minors. you can never have enough pitching

    • jsbrendog

      i forgot pavano even existed and it seems ml gms have too.

  • christopher

    if the yanks eat a large portion of his salary – any chance the yankees could get jonathan sanchez. he has struggled early in his career, but has great stuff and could make a heloo of a relief pitcher

  • christopher

    …and look at the salary tax they paid – what was it – 29 million or so? they will make that money up with one sponsorship sign on the right field wall.

    a change in salary structure – a cap or higher rvenue sharing and luxury taxes may be coming an a few years so they need to take advantage when they can.

    screw the rest of the owners. i dont care if they “buy” a championship, i just want to be celebrating again in october instead of avoiding sportcenter and internet sites at all costs

    • Should be working

      Cant sleep?

  • day

    the 40M was not guaranteed in BOSTON for manny.team options.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    Another Boras client you didn’t mention Ben, is Jason Varitek. I can’t imagine him getting any kind of offer. What GM would want to give up a 1st round pick for him?

    We all give Cash credit for reading the FA market correctly in not offering arb to his FAs. Did Theo mis-read it regarding Varitek? I mean, if there are no offers for him, Theo will wind up paying $10+mil, and he could have had him for perhaps half that had he not offered arb.

    • jsbrendog

      or the sox dont sign him vcause texas eventually comes down from buchholz for teagarden and varitek is forced into retirement….

      these things have a way of working themselves out. and that would be awesome. not that the sox get a good catcher but that vtek has to retire when he doesnt want to….i dont know why but i just dont like that guy (probably because of the whole all star fiasco this yr)

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        or the sox dont sign him vcause texas eventually comes down from buchholz for teagarden and varitek is forced into retirement…

        Varitek was offered arbitration, therefore he is signed. If he gets no offers from other teams, he simply takes what the arbitrator gives him, which will be no less than $10 mil.

        That doesn’t dis-please me, that Boston may wind up paying their back-up catcher $10 mil+.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          My bad. I forgot he declined it.

          • jsbrendog

            retirement party back on! :-P

    • Mike P

      How does that work? I thought Varitek declined arbitration. Is there a rule on what kind of contract a player can sign with his former team having declined arbitration?

      On the contrary, I think Epstein played it very well. He doesn’t really want Varitek but will take him for 1 year or a cheap contract. If Varitek accepts arbitration, he’s expensive but there’s a clear exit strategy. If Varitek refuses, his type A status greatly reduces his appeal to other teams as you pointed out. Boston could quite easily sign him to a very team friendly deal.

      Seems to me the one who misread that situtation was Boras, not Epstein.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Seems to me the one who misread that situtation was Boras, not Epstein.

        Well, it appears that Theo mis-read it by offering Varitek arb, but Boras bailed him out by having Varitek decline it.

    • rollingwave

      so what happens if a type A guy retire then come out of it later and sign? there must be some kind of rule here other wise some people can just abuse it and retire for 1 day and make them look more attractive.


      Varitek rejected arby – he wont get 10 mil or anything close

  • Reggie C.

    The whole Hanley Ramirez inquiry by the RS left me wondering what move they might make ….

    If the Tigers find themselves on the outs again in ’09, would they really move Miguel Cabrera?? It seems as if the RS would be the ideal landing spot ..

    • Ryan S.

      I think Ordonez is much likelier to get moved than Cabrera. Watch out for that – I could see all the contenders make a mad dash for Maggs if he gets dangled. That’s one of the reasons I want to keep Nady right now … he might be just the type of guy we could leverage to trade for Magglio (we’d have to part with some other talent too, of course).