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Yesterday, New York Times writer Jeffrey N. Gordon gave us his take on the A-Rod opt-out. And it’s a must read.

In short, Gordon thinks A-Rod opted out because he wants to be a Yankee, not because he doesn’t.

Conventional wisdom is that Rodriguez willfully ignored the Yankees’ repeated public assertions that they could not rationally pursue him in free agency because they would lose $30 million from the Texas Rangers when they took over his contract. But the Yankees’ assertion is simply a bargaining gambit.

Assume some other team, call them the Dodgers, were to offer Rodriguez $32 million a year for eight years. Remember that the Dodgers are receiving no part of the Rangers’ booty. Is it really the Yankees’ position that Rodriguez is worth more to the Dodgers than to the Yankees? If the Dodgers can afford to pay the $32 million a year, can the Yankees — the richest franchise in sports — plead poverty?

Gordon then goes on to defend A-Rod’s agent, Scott Boras, and his decision to announce A-Rod’s opt-out during game seven of the World Series:

Does this sound too sophisticated for a fellow who makes his living hitting home runs? Remember that his agent, Scott Boras, is the black-belt negotiator. Why would Boras gratuitously expose Rodriguez to ridicule and scorn?

I gotta tell ya, I agree with Gordon. We’ve all been so quick to assume that Boras announced A-Rod’s opt-out during the World Series because it offered his client maximum media exposure.

But let’s give Boras the benefit of the doubt. He’s never given us any reason to suspect he’s anything but media savvy.

Go ahead. Read Gordon’s story. And then ask yourself: did I underestimate Scott Boras — again?

15 Responses to “A-Rod and Boras are misunderstood.”

  1. Nick Kapur says:

    Great post, Paul!

    I was thinking of doing a post on Fukudome myself in the next few days, but you’ve done a much more thorough post than I was planning to.

    All the reports I’ve read have Fukudome going to the Padres. They seem to have some sort of preexisting relationship with him which makes them the frontrunners…

  2. Coley Ward says:

    $40 million over four years for a poor man’s Eric Byrnes? It’s clear that teams no longer value players in terms of their on-field production, but in terms of marketing potential. Fukudome and Dice-K are valuable because they will allow the teams that sign them to sell caps and jerseys in Japan. A-Rod is valuable not for his homers, but because more people will pay to watch him, both in person and on TV.

    Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this. I just feel bad for the Lyle Overbays of the world. That guy’s got about as much market appeal as a Sunday afternoon hockey game.

  3. Paul Moro says:

    Coley, I think that Eric Byrnes himself is “a poor man’s Eric Byrnes”. The perception of his value doesn’t compare to his on-field production over his career. If I had to create a list of guys who will regress considerably in 2008, Byrnes is definitely in the top 5.

    With that said, I think Fukudome could very well match what Byrnes did this year (minus the SBs). Depending upon where he goes, he might be even better.

    If what Nick said about him possibly going to Petco, his offensive value obviously goes down. But if the scouting report on his range prove correct, his defensive value should be boosted.

  4. I heard Steve Stone talking about this guy yesterday, he echoed a great deal of what you have here. He seems to feel the guy will be an above average corner outfielder with decent power and he bats from the left side of the plate. He would definitely fit in perfectly in right for the Cubs and it sounds like they are interested. They can afford him and are always looking for new avenues to market their team. The only problem for them is the fact that ownership is preparing to sell the club.

  5. Sarah Green says:

    Melissa, I don’t think the Cubs would be as hesitant to spend $40 mill as they would be to sign A-Rod and drop $300 mill. It’s true that the uncertainty about the club’s future ownership affects them, but I don’t think it would be a deal-breaker in this case.

  6. Sarah,
    I definitely don’t think Fukudome’s salary will be a problem for the Cubs if he wants to come to Chicago. They definitely need a left-handed bat in the outfield more than another right handed power hitter. After over-spending for Soriano last year and the pending change in ownership A-Rod is probably not a consideration for them.

  7. Paul Moro says:

    I don’t know, Coley. Maybe you’re buying into the spin. Maybe you’ve OVERestimated Boras… Or you’ve just estimated him. Does that work? Can I say that?

