My annual musing about Scott Boras’ conflicts of interest

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This comes up every winter and I don’t feel like we ever get to the bottom of the issue. Probably because it’s boring to most people, but I still think it’s important. Query: Does Scott Boras’ status as the Alpha Agent create a conflict of interest?

He represents Adrian Beltre. He represents Jayson Werth. Both are thought of as targets of the Boston Red Sox who, contrary to popular belief, do in fact have budgetary constraints. While Beltre and Werth don’t play the same position, they’re both competing for a finite amount of Red Sox dollars.  If the position thing bothers you, let’s look back to last winter when Boras had both Johnny Damon and Matt Holliday on the free agent market, both left fielders.

What happens if, in the course of a negotiation over Client A, someone on the Sox alludes to the fact that they’d prefer to spend money on Client B, or someone very much like him? I’m curious about how Boras handles that. I’m curious as to his explanation about how hitting the Sox as hard as he can in the course of a negotiation for one of his players doesn’t necessarily harm the interests of another who is obviously sought by the same team. One possible answer is that subordinates handle negotiations and are “walled off” from the man himself to keep things kosher, but I don’t think either Adrian Beltre or Jayson Werth hired Boras to be represented by a suboirdiante.

I’m not saying Boras is doing anything wrong here. I’m sure he discloses all of these ins and outs to his clients, has them sign necessarily waiver of conflicts forms and all of the other sorts of things a careful lawyer does (and Boras often makes a point about how, as a lawyer, he’s more careful than other agents).  I just don’t see how that whole setup is so appealing to clients in Beltre and Werth’s position.

Report: Chris Tillman will decide on a team this week

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Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.

Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.

While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.