Earlier in the week, MLB agent Scott Boras decided to make a claim about the competitiveness of Major League Baseball. He claimed that the weak teams in the division were “cancer” to the league. He also failed to mention that he is one of the biggest reasons teams can’t compete
As an agent, Boras is required to demand the most money he can for his prospects, and he excels at this. No agent excels at their job quite like Boras does, but that success hurts the league more than it helps.
While we have seen teams like the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays make it to October or, at the very least, provide a push late into September, the fact is that this is rare. Every year, low budget teams are hoping their team can pull off a miracle run, rather than expecting it.
It is no secret the best teams in the league are often the teams with the highest payroll. Take a look at the previous season: The Red Sox had the highest payroll in the MLB and what did they do? They just won the World Series, that’s all.
The Dodgers, Yankees and Cubs are other teams that generally command the highest payroll — more teams that are in October baseball rather than are missing it. The San Francisco Giants are another team, winning three World Series already this decade.
The Actual Hurt
Boras’ comment does much more harm to the league than it does help. The content of his comment holds some truth. It’s never good for any sport when teams give up before they even start. But how are teams with almost no payroll supposed to compete with teams that can just shell out money whenever they feel like it?
This offseason, the Cubs and Giants are the expected frontrunners for Bryce Harper and the Phillies, Yankees and Dodgers are expected to be the best looks for Manny Machado. The Reds, Rays and A’s? Good joke. Those teams have less than a one percent chance to sign them. In fact, if there is a percentage below zero, that is the chance they should be given.
So tell me, Scott Boras, how these non-competitive teams are “cancer” to the league when you continuously push for players to make money that is, without a doubt, out of these teams proven range?
The Effect In Cincinnati
The Reds have been expected to finish in last since Johnny Cueto dropped the ball in the 2013 playoffs. They have not had a competitive bone in their body because they cannot afford to have one. Bob Castellini finally agreed to spend more money, but that money still will not come close to the money the major markets will give to keep their team competitive.
The Reds will pay for one big player — fingers crossed for Patrick Corbin — but will have to hope their homegrown players, or the prospects they traded household names for, will finally reach their potential. That is their only hope of competing in a top notch division.
This should not be looked at as a team that is phoning it in, but rather as a team that understands the basic economics of baseball and is playing the only way it can afford to. According to Boras, this hurts the league. If Boras actually cared about the league instead of the money in his wallet, he would not try to acquire such ludicrous contracts for his clients.
His job is to make as much money as possible, but with that knowledge, he shouldn’t attack the league he is claiming to help thrive. Money is the motive for many jobs, but if making more money causes pain to the league, he shouldn’t call it out when he is the biggest offender.
There are no problems with the job Boras is doing because the goal is simple: maximize profit. It is just frustrating how he attempts to damage the league he thinks he is helping. Teams playing smart will never be “cancer” to the sport. Teams understanding they can’t afford to compete every year is part of the strategy for the small markets. No one in Oakland wants to see their team fold it in. No one in Washington/Montreal wanted to fold, but they see names like Bryce Harper in the draft, and they see their payroll and they understand he is their best bet to be competitive soon.
Scoot Boras, the problem is not that teams do not want to compete. The problem is you.
“From Our Haus to Yours”