Top level talents are easy to sell. Where the men who represent major league baseball players truly separate themselves from the boys is in selling flawed, aging and relatively unattractive players to teams in the free agent market.
Enter Scott Boras — the best of the best — hyping up clients Johnny Damon, Andruw Jones and Manny Ramirez in today’s Jerry Crasnick column:
“These guys are star players,” Boras said. “They’re championship-caliber players. Owners and general managers know they have extraordinary abilities, and they can be a force in the locker room and around young players. Those are things that most veteran players don’t offer.”
You tell ’em, Scott! I mean, apart from the fact that (a) Jones has played 15 seasons without a championship; (b) Damon no longer has extraordinary abilities; and (b) no owner or general manager in their right mind wants Manny Ramirez influencing young players, you’re absolutely right!
As Crasnick notes, the market for veteran bats is positively brutal right now. If Boras can land nice deals for all three of these guys, he deserves the uber-agent crown.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.