Say what you want about him, but Scott Boras has got guts

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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.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.