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Scott Boras tries to spin the Damon situation. And fails.

Jan 28, 2010, 9:30 AM EDT

In the wake of the Yankees doing the moonwalk from Johnny Damon and signing Randy Winn, Scott Boras is trying to spin, but he’s doing a bad job of it.  First Boras:

“The Yankees never even made an offer to me regarding Johnny Damon
during the entire process, and the reason for that is they had
budgetary constraints.”

Um, Scott, that’s not what your client said last month:

Damon said in a text message Friday that the Yankees had offered two
years and $14 million, while he had offered to return for two years and
$20 million. That was true, a Yankees official confirmed.

Confronted with that inconsistency, Boras says “that it was not an offer, because the Yankees told him they needed to hear from Johnson first.”

Which smells like high-grade horse manure.  I mean, really, why on Earth would the Yankees make a non-offer, or whatever Boras wants to call it, to Damon while they were still waiting to hear from Johnson?  Damon thinks it was an offer. The Yankees think it was an offer. The only one who doesn’t think it was an offer is Boras, who right now is the one running for cover.

My suspicion is that what really happened was that (1) the Yankees offered Damon $14 million; (2) Boras rejected it and (3) the Yankees moved on to Nick Johnson, possibly telling Boras that they’d talk again if Johnson got away, but by no means holding some contingent whatever-it-was open in the interim.  This seems to be borne out by Brian Cashman’s account: “On Dec. 17, Scott’s exact words were that he would not take a penny
less than $13 million a year for two years. We believed
him.”  Nick Johnson signed on December 18th.

Rosenthal read today’s Times story and sums it up pretty succinctly: “There is simply no excuse for a player of this quality to be in such a compromised position.”  I agree. That player was compromised by an agent’s spectacular failure to understand his client’s market.  

  1. tafka(sic) - Jan 28, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    I dont think that Boras misunderstood his client’s market. I think he understood it just fine. I just think his main focus was getting Holliday signed to an incredibly lucrative (for MH and SB) long-term deal, and that he was fine to let Damon twist in the wind in the meantime.
    Which is, of course, a breach of his duty and a clear conflict of interest. I’d probably want a new agent if I was Damon.

  2. Jonny5 - Jan 28, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    “That player was compromised by an agent’s spectacular failure to understand his client’s market.”
    The player was comprimised by his agents outlandish ego and assumption that the Yankees would pay top dollar for Damon, which they obviously were not. Coupled with his lack of effort towards Damons contract as he pushed larger contracts in the most critical time of the season. Once the flurry to resign good players ended and the dust settled there was an obvious overabundance of good to middlin’ OF in the market still looking for work. I think many teams cooled their heels once they saw this. Now here’s Damon who can’t get the money he deserves because of his Agents gross negligence on his part. If Damon doesn’t can Boras he’s a mental midget.

  3. Charles Gates - Jan 28, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Craig, do you have any agent sources? Does JD, or another player, typcially have any ability to say to his agent, “You really effed up,” and get some type of restitution without going through the courts?
    Using the best legal data at my disposal I find:
    Once it is established that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff/claimant, the matter of whether or not that duty was breached must be settled. The test is both subjective and objective. The defendant who knowingly (subjective) exposes the plaintiff/claimant to a substantial risk of loss, breaches that duty. The defendant who fails to realize the substantial risk of loss to the plaintiff/claimant, which any reasonable person [objective] in the same situation would clearly have realized, also breaches that duty.
    I would imagine that the Damon/Boras agreement insulates Boras from this type of claim, and that it would state that they were acting in good faith together…meaning that Damon can’t be both the plaintiff and defendant…?

  4. Alex K - Jan 28, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    I get the Boras bashing, but Damon is the one who is really at fault. Yeah, Boras had a role in the drama (most likely a large one), but Damon could have accepted any offer he was given. The final responsibility has to go to Damon.
    I get that Boras most likely advised Damon that he could get more money from somewhere else. I also agree that it is his fault he misread the market. But, I refuse to believe that we shouldn’t hold Johnny Damon accountable for what happened to him. Not everything is the agents fault.

