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.

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]