Scott Boras is upset with the new posting system for international players

Elsa/Getty Images
10 Comments

Nippon Professional Baseball star Shohei Ohtani will be posted by his team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, on Friday. He’ll reach an agreement with a team within 21 days, beginning his career in Major League Baseball. There’s just one problem: the most he can make is $3.535 million and he’ll undergo the usual six years of team control like domestic players.

Nearly three years ago, Masahiro Tanaka came over from Japan and signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees. The discrepancy has everything to do with the new rules for signing international players created by the latest collective bargaining agreement. However, while Ohtani may max out at a relatively meager $3.535 million, he can earn more through endorsement deals.

Still, the new system doesn’t sit well with agent Scott Boras, who does not represent Ohtani (that would be Nez Balelo of Creative Artists Agency). Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Boras said, “The union will tell you they do not want to bar a player from coming here as long as he is aware of his rights. The player will tell you his lifelong dream is to play in MLB. Underneath it all, his Japanese team took their interest to the forefront. They won the title a year ago and now Ohtani would have cost (approximately $5 million) in Japan. Most importantly they want $20 million now and don’t want the risk of him getting hurt and losing the money.”

Boras continued, “Now the unsuspecting (2016 Pacific League MVP) no longer has the protection of his Japanese team or the MLB posting rules. He is precocious, greatness cast adrift, forced into the MLB lifeboat. And his admission is handcuffs that prevent him from getting at least what his older, lesser valued peers received—in Tanaka’s case, more than $150 million. Is this an international event or an international incident?”

Most importantly, Boras said, “If NPB players are ridiculed and taken advantage of—even with their consent—we have destroyed years of goodwill and respect the MLB once showed the NPB. This great league and its players—especially Ohtani—deserve better.”

Boras also noted that richer clubs stand to benefit more from the new rules because international players coming over will get additional money by signing endorsement deals with team sponsors, which are not regulated by the CBA and which do not count against the luxury tax.

Boras, of course, is correct in saying all of this. The new system is unnecessarily lopsided power-wise, in favor of team owners. They save money on signing international stars and essentially send the bill to sponsors, which will allow them to spend even more freely in the future. The players’ union agreed to a system that entices teams to avoid big contracts altogether. Rosenthal noted that Tony Clark, executive director of the MLB Players Association, declined comment on the story.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.