Scott Boras to Self: "I Haven't Been on TV in Days!"

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Despite claims that Scott Boras is all that is wrong (or right) with baseball, Boras certainly knows his way around a press release. Fighting for the rights of his clients is one thing, taking that fight to the airways is another. Boras responded to the recent benching (or running out of ideas according to Leyland) of Magglio Ordonez with a healthy does of skepticism.

"Take a look at what [Red Sox manager] Terry Francona is doing with David Ortiz," Boras told The Detroit News. "And this man has nowhere near the numbers of Magglio Ordonez in recent seasons. And Ortiz is coming off a bad year from the year before [2008].

"[Alex Rodriguez] in the month of June hit .137 in 2006. [Derek] Jeter, I believe, for two months hit under .200. They didn't bench him.

"Give me the compelling reasons for benching Magglio. You bench Magglio and you're going to have a problem -- a real problem -- justifying that to me."

Translated from snake oil to English: Boras claims the Tigers are benching Ordonez to avoid activating some automatic vesting options built into his contract not for poor play as Jim Leyland states. First, let's look at Magg's play: does he deserve a benching?

In a word: sure. His raw numbers for the year aren't terrible (.273/.376/.494) with only 2 home runs. Beyond that, his BB/K is about normal though his line drives are down and his ground balls are way, way up. Fewer fly balls and even fewer home runs on those fly balls mean he's basically a singles hitter stuck in the center of the lineup.

Over the last two weeks though, Magglio's become even worse. A .554 OPS with but one extra base hit. His contact numbers are cryptic and I'm not smart enough to make much sense of them. One thing stands out: Magglio's having a hard time with the fastball. The linear weights support it (whatever Poindexter!) but his spray chart does too! Almost everything is the other way! Magglio can't get around on anything, and his offense is suffering badly.

So he's not playing well. He's hardly the first 35 year old to slump. But does Boras have a point? Let's consider this from a business perspective. Thanks to Cot's Contracts, we take a closer look at Magglio's deal:

  • 2010 option guaranteed at $18M if Ordonez has: 135 starts or 540 PAs in 2009, or 270 starts or 1,080 PAs in 08-09
  • 2011 option guaranteed at $15M if Ordonez has: 135 starts or 540 PAs in 2010, or 270 starts or 1,080 PAs in 09-10

Magglio counted 623 PAs in 2008 to go with 242 in '09. He only needs 200 more PAs to vest 2010 or 125 more starts. Would the Tigers want to pay $18 million dollars for a man giving them replacement level performance this year? Absolutely not. Is this the first time a team would place such restrictions on playing time to save themselves a few bucks? Of course not.

The Tigers are currently in first place in the AL Central. If Magglio's play doesn't improve, they could plug nearly anyone into right field and get the production. The Tigers see potential playoff earnings compounding the $18 million dollar savings next year; their decision is simple.

As for Boras, he's really only doing his job. The past offseason showed a player like Ordonez would be in for a serious pay cut were he unleashed on the open market. In typical Boras style, he opted for a one-way line of communication laden with rhetoric and relativism. Jim Leyland is protecting his player but also trying to maintain his perception as baseball man rather than company stooge.

Magglio is a much better hitter than he's shown the last month, making it foolish to right him off so quickly. The Tigers need to do more than sit him down for a weekend here and there if they hope to save themselves $18 million bucks in 2010, the most Scott Boras or any of us should expect is a little respect for a franchise cornerstone.

Double Whiskey, Coke, No Ice to Matt_T for the heads up on the money quotes.


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6 Comments

I DECLARE A WARGASM

/is this where I come for L7 jokes?

The Tilde is not right, and too old, and wouldn't it make sense that a team paying a dude $13M to play for The Mets would try and recoup that money elsewhere?

YOUR OUTFIELD HAS BEEN TOO OLD FOR MORE THAN ONE SEASON.

Garfield loves lasagna.
















And hates Mondays with equal fervor.

Obviously, Tilde's prescription for anabolic empanadas ran out in March.

Fuck it. Fuck it all. It just doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter...

@ Matt
I was away yesterday, but yes, your Japanese pitcher is MUCH better than ours!

I ate bratwurst, weisswurst, and knockwurst tonight and now my farts smell like a Nazi crawled up my ass and died in 1945.

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