Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Zen of Scott Boras: "When you're the thermometer, you're not the turkey."

As MLB's winter meetings continue, trouserless on Zoom, the LA Times profiles super-agent Scott Boras, 68, son of a dairy farmer, who supposedly used to birth the scariest words an owner could hear, seemingly yanked from an ambulance chaser TV commercial: "He's being repped by Scott Boras!"

In a time when agents become GMs and rappers become agents, who knows where truth and fiction intersect? In their elaborate mating dances, greedy owners plead poverty while greedy agents shout about social justice, and at the quantum level, their kids attend the same private academy. It's money, the closest thing to magic that humanity ever made. 

A friend of mine used to sum up all human interaction this way: "Tens screw tens, nines screw nines, eights screw eights, and so on. The missing factor - which allows, say, a three to screw a ten, is money." 

That's where Boras comes in. 

In the profile, Boras offers a bizarre analogy that laps my cognitive capabilities. (I'm still recovering from the Joe Namath Medicare Hot-Line commercials, where he shouts, "Call now! IT'S FREE!" as if long-distance rates from 1975 remain in effect.)  Boras says: 

“When you’re the thermometer, you’re not the turkey. We put the thermometer in, and the turkey tells us when it is done. That’s kind of how the winter meetings work. Sometimes the turkey is done rather quickly, because the heat is high early. If the temperature is low, then obviously the turkey takes longer to cook.”

If anybody can interpret this, go for it. I never went to law school, but I did once stay at a Holiday Inn Express, so here's my take: 

Out there in California, Boras smokes some damn primo ganja, and one part of his soul is still riding the Further bus with Kesey and Cassidy. (Didn't Kesey say he'd rather be a lightning bolt than a seismic needle?)  Far out, man. 

Elsewhere in the article, Boras maintains that - contrary to the sing-song consensus of loyal Gammonites - MLB owners did NOT lose money last year. 

Although commissioner Rob Manfred has said the 30 MLB teams lost $3 billion this season, and although Dodgers president Stan Kasten has said his team lost “well north of $100 million,” Boras said teams collected postseason national television and in-season local television revenue while paying 37% of salaries in the pandemic-shortened schedule.

Says Boras: "There's no team in baseball that lost money last year."

These days, as we've painfully learned, anybody can say anything. All you need is a cable network, and Hal Steinbrenner has one. In fact, Hal's greatest superpower is not his money; it's his ability to poor-mouth. He's better than those ads with the shivering puppies. The conventional wisdom says the pandemic cost the Yankees more money than any other franchise. Thus, we should show a little gratitude; be thankful for whatever shekels that Generous Hal tosses our way.

Well, here's what I think I know: 

The Yanks will make a Joggy Cano-style run at keeping DJ LeMahieu. But they won't outbid the rest of baseball. They'll hike to a certain precipice and then turn back. Supposedly, LeMahiue wants to stay a Yankee. The question: How much would he leave on the table to make that happen? 

If LeMahieu walks, the Yankees will go to Plan B. (I'm sure they have one.) My guess: They'd re-sign Masahiro Tanaka, and find a defensive SS and a lefty bat. (Or one, in the form of Didi.) So... the remaining questions: Who will be the turkey? And where does the thermometer go?


Anonymous said...

As a young man I revered Plato, Socrates, Kant, St. Thomas Aquinas, but now I bow to your friend who, in only a few words, encapsulated the human condition as truthfully as I have ever read. It was so good, I could not ever finish the blog.
I bow to your magnificence kind sir.
The Archangel

13bit said...

This piece is brilliant, Duque.


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Anonymous said...

A few things...

1) Revenues

It is possible for the owners to have both lost money and not lost money.

If they were due to make their usual income of say, Four Billion Dollars and only brought in One Billion, then they get to say that they lost Three Billion (in revenue).

If you look at operating expenses vs. income as the measure of profitability then the remaining One Billion Dollars was probably more than enough to cover and therefore there is no actual loss.

In Conclusion - MLB is full of shit. Sign DJ.

2) Joe Willie

"I'm still recovering from the Joe Namath Medicare Hot-Line commercials, where he shouts, "Call now! IT'S FREE!" as if long-distance rates from 1975 remain in effect.)"

I never noticed that. Thanks for pointing it out. That's great.

3) I'd Rather Be A Hammer Than A Nail

Yes, I would If I only could I surely would.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

One last thing...

The Rule 5 draft is over and of the 16 players taken 3 were Yankees. So as much as we complain about our farm (and I think it was Archie that pointed out we might be wrong) that's a pretty big pct.

So to anyone that knows, how painful is this?

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

Sorry should have put the names in.

Kyle Holder
Garret Whitlock
Trevor Stephan

Doug K.

TheWinWarblist said...

Huh? Wha?

el duque said...

It shows the Yankees farm system is deep, but not so deep that the players they lost were tradeable, in advance of the draft.

But I hate to see Holder go. I always thought his glove would guarantee him a slot, one of these days.

Scottish Yankee fan said...

I remember reading a scout when we signed Holder that he thought he was a good enough fielder already to play in the big leagues it was just a matter of he could improve his batting enough to get there.

All the prospect sites I have read have been saying he was improving but at I think 26 he should have forced his way into the reckoning by now.

Guess we will see probably as seems with all rule 5 they all seem to end up coming back

HoraceClarke66 said...

Very true all around, guys. I remember that I started running the actual numbers years ago. Just from looking at the attendance, the splits of the national TV money, etc., you can see how it's almost impossible that any team ever loses money.

The way they make that claim is always some transparent sleight-of-hand: 'Well, sure, you COULD say the Yankees made money, if you're going to count that television network they own!'

No, not making all the money you were counting on does not equal "losing money."

Anonymous said...

This year, will money supposedly tight, we might not get any Rule 5 back cuz they can keep them at the MLB minimum . The pitchers can be stashed as the last bullpen piece for blowouts. Holder may have learned 2B along the way and Girardi definitely knows him. I think all of this may mean that Yanks like their lower level arms and middle INF enough to protect them and let these "older" guys go. We won't know how this all plays out until the 2022 season and see where the younger 40 man guys are.
The Archangel

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