Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Just Changed My Mind About Miguel Cabrera

Keep the kids!


To hear Ken Rosenthal say it, Alex Rodriguez negotiating with the Yankees is huge loss of face for Scott Boras. From "Boras finally tastes a bit of humiliation":

From the furor over A-Rod opting out during Game 4 of the World Series to Boras' inability to establish the benchmark he wanted, it has been anything but the agent's finest hour....

For once Boras appears to have misread the market. For once, A-Rod didn't appear to act as his puppet. For once, the final, jaw-dropping tally will tell only part of the story.

Buster Olney at ESPN.com seems to agree:

Rodriguez is going to get the largest contract ever in sports, when the I's are dotted and the T's crossed. He'll survive. But Boras' reputation as a savvy negotiator will not. He somehow managed to badly overplay the perfect hand.

Yet I have a hard time believing the most savvy agent in baseball—maybe all of professional sports—has lost control of his star client. Some are suggesting that Boras was complicit in A-Rod's plans. From Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports:

Meantime, what has been portrayed as an end-around on agent Scott Boras – Rodriguez contacted the Steinbrenners through a third party, believed to be Mitch Modell of "Gotta go to Mo's" sporting goods fame, and initiated Round 2 of negotiations – might actually have been strategic and not a breaking of ranks.

According to those close to the situation, the Yankees did not attempt to bar Boras from future negotiations and, despite appearances, Boras maintains a civil and professional relationship with his client. Indeed, witnesses said Boras was in Miami meeting with Rodriguez for the past several days and was to dine with Rodriguez on Wednesday night.

So when A-Rod signs with the Yankees—and don't hand him any humanitarian awards yet, as he will still sign the largest contract in baseball history and Boras will still receive his commission—how will it affect the Dodgers?

Of course, A-Rod's disappearance from the free agent market will increase Miguel Cabrera's worth to the Marlins. A while back I favored Cabrera over Rodriguez, mainly due to Cabrera's youth. But if acquiring Cabrera costs the Dodgers too many of those seemingly untouchable names—Kemp, Loney, Billingsley, Kershaw—reportedly requested by Florida, it won't be worth it. I don't want to see this team eviscerated.

So if Ned Colletti keeps his head, we get to keep the kids. Then it seems the youngster in jeopardy of being traded is Andre Ethier, as the hopefully exorbitant asking price for Cabrera will make Ned look toward free agent center fielders (Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand), moving Juan Pierre to left and keeping Kemp in right. (We all know it's Pierre who should be jettisoned, but we also know that ain't gonna happen.)

Jeff Kent will start the season at second base, and I expect Ned and Joe Torre to start Nomar at third. Andy LaRoche will start the season in Las Vegas as James Loney did this year, ostensibly to allow him to play every day. Maybe there will be a free agent pitcher signed as well, but with farts like Luis Gonzalez and Shea Hillenbrand gone and with Uncle Joe steering the craft, maybe we can concentrate on baseball next year instead of clubhouse politics.

UPDATE:

As usual, Jon Weisman puts it better than I do.

illustration by Laura Cornell/Kids Off the Couch

3 comments:

Webmeister said...

Does Boras still get his agent cut of the contract?
vr, Xei

Orel said...

I can't imagine he wouldn't, if only because so much needs to happen (legalities, paperwork) after the deal is negotiated.

And if A-Rod tries to deny Boras his commission? Then things will get interesting. It would make Lo Duca vs. his old agency (which supposedly leaked dirt after getting dumped) look like child's play. Don't think A-Rod would want any of that.

Orel said...

"The Yankees still must draft the agreement with Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras."