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.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.