P.T. Barnum, a World-Class Agent, or Both?

Scott Boras insists he does not have to bring the 26-year-old right-hander to Boston this week. Boras claims that he is "arguably one of the five best starting pitchers in the game and should be paid accordingly, especially coming off of this market." In Boras’s mind, that fair market price is $20 million, not that he’s asking for it because of the posting system. But Boras also claims that Matsuzaka can get $15-18 million pitching in Japan, that Seibu can get a lot more than $51.1 million next year and that Boston can write off most of the posting costs with marketing and the exclusion of the luxury tax.

from Peter Gammons’ newest column, on ESPN (Insider req’d).

22 comments… add one
  • “Mussina was fourth in the AL in quality starts with 23; Wang sixth with 20; Pettite had 20 in Houston — albeit far from the AL East.”
    ok, I’m off topic here but this was in the column and I had to point it out to Paul because he loves the quality stat so. The Pettitte signing looks more and more dandy.

    Nick-YF December 9, 2006, 7:38 pm
  • “it would be a shame for Matsuzaka and baseball to hold him out to try to force a change in the posting system.”
    This is a pretty interesting quote from an anonymous GM. I wonder if a failed signing would change the bidding system. It would a pretty spectacular disappointment for all parties involved.

    Nick-YF December 9, 2006, 7:41 pm
  • I know Boras is posturing, but $20M per season for DM, in a perfect market? With no service time? It’s another one of those “he can’t be serious” moments, but then you realize he knows exactly what he’s saying, and why he is saying it. And Barry Zito is part of the equation as to why he is saying these things, make no mistake. Omar Minaya is checking his wallet.

    SF December 9, 2006, 7:50 pm
  • This is just Boras being Boras.
    Ha. I had to say it.

    Brad December 9, 2006, 8:20 pm
  • desturbd1 December 9, 2006, 8:34 pm
  • The Franklin Mint should make a Boras coin. Each one worth $1 million. And all MLB fa salaries would have to be paid with them.

    YF December 9, 2006, 8:37 pm
  • ha. Wanna hear something funny, D1? My girlfriend got me his CD last Christmas!

    Brad December 9, 2006, 8:41 pm
  • Haha, it actually isn’t too bad. Not my kind of music, generally, but not the typical athlete-trying-to-sing shit.
    Mind you, I didn’t buy it. Me mum did.

    Anonymous December 9, 2006, 8:44 pm
  • Ahem… that was me.

    desturbd1 December 9, 2006, 8:45 pm
  • SF –
    I think you bring up a ver valid point, there. The Zito extravaganza is going to be absolutely like nothing we’ve ever seen for a pitcher. If, and I’m being hypothetical here, the Red Sox give into what Boras is claiming is Matsuzaka’s worth, it’s sure to be a win-win situation with Barry Zito.
    By Boras holding all teams at bay with Zito, he creates a open situation that allows him to pin the two pitchers against each other. Clearly, he holds Zito out and offers immense praise and honor to Matsuzaka during these negotiations with the Red Sox. By painting him in this light, and basically making sure that he gets the absolute most absurd contract possible for him from the Red Sox, he makes Zito’s worth even more insane to teams.
    Of course the Red Sox are going to budge on this one, otherwise they are back to square one. In the end, he turns right around and dictates what the market will pay for Barry Zito.
    Two weeks from now, I’m sure we’ll all hear Boras say something like “Matsuzaka was paid 16million a year, and he’s is a complete unproven pitcher” and “It’s not like a team is signing a question mark, he’s the most durable pitcher in the leauge”.
    I’m sure Boras is going to make Barry Zito a very, very rich man. At first I considered the notion of Barry possibly holding himself out for too long, and it was going to hurt him. Reading this column only allows me a glimpse into the very well-planned master plan.
    My guess: Matsuzaka – 15mill/per
    My guess: Barry Zito – 22mill/per for at least six years.
    In light of things realistically, Barry Zito, as much as we shat on him, is the best pitcher to hit the market in a long time, numbers wise anyhow. He’s going to get paid, and I’m very surprised the Yankees are not the rumored front runners. Of all the pitchers they could have wasted money on in the past five years, he seems like the only sure commodity they haven’t, nor plan to be, scooping up.
    That’s a great observation on your part.

    Brad December 9, 2006, 10:17 pm
  • what I’d give to be a fly on the wall for just one weekend in Boras’ office.

    Brad December 9, 2006, 10:26 pm
  • As a YF, Zito is too scary for me. Of course, I think parts of it is that BoSox isn’t after him, since the swing might be a bit much. Otherwise, if he doesn’t play the the East, and if the Mets do get him in the NL, then that’s good enough for me..

    Lar December 9, 2006, 11:15 pm
  • The Yankees aren’t the front-runner for Barry Zito because Cashman is now in complete control, and he is way too smart to buy into the myth that Barry Zito is some great pitcher who is worth whatever Boras asks. You can bet Steinbrenner would have scooped up Zito in an instant after the Detroit collapse, but we are seeing the dawn of a new era of the Yankees.
    As a YF, I am very, very, very glad that Cashman has taken over at the exact right time.

