Boras attempts to Intervene in MLB Proposal to Return to Action
The major league baseball season was scheduled to get underway on March 26 before the COVID-19 pandemic led to that being postponed. Now, two months later, when we should be around the one-third mark of the season, the league is yet to play its first game. In reality, there is growing concern that the season may never get off the ground. After the owners presented a proposal that was centered around a sliding pay scale cut where guys making at least $20 million a year would receive 20 percent of their salary while guys making under $1 million would get 72.5 percent of their numbers, the players, predictably, revolted.
Details from a potential counterproposal from the MLB Players Association leaked on Wednesday. Under that concept, the players are seeking to lengthen the schedule from the 82-game slate that the owners have proposed. The expectation is that the players are looking to play more than 100 games and, as such, improve their bottom line as the more games that take place, the bigger cut of their pro-rated salary that they would receive. In addition, the MLBPA has made it clear that they have no interest in taking additional pay cuts. Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, who is part of the executive committee of the MLBPA, said this in his statement:
"After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there's no need to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions.”
Now, throw agent Scott Boras into the mix. The pompous agent to some of baseball’s biggest stars, Boras felt compelled to throw his two cents into the mix, telling players not to “bail out the owners” by agreeing to pay cuts. In a letter written to his clients, Boras, who represents 71 players around the majors, had the following to say:
“Remember, games cannot be played without you. Players should not agree to further pay cuts to bail out the owners. Let owners take some of their record revenues and profits from the past several years and pay you the prorated salaries you agreed to accept or let them borrow against the asset values they created from the use of those profits players generated."
Boras is a polarizing individual in the sports world as it stands in the best of times. His players signed contracts worth an estimated $1.2 BILLION in free agency last season. After all, he represents guys like Scherzer, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, Kris Bryant, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. among others. He got Chris Davis a seven-year deal worth $161 million for a guy that has been abysmal in the last few seasons. Boras is going to try and ensure that his clients get as much as possible this season, much as he would in free agency.
The problem for Boras is that, while he represents 71 players in major league baseball, is that there are more than 10 times that many guys playing in the majors on any given day. For that matter, there are guys who don’t like him at all, finding him to be an arrogant, pompous blowhard who makes it tougher for them to negotiate for their worth given the contentious negotiations and absurd dollar figures that he tries to extract from teams. Former Indians and current Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer spoke out about the purported Boras memo on Twitter. He said “Hearing a LOT of rumors about a certain player agent meddling in MLBPA affairs. If true — and at this point, these are only rumors — I have one thing to say... Scott Boras, rep your clients however you want to, but keep your damn personal agenda out of union business.”
It’s going to be interesting to see how, or if, things unfold in the coming days as the two sides try to come to an agreement that would salvage the season. While fans have the KBO and the CPBL, plus the potential return of the NPB next month, nothing draws in the interest of fans in North America like major league baseball. Being able to root for their favorite team and players will lead to increased ratings and help the world forget, at least for a few hours, how disrupted their lives have been in the last few months.