Jon Heyman writes about Edwin Jackson today, and the market his agent — Scott Boras — is trying to create for him. This passage is great fun:
Jackson is believed to be looking for a deal that pays him in the $15-to-17-million range annually. Agent Scott Boras has compared Jackson to C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle, John Lackey, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe in his book touting Jackson.
Let me get this straight: Scott Boras is using Lackey, Burnett and Lowe — three the most regrettable free agent signings in recent years — as comps for Edwin Jackson. He is, in effect, telling baseball teams that Edwin Jackson can be just what those guys are, so he should be paid as such. He wants them to willingly sign the next A.J. Burnett, John Lackey or Derek Lowe deal. Deals so bad that in one case the team who signed him had to eat money to make him go away and in the other two the teams couldn’t make them go away even if they tried.
Know what? Scott Boras is not dumb. He may be the smartest agent in baseball history. He’s certainly the most successful. He has to know just how crazy that sounds. In fact, I’m sure he does. Indeed, I can totally picture him sitting in his office, telling one of his assistants to write up the page with the A.J. Burnett comparison, after which the assistant had to stop him and say “Scott, really?”
At which point Boras probably sat back, smiled and said “You know, even I get bored sometimes. I just wanna see if I can do it.”
And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he does.
Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.
[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:
Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.
He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.
Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.
Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.
For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.
So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?
The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.
I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.
Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.
But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.