  8. Sarah Green says:

    Coley, I think you might be barking up the wrong tree, here. That article is all speculation and conspiracy theory. I preferred the following piece, from that bastion of journalistic integrity, The Onion:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/slow_month_in_baseball_saved_by_a

  9. But that\’s the thing! We all assumed that Boras announced A-Rod\’s decision during the World Series b/c he wanted to steal the headlines. This article simply offers some alternative speculation.

  10. This reminds me of reading other conspiracy theories that are so tantalizing they may actually be true. . .but I’m not one to question his noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Maybe someone else can help me with the math, but the Dodgers contract works out to 256 million over 8 years. A) That is ridiculous, b) that’s roughly 10% more than the contract New York already offered him, correct? 230 million for 8 more years (technically an extension of his current deal).

    If you loved where you were, got paid great money, would you take an extra 10% to go to a completely new place?

    I think Gordon makes an excellent point, but his basic assumption is flawed. A-Rod does not care about being a Yankee. He does care that the Yankees have the highest payroll in MLB, and should therefore be able to pay him ungodly amounts of money. His current behavior is consistent with the past. A-Rod is still all about the Wilsons.

    (Wilsons being $100k bills printed by the Treasury. Largest ever.)

  11. Nick Kapur says:

    I think it’s completely the opposite of what Gordon is saying. I think A-Rod *doesn’t* want to be a Yankee.

    Basically, the Yankees were asking A-Rod for a “hometown discount” – ie forgo possible more money for the privilege of being a Yankee. And if everything had gone swimmingly in New York from day one til now, I think he might have considered it.

    But with the way he was treated in that town, by those fans and that media – the scorn, the scrutiny, all the articles saying how the Yankees could do better with Scott Brosius at third – I think in the end he just said “Fuck it, why should I take less money for these idiots?” and declared free agency, which was completely his right under his contract.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    I agree with Nick, except that I still think it was scummy of A-Rod to say all that crap about how he wanted to stay in New York and then just up and leave. Fine, opt out, take the money and run, but don’t lie, man. That’s not cool.

  13. I think what Gordon is saying is that the Yankees, b/c they are the Yankees, don’t get to ask for a hometown discount. If the Dodgers say they can afford to pay A-Rod $300 million, how can the Yankees cry poverty? They’re the Yankees! They have more money than any other team! If the Dodgers can afford A-Rod, than the Yankees surely can.

    Sarah, you say A-Rod lied about wanting to stay in New York. I don’t think he lied. I think he still wants to stay in New York. He’s just committed to getting paid what he’s worth and, while the Yankees offer was huge, it was likely far short of what other teams will pay.

  14. I’ve read the article three times now. Either I’m a total idiot and don’t understand or Gordon is talking out of his ass. This still wreaks of a guy taking the counterargument just for fun, not because he thinks it’s true. There’s no other reason to think this.

    Look, the Yankees will not look cheap for not paying A-Rod $32 over six. They’ll look smart. Because quite frankly, there’s just no way that any player is worth this much. He may be the best, but he’s not so much better that he deserves a salary that could net them two All-Stars. And his argument involving the Girardi announcement makes no sense either because we all knew by that point who the Yankees were picking.

    Plus, I find the whole “look how much money he’ll bring in” thing proposterous. He’s among the least likable guys in the league. I don’t know anyone who goes to a baseball game specifically to see A-Rod. I don’t know anyone who changes the channel to the YES Network because “A-Rod’s on deck”. I simply do not get it.

  15. Sarah Green says:

    Indeed, the entire article sounds like that scene in “The Princess Bride” where that short, evil guy is trying to make the Man in Black drink the poisoned goblet. I mean, maybe Boras only made A-Rod opt out then so we would *think* he was a douchebag, knowing that we would then second guess ourselves because obviously Boras is a genius and why would he do something so stupid, which would then lead us to conclude that A-Rod is in fact *not* a douchebag, even though he really is a douchebag and that’s why Boras instigated this whole crazy scheme anyway? Huh? Yeah! How about THAT?!

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