    Andrew December 9, 2006, 11:27 pm
  • You can bet Steinbrenner would have scooped up Zito in an instant after the Detroit collapse, but we are seeing the dawn of a new era of the Yankees.
    If Boston ended up with Zito, I’m very happy. He’s a dominant pitcher, who at this time, is better than almost anyone in the AL. He’s as durable as anyone ever has been, and can be absolutely dominating.
    Being happy that you’re team doesn’t have Barry Zito doesn’t seem like the best choice to me. He’s better than 99% of the pitchers on the market or off of it.
    Cashman not chasing Zito doesn’t show restraing in the slightest, it shows that he thinks he’s capable of builing a good enough staff from the parts he has now. Or, it might show that he’s just tired of being knows as the GM who makes the obvious signings every damn winter. Of course he’s gotten a pass because of actual “control issues” from withing the Yankee FO, but not getting Zito shouldn’t be high on his list of options.
    Think of it this way, if the Sox were to get him, the paper product would be nearly untouchable in a five game series. Any person who wins that much, makes that many teams look foolish, and is that durable is a great pitcher in my market.

    Brad December 9, 2006, 11:52 pm
  • I just don’t think Zito’s worth the risk. He’s good, but for how long? And he’ll be asking for a 6/7 year, which is a hell long time for someone who hasn’t been his best in a few years.
    That’s why AP is important – the 1 (or 2) year contract gives the Yanks flexibility in the future..
    Would I love Zito in the short term? Yes. Would I love Zito in the playoffs? Probably.
    I would rather have Lilly rather than Zito, but mostly because we’re not paying the insane sum that Zito is going to command..
    Ya, I wouldn’t mind Zito on my team, but that said, it wouldn’t be such a loss not to get him.. unless BoSox gets him instead, of course. =)

    Lar December 10, 2006, 12:45 am
  • Brad, you really have a way of trying to make the Yankees look bad in everything they do, don’t you?
    I would like Zito on the Yankees, sure. But you have to consider the other factors. First and foremost there’s salary that will be eaten up by him that will be unavailable for future free agent years, say Carlos Zambrano, or if you want to sign an existing pitcher to a long-term deal. Yes, even the Yankees have their limits. And Zito will likely command upwards of $18 million for 6 years. Do I want Zito for that long for that amount of money? No. That’s Johan Santana dollars.
    I’m happy the Yankees aren’t falling for it. I’m glad the Yankees haven’t fallen into the trap of giving long-term contracts to people who don’t deserve it in this grossly inflated market. I’m glad that the Yankees are moving away from that mold, while every other team seems to be moving towards it.
    So yes, I’m glad the Yankees aren’t getting Barry Zito for 6 years, because they can get guys like Andy Pettitte and Mussina for 2 years instead. And then have the flexibility to sign actual quality free agents like Zambrano, or Teixeira, in the future.
    Just as a note, the Sox financially cannot go after Zito. The luxury tax would kick in, and then we’d see how much John Henry actually loves his reigning third-place team.

    Andrew December 10, 2006, 3:19 am
  • Andrew, I wasn’t trying to make the Yankees “look bad”. FWIW, they’ve done a good enough job of that on thier own through their insane free agent spending over the past four years:)
    I’m poking fun of course, and being said, the only point I was trying to make was that Zito is a damn good, proven pitcher. Either of our teams would be lucky to have him. But, you are right, Zambrano is going to be the cream of the crop when he hits the market.

    Brad December 10, 2006, 9:51 am
  • And then have the flexibility to sign actual quality free agents like Zambrano, or Teixeira, in the future.
    Signing Zito would do nothing to the Yankees’ flexibility. This is a red herring of an argument, IMO.

    SF December 10, 2006, 10:09 am
  • Why aren’t the Red Sox throwing out this bone to Boras (for all I know, they are, but they haven’t publicized it through leaks):
    The Matsuzaka contract starts at their price – $9 million/year or whatever it is – and if he performs, incentives walk it up to Boras’s price – $15 million/year – by the time he’s halfway through his 5 or 6-year deal. Hell, maybe even after one year.
    In this fashion, the Red Sox can feel comfortable that they didn’t blow even more extravagant amounts of money on a pitcher whose talents might not translate, and Boras can rest assured that his player gets the money his talent deserves.

    JoshSFinMI December 10, 2006, 11:37 am
  • There are three posibilities:
    First, the Red Sox posted 51 million to keep him away from the Yankees in which case the league should punish them.
    Second, the Red Sox posted 51 million thinking they could then negotiate with his original club and use part of the posting fee towards his salary. This sort of pathetic attempt at circumventing the rules and underhanded methods is nothing new to them. Anyone remember the hotel “comedy” with Contreras? How pathetic was that?
    Third, they thought Boras would be nice and would accept a long term contract for under 10 million a year. Do they know Boras or is it just a case of feeble minds?
    The reality is Boras does have options. He has no problem sending him back to Japan. If the Red Sox want to avoid another embarrasment like the A-Rod saga then they will give in and accept 3 years at 15 million + a year. That would mean 30 million plus salary a year if you include the posting fee, which would be another embarrasment! Otherwise you will see him pitching for the Yankees as soon as next year.

    another86yearwait December 10, 2006, 4:47 pm
  • You apparently think the Red Sox are run by three year-olds. Which, whether you hate the team or not, is ridiculous.
    In your world, there’s nothing the Sox can do right with DM. They’re either duplicitous, stupid, or both. Your line of reasoning is absurd.

    SF December 10, 2006, 5:04 pm
  • as is your ID, but who’s judging.

    Brad December 10, 2006, 5:22 pm

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