  5. Alex K - Jan 28, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    To go along with my last comment…..
    The only way I will not give at least half the blame (probably a little more) to Damon is if he wasn’t advised of offers that he received. I don’t think anyone is saying that is the case though.
    All this isn’t to say I think Boras did a good or even acceptable job as Damon’s agent. He still screwed the pooch on this one.

  6. Fast Eddy - Jan 28, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    Watch the other hand. It is an old carnival trick to make you think it is magic. He is looking at other teams not included in any of these blogs. I don’t feel Det. or Atl. is interested. I don’t think Cincy is a good spot for him. A good match is St. Louis if they can get him cheap (2-3 Mil-with some incentives) for one year. Anyone who pays him more is NUTS! He will not deliver more than that salary.

  7. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 28, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    Several baseball people say they believe Cashman became furious with Boras’ negotiating tactics, with one person close to the situation saying he once heard the GM screaming at Boras via his cell phone.
    “Hey, we’ve all been there with Scott,” a major league executive said Wednesday. “As hard as it is sometimes, you just can’t let it get personal.”
    Read more:

  8. BC - Jan 28, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    EPIC FAIL!!!!!!!!!

  9. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 28, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    Johnny heard the same talk as we did, he has admitted he contacted Cash, Levine and Hal and knew there was a budget.From the daily news,The Yankees would have taken Damon back for the money they’re spending on Winn, but Damon said he “did not want to start a trend for players 36 and older. I’m still in better shape than most of the league, if not still the top 1 or 2%. I can still run fast, can still hit home runs, still do great things.”
    I like Damon and I think this will be a BIG LOSS for the Yankees but he could have done a A-Rod and did his own dealing and they would have respected him, they like him they know his value.
    Read more:

  10. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 28, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    Toward the end of last season, Damon talked about how much he wanted to return to the Yankees. But he says he has no regrets about how the winter has gone. “Not at all,” he said. “I know I’m going to perform and I’m going to play hard, play hurt, be a great guy in the clubhouse for whatever team I’m on. Who knows, maybe in the future I can come back. If the team I sign with is not in the race, maybe New York can spend that money on a player like me on July 31st (the trading deadline).”
    Read more:

  11. Voice of Reason - Jan 28, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Finally a team steps up and puts BorA.S.S. in his place….bluff called…too bad for Johnny….Teams should NOT even nogotiate with BorA.S.S. clients..,Scotty has been the worst thing to happen to MLB since they implemented the DH….LMAO….

  12. Voice of Reason - Jan 28, 2010 at 11:38 AM


  13. Charles Gates - Jan 28, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Scott Boras is perhaps the best example of the players’ ability to stand up to owner collusion and earn what a free market says they’re worth.
    You can say you personally don’t like his tactics, but the alternative is the indentured servant system of baseball’s ‘golden years.’

  14. gimpyviper - Jan 28, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    This is primarily Damon’s screw up with a ginormous assist to Boras and a push from Cashman.
    Damon wasn’t going to “leave any money on the table” which translated into his ludicrous initial demand for a repeat of his 4 x 13 contract and Scott Boras’ beyond stupid comment that Damon has the same value as Jeter.
    I definitely beyond a shadow of a doubt think Boras was negligent. His comment that ‘now I’m going to focus on Damon’ after Holliday was signed is as much as admission to the fact.
    This is sad because it’s a complete lose-lose situation. No one wins from this at all. Also to Hal Steinbrenner… F-U you cheap b—— you’re out of your stinking mind if you think the payroll will stay under 200 M. I GUARANTEE you the “budget” will not be under 200M by August 1st. What difference if you break it now or then, especially when you can get such a better bat than Johnson/Winn?? You want the budget to stay under 200, you should have set it at 185-190 NOW, b/c come July 31st everything is out the window unless you’re blowing out the Sox by 10+ games, which you won’t be.
    This Randy Winn signing is going to be borderline useless. The only bat the Yanks signed worse was Tony Womack. As a friend of mine said, the wind is strong enough in Yankee Stadium without Winn’s Whiffs.
    Johnson is NO replacement for Damon. Sure he’ll be healthier as a DH but on the base paths he’s only faster than Molina and Giambi.
    Damon gets chump change to play elsewhere now. Boras gets 10% of that chump change. Don’t get me wrong, Yanks overall aren’t gonna have offense problems but they sure would have fewer potential offensive problems if they had just ponied up some more dough and Johnny was willing to accept the 6M w/3 deferred.

