"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: Scott Boras

Innnnteresting

It’s been an eventful offseason for the Yankees’ various relationships with Scott Boras. First he picked up Robinson Cano as a client – in time for Cano’s first really big payday. Then it was reported that Nick Swisher had switched to Boras, but that turned out not to be true (he actually went with Dan Lozano). And today Mark Teixeira told reporters that he’s dropping the man. From Marc Carig in the Star Ledger:

“Now that the contract is over with, I don’t want to be ‘Scott Boras client,’” he said. “I want to be Mark Teixeira, baseball player, helping this team win championships.”

Teixeira has contemplated a switch for more than a year, even hiring another agency to handle his off-field charitable efforts. Though their business association has ended, Teixeira said Boras will continue to collect his percentage of the first baseman’s salary.

“Scott did a great job getting me my contract,” Teixeira said. “I wanted to be in New York from the beginning, and everything that I’ve asked for has come through so far. And from here on out, there’s no reason to worry about the contract. It’s all about winning championships and helping out the community.”

Given how Alex Rodriguez’s relationship with Boras went, it seems that while Boras is clearly the most effective agent in the game for getting big money contracts, he’s not particularly sensitive to his clients’ other desires.

Now, a ton of baseball players talk about “helping out the community” and then just set up an unspectacular charitable foundation on the side and leave it at that, but the Yankees at the moment have a few players who seem to take it very seriously (most notably Sabathia, Granderson, and Swisher), and maybe Teixeira is really serious about doing a lot in that area. He’s such a carefully bland guy in interviews that’s it’s hard to get a sense of what he’s actually like, or what he really cares about – but I can’t write him off as entirely dull because on the field, he often reacts to opponents like a real red-ass. And it takes some guts to fire Scott Boras, I’d imagine. Anyway, another footnote in the Boras saga – one day, though maybe not til well after he’s retired, there’ll be a fascinating book written about that guy.

Our Little Robbie's All Growed Up

Happy end-of-NFL-season, everybody. Yankee catchers and pitchers, such as they are, report to Tampa one week from today.

Meantime, it got a bit lost in the Andy Pettitte shuffle from last week, but I’ve been meaning to mention another Yankee news item from Friday: Robinson Cano ditched his previous agent and signed with Scott Boras. It’s no substitute for the actual baseball we’ll get in a few short weeks, but I still found it interesting. Cano is in the last year of his contract, but the Yanks have two option years coming up; in the 2014 season, with Boras on board, do not expect Cano to offer the Yankees any kind of hometown discount. (Not that he should – they have plenty of money, and he’s turned into a genuine star; there’s no reason he shouldn’t get paid accordingly). Second basemen that hit like Cano aren’t easy to find, and I’m sure Boras will get him a massive payday. But I wonder why Cano chose to do this now, with the next two years pretty much taken care of already.

Also intriguing in that, from what I understand, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano are reasonably close — and Rodriguez famously parted ways with Boras after the PR debacle (though financial success) of his last opt-out. Hmm. Speaking of A-Rod, the FOX cameras caught him and Cameron Diaz together early in the game, and of course she was hand-feeding him at the time:

Only A-Rod. As my friend said tonight, he should probably just stop appearing in public.

[Screencap from the gentlemen at River Avenue Blues.]

Yankee Panky: Can’t Winn For Losing

Last week’s signing of Randy Winn was met with a thud the likes we haven’t heard since the Road Runner was leading Wile E. Coyote off of cliff after cliff. The reaction appeared to have little to do with the clusterf— that proved to be the back-and-forth hearsay between Brian Cashman and Scott Boras regarding Johnny Damon. No, it was more that the Yankees actually committed a seven-figure dollar amount to, well, Randy Winn, and didn’t loosen the waistband for the once Unfrozen Caveman Outfielder.

Some of us are still trying to wrap our brains around the pretzel logic that led to the release of a soon-to-be 36-year-old who, despite his defensive foibles, has a stroke tailor made for the New Yankee Stadium and is a perfect fit for the Yankee lineup, only to sign a soon-to-be 36-year-old who is, um, Randy Winn.

There was a great deal of rancor in the Yankeeland Blogosphere in the days following the Winn deal. Over at the Yankeeist, Larry Koestler, a friend to the Banter (well, this Banterer, anyway) likens the Winn acquisition to that of Tony Womack:

Randy Winn…may have at one time been a reasonable ballplayer, but that was back when Honus Wagner was suiting up for the Buccos. I know he’s coming aboard as the fourth outfielder/platoonmate, but sweet Jesus we’d have been better off flushing the money directly down the toilet. It would’ve taken what — an extra $3-$4 million to get Damon back into the fold? We couldn’t do that, but we could spend a third of the presumed cost of Damon on an absolute and utter complete waste of space like Winn? Better to have let Gardner at least try to hold the position down — I’m not even much of a Gardner fan but I’d still rather Grit in there every day than waste any at-bats on the second coming of Wilson Betemit.

Honestly, Brian Cashman knows better than this. Signing Randy Winn and his sub-.700 OPS in 2009 for any amount is craziness. It doesn’t make any sense nor fit with the Yankees’ work-the-pitcher, high-OBP MO.

Oh, but it gets better. The New Stadium Insider notes that Winn was the last straw in pushing a certain 2009 season ticket holder to the point of canceling his plans to upgrade in 2k10.

Backtracking a bit to Koestler’s item, it’s important to note that earlier in the piece, he shows startling similarities between Winn’s weighted on-base average over the past four seasons, and Womack’s during the last four years of his career. Combining Winn and Brett Gardner, you basically have the same skill set (.325 OBP, .700 OPS, etc.). In other words, two people providing replacement-level numbers. Not good if you’re banking on Curtis Granderson summoning his 2007 self and Nick Swisher repeating his regular-season production of last year.

Maybe left-field should be considered an afterthought. Consider that when the Yankees went on their dynastic tear in the late 1990s and early part of the oughts, left field featured the All-Star cast of Gerald Williams, Tim Raines, Darryl Strawberry, Chad Curtis, Ricky Ledee, Shane Spencer, Ryan Thompson, Chuck Knoblauch, Rondell White, and Juan Rivera. The Yankees made six World Series trips in eight years with that motley crew because the other eight members of the lineup were able to make up for whatever deficiencies existed by the 399 sign. This Yankee team is good, but is it good enough to overcome left field, the unknowns of Granderson and Swisher, and despite their productivity, the ever-increasing age of Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter?

Perhaps a more apt comparison to this year’s left field situation is the right field situation of 2002, when a noncommittal Joe Torre rolled out a combination of Spencer and the inimitable John Vander Wal on a platoon basis. Spencer, despite his desire to be an everyday player, never recaptured the bottled lightning of September 1998. At least, he never came close enough to putting up numbers worthy enough to merit his everyday presence in the lineup. Vander Wal eventually regressed into what he always was: a pinch hitter. The two of them gave way to Enrique Wilson playing right field against the Mets. Wilson misplayed a couple of balls so badly that within days, the Yankees traded for the ball player formerly known as Raul Mondesi.

If history repeats itself this year, Ramiro Peña will have to make an emergency start in left and bungle it so badly that in a fit of panic, Cash will trade for Milton Bradley by the Fourth of July.

This is all figuring, of course, that Granderson is playing center field and not left. Certain pundits on certain afternoon drive radio shows have already put Granderson in left, and have said that Winn was not a terrible signing, Nick Johnson was an upgrade and a solid No. 2 hitter, and Gardner is not a terrible player, either.

We’ll find out soon enough, right?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver