Boras the center of attention in Vegas
Agent addresses media on clients such as Manny, Teixeira
LAS VEGAS -- Scott Boras, known to some around baseball as the "Avenging Agent" for his firm but effective negotiating tactics, turned into the Emerging Agent here late Wednesday afternoon.Ending nearly three days of uncharacteristic silence at the Winter Meetings, Boras exited from a Bellagio elevator bank into a crush of waiting reporters to offer generic updates on negotiations involving clients. And there was much to update: Boras has a scroll of 16 free agents, making him not just the most wanted man at the Meetings but also the busiest.
Boras' client list is topped by the cream of free-agent position players, Mark Teixeira, with Manny Ramirez at least 1-A in that tandem. The anticipated signing of CC Sabathia by the Yankees would also leave Boras clients Derek Lowe and Oliver Perez among the most-sought starters remaining on the open market.Categorizing baseball as running its "own world" separate from the economic strife gripping "the real world," Boras said action for Teixeira is hot enough for a possible decision before the Meetings break up Thursday. Speaking soon after the Washington Nationals had presented him with a reported eight-year, $160 million offer, Boras said, "All the clubs [in on Teixeira], have made concrete offers. We've countered and gone back and forth. Maybe something could happen here, but there are a lot of decisions to make as time goes on. "We're going through the negotiating process. I've done enough of these before to know you might think you're getting to a critical period, only for other things to come up to stretch the process well beyond the time frame of the Meetings." Boras was not reacting specifically to the Nationals' offer, believed to be the first specific one to actually hit the table. The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels have indicated that they have not yet made a proposal. When asked about that, Boras implied otherwise by saying: "You need to revisit that with the Angels." That was one of the rare specific comments during a 50-minute traveling show (at one point, hotel security firmly told the media mob to vacate the area in front of the elevators) for which Boras early on set down the ground rules: "I'm not going to comment on specifics. I'm not here to talk about specific teams. You'll need to talk to the clubs when it comes to free agency." But without crossing specific bridges between free agents and teams, Boras did address market conditions for a number of his key clients: Ramirez: "Nine or 10 teams need a No. 3-No. 4 batter, and we've been contacted by a number of clubs about that. "Clubs that need a bat will try to fill that in a number of ways. He is one of the players who could be the answer. We've always told the Dodgers he's interested in playing for them. Manny really enjoyed his time there." Lowe: "He has serious interest from a lot of teams, and we're marching through them." The most intent clubs appear to be the Yankees and the Phillies, and Boras added, "In New York, you have to do well, and do well in key situations. His performance in postseasons adds to his appeal not only for the Yankees, but other teams as well. "He's looking for a contending club, but certainly a number of [interested] teams fill that bill." Joe Crede, limited to 144 games the last two seasons with the White Sox by lower-back problems: "He's fine. He'll start working out in January. The reports from doctors are really encouraging. The big question clubs have about him is what is his health like, and the best answer to that is what the doctors are saying. And their prognosis indicates that it will be a positive year for him." Jason Varitek, who, Boras indicated, has received an offer to stay in Boston: "He's the captain of a team, which is a rare event. And certainly Boston has let us know they want him back. We're talking about it. We also have to go out and look into other situations that will be possible for him. "The catchers' market is a hard one to predict. It's an experience-based position, and there are so few candidates. So you find subjective evaluations there." These and other players on the market have kept Boras locked into his hotel room, where the room service menu by now is dog-eared. "We've been working around the clock. We've certainly had time to meet multiple times with multiple teams," Boras said. "Every player likes to have decisions made quickly, but it doesn't always work out like that." His free-agent plate is so loaded, Boras flashed a bemused smile when asked about possibly exploring a long-term deal for one of the Red Sox's young players, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. "I'll be real happy when I get to consider those things -- because it'll mean we're in mid-January," Boras said. To clear his free-agent docket, Boras will hold onto the belief that baseball, however foreboding the economic climate, can sustain a salary standard paced by nine-figure contracts. "When you look at the real world, you see people losing their jobs and companies making changes. But baseball runs its own world," Boras said. "Contracts are subject to large TV contracts, local media contracts and other guarantees. "Even if you under-perform, you are guaranteed $65 million [through revenue sharing and TV deals]. When you underperform in the real world, you can't pay your mortgage. But baseball has a built-in subsidy. "And players have the ability to pay for themselves, through attendance and higher TV ratings."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.