You think you got Scott Boras figured out? Think he’s the Antichrist? If so, check out this profile of the Uber Agent from FanHouse’s Jeff Fletcher:
Boras, 57, grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Elk Grove, Calif., just outside of Sacramento. In this case “farm” isn’t just another word for “country.” It was an actual, working farm. Boras milked cows and drove a tractor. He said he learned early how important efficiency was, because it was only by doing his chores quickly and correctly that he could have the time to pursue his passion: baseball . . .
. . . Boras’ first office was a tiny little place in Pomona, a unspectacular, smoggy, community east of Los Angeles that Boras picked because it was located halfway between Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium. The outside of his office was scrawled with graffiti from gangs.
Boras truly came from nothing and built his business through a lot of hard work. He wasn’t gifted with clients via his dad’s golf buddies. He didn’t inherit a portfolio. He gives tons to charities. He’s a family man. He has employees who have worked with him for years and years and they all speak well of him. And despite all of that, he’ll always be thought of as evil because he has demanded that billionaires give his mere millionaire clients a greater cut of the revenue they produce. His clients are rich and famous, but in the world in which they operate, they are the little guy, relatively speaking. We almost always root for the little guy in this world, but not in baseball, and not when Boras is involved. Why?
Sure, his methods are sharp, make no mistake about it. Indeed, I’ve argued on multiple occasions that his representation of multiple free agents at the same position in the same offseason (e.g. Matt Holliday and Johnny Damon) is a conflict of interest. But there’s more than one side to every story. When it comes to Boras, almost everything we read is negative. It’s probably worth taking a look at the positive for once and giving him the same benefit of the doubt we’d give anyone else.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.
The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.
While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.