Mets are "disappointed" in Beltran; won't take any further action

Leave a comment

UPDATE:  The Mets have spoken.  Assistant GM John Rico says that they say that they had the conversations with Boras, but that “the conversation
with Scott was very direct in we said we do not want him to
have surgery until we’ve reviewed the info.” Ricco said that the team wanted a “third opinion.”  They are “disappointed” in Beltran for getting the surgery without team consent, but that they will not file any sort of grievance or otherwise take action against Beltran or Boras or anyone. 

At this point I’d call it case-closed. Bad communication on each side, it would seem, and perhaps a bit of mistrust of the Mets and their medical staff on behalf of Beltran and Boras.  At this point, however, I think the Mets will let this go completely as long as they have a healthy and productive Carlos Beltran come, say, May. 

1:59 P.M:  Boras is awesome for getting ahead of the news. In about, oh, a minute, the Mets are holding a conference call to address the Carlos Beltran situation.  Presumably they’re still upset and will explain why. Boras preempts them with this:

Scott Boras told me the office for Dr. Richard Steadman, the surgeon
who performed Carlo Beltran’s knee surgery, received workman’s
compensation paperwork to pay for the procedure from Mets’ trainer Ray
Ramirez.

“The Mets gave consent to pay for the surgery,” Boras said.

Boras also said he had conversations on Tuesday with both Jeff Wilpon
and Omar Minaya about the surgery. Beltran also spoke with Minaya,
according to Boras.

I suppose there could be some other level of consent that is technically required here, but if what Boras said is true, the Mets can’t honestly claim that they didn’t know what was going on, can they?

Mark Lerner says Nationals can’t afford both Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg

Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images
1 Comment

The defending champion Washington Nationals may have to replace two star players in third baseman Anthony Rendon and starter Stephen Strasburg as both are free agents. Both are represented by agent Scott Boras and both are expected to command lucrative contracts. As a result, Nationals managing principal owner Mark Lerner said the club can’t afford to bring back both players, Todd Dybas of NBC Sports Washington reports.

Lerner told Donald Dell in an interview, “We really can only afford to have one of those two guys. They’re huge numbers. We already have a really large payroll to begin with.”

As Dybas notes, there are myriad reasons why Lerner would say this publicly. If Lerner had instead said, “Yeah, we’re filthy stinking rich, especially coming off of a World Series win. We could afford to get every free agent if we wanted to,” then the Nationals would have no leverage in negotiations. Creating artificial scarcity increases the Nationals’ leverage when negotiating with Boras and his clients. And as Dybas also points out, Lerner’s statement also prepares fans for an unsatisfactory outcome not unlike when the club took itself out of the running to bring back outfielder Bryce Harper earlier this year. This not to say Lerner’s statement is justified; it’s just how things work in the current system.

Lerner also defended the Nationals’ approach to free agency. He said, “They think you’re really back there printing money and it’s whoever goes to the highest bidder. It’s not that way at all. You give these fellas — there’s a negotiation that goes on, but…We’ve been pretty successful in free agency over time. You’re not going to get everybody. Certain players may want to go home, closer to where their home is. You never know the reason why people move on. But, we’ve been very successful. Probably one of the most successful teams in free agency the last 10 years. We’re very proud of our record. But, again, I think people have to realize, it’s not all up to us.”

It is true that the Nationals have been one of the most active teams in free agency in recent years. In a league that has otherwise done the opposite, they deserve some credit for that. But the Nationals are also keenly aware of the competitive balance tax threshold, which teams use as a de facto salary cap. They don’t have to, but they choose to because it’s a convenient structure that allows them to limit expenditures.

At the end of the day, it’s baseball’s financial structure that is rotten. It forces constant misinformation out of everyone’s mouths so as to protect their financial interests and leverage, and incentivizes teams to value profits above all. In a perfect world, MLB team owners wouldn’t need to cry poor every offseason, but we don’t live in such a world.