  15. da Butz - Jan 28, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    As Yogi said “It ain’t over till it’s over”. The Yankees can still sign Damon, $2 Mil for Winn is pocket change, won’t make a difference if Johnny asks to come back, hat in hand, like A-Rod did a few years back. Also, Cashman will NOT start the season with Gardner/Winn in left field, you can bet the house on that !

  16. ecp - Jan 28, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    What do you want to bet that Boras will find a way to spin this as collusion by GMs against Damon? And then the union will file a grievance on his behalf.

  17. JohnnyC - Jan 28, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    This is about the Yankees making a good move. Why pay $10m a year for someone when you can pay $2m for similar player stats? Boras is right, this is about budget issues. I’d like to see more of this. The Yankee’s have to realize at some point that their World Series wins will always be followed by “thats what happens when you spend like they do”. New York has its victories, but do they realize all the rest of us scoff at it…

  18. DiamondDuq - Jan 28, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    When are players going to wise-up and drop this idiot? He just pulled an epic fail with Damon and almost did the same with A-Rod before A-Rod essentially said “screw this guy I’ll do this myself” to fix things with the Yankees. Teams already shy away from his clients and refuse to draft players he represents. He has made a lot of money for a lot of players, not to mention himself, but his ego has gotten so big that he is now doing as much, if not more, harm than good for his players. He’s a joke!

  19. Talex - Jan 28, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    What Cashman did, sticking to his guns on Damon, was brilliant. Last year the Yankees got by with 3 real starting pitchers. Now they’ll have 4 and you’ll probably see Hughes as #5 like he should be. With 5 legit starters, Joba in the bullpen, and an offense that basically has Granderson replacing Damon and Gardiner replacing Melky, they’ll be terrific!
    Second, when you have Swisher, Pettite, Vazquez, Gaudin, and Mitre coming off the books for $36 million after 2010, you can then go after Carl Crawford and/or Cliff Lee. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have Crawford and Lee than a fading Johnny Damon and Javier Vazquez.
    And if the Yankees need another bat (or two) at the trade deadline you can basically pick up what you need, even a Johnny Damon, let’s say, for a bag of balls, 50k, and picking up the remaining salary of that player.

  20. Macfly - Jan 28, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Wonder what kind of profit the yankees made last year. complaining about a player asking for 10 million is kind of silly when you see the money that team makes already. Now no one can doubt that Damon had a great year last year and 2 years is nothing in this league. Boras is playing the game. He is not good for baseball but its been about money for a long time now and he happens to play that game better than most.

  21. BaseballFan2 - Jan 28, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    I think Boras is a cancer even though somebody on this website recently wrote that he was good for the game (I think it was Blyleven). That aside, this is really Damon’s fault. He chose Boras and he knew what he was getting with that. He let Boras inflate his ego and feed his greed to the point where he can no longer realistically assess himself as a player. Damon made his money already in his career, and at this point he gets to play for pride and for legacy. Good luck in Tampa Bay Johnny. You choose poorly.

  22. Sam Farnell - Jan 28, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Sad! Damon allowed Boras to play games with his career. With the way Damon was performing with the Yankees he could been in a postion to be considered for the Hall of Fame. Now that is very doubtful. He will not produce the same stats someplace else. If he ends up in Oakland I can see him out of baseball within a couple of seasons or just hanging on with someone. I can not believe that Damon would allow Boras to basically use him as a pawn.

  23. alan p - Jan 28, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Does anyone know what Boras actually makes when he completes a deal for one of his clients? Does it vary? Is it public knowledge?

  24. bh0673 - Jan 28, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    I think Boras did play his card wrong, I really think he believed the Yankees would pay to get him back, but I do think the Yankees are looking to next year and I am sure Crawford will be in their sights. But lets go back a few years when Boras pulled that stunt
    with A-Rod during the World Series and had A-ROd file for free agency only to find the Yankees not jumping to resign him.

  25. riscifiguy - Jan 28, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Too bad players like Tek and Johnny have to pay for Bore-ass’s ego!

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