Gio Gonzalez has had a rough few months.
Despite being a pretty solid pitcher over the years, he claims he only received one offer all offseason: a minor league deal with the Yankees. He signed that in late March and the Yankees have kept him in the minors. If they don’t call him up by tomorrow, he can request his release. For what it’s worth, Gonzalez has not pitched well in Triple-A, likely because he didn’t get a spring training (this past month has been his spring training for all practical purposes). A such, it seems doubtful that the Yankees will call him up and likely that he’s going to be a free agent once again by this weekend.
He’ll be a free agent with a new agent, too, as Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that Gonzalez has fired his agent, Scott Boras, and is now represented by CAA.
Normally at this point I’d offer some stuff about how crappy the market is for free agents. And it is. But I’m more taken with the Scott Boras angle here. And wondering why on Earth players who are not top-of-the-market talents sign with him.
I’ve been wondering this for years and years, actually. I wrote about it a lot back in 2010 and I’m pretty sure I wrote about it at my old Blogspot blog back in 2007 or 2008 as well. The upshot: I’m sure Boras handles his business professionally and responsibly, and I don’t think he commits agent malpractice or that he is somehow not serving his clients in the way he thinks is best. I simply think that the way Boras tends to approach the market is not, actually, what’s best for secondary talents, even if it makes zillions of dollars for elite players like Bryce Harper.
What has made Boras so successful is his patience. While he, like all agents, have been burned in the past, he has been remarkably successful at getting good and often great deals long after most experts figured the money was not out there to be had. People were talking about Harper taking a short term deal with the Giants before he nabbed $330 million from Philly, you’ll recall. In the past he’s done that with other great players too. If I was an MVP-contender or looked to be the top guy at my position in the market, I’d strongly consider hiring Boras because the guy isn’t gonna blink and isn’t gonna get nervous playing chicken with clubs.
But if you’re not that guy — if you’re Gio Gonzalez, say — is that the best approach for you? If your agent’s m.o. is to get the top guys to set the market and then work on the dudes lower down the chain, why do you want to have the same agent a current free agent like Dallas Keuchel has?
You may counter that Boras is capable of doing two things at once, but even nine years later I can’t forget what Boras said to Jim Bowden on a radio show back in 2010 when he had both Matt Holliday and Johnny Damon in the same free agent class, both of whom were looking for left field jobs:
“Well, I think the market now after Matt [Holliday] has signed and Jason Bay has signed is starting to come alive because obviously teams are, some of the teams that were interested in those players have been contacting us. And I am in the process right now of turning my attention to Johnny’s situation.”
Maybe that was a poor choice of words, but if I’m Gio Gonzalez, I have to wonder if, given that Dallas Keuchel still doesn’t have a job, my agent’s attention has turned to my “situation” yet. And, when, exactly, it will.
And, yeah, maybe I fire him and hire CAA.