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When it comes to rookies and long term deals, there is risk in taking one too

May 13, 2011, 10:33 AM EDT

Boras thinking

Buster Olney weighed in on Scott Boras’ comments from yesterday, om which Boras seemed to downplay the likelihood of a long term deal for Eric Hosmer. Here’s Buster:

Scott Boras will advise against Eric Hosmer working out a longterm deal right now. Because, after all, what person in their early 20s would ever want to guarantee themselves tens of millions of dollars? The advice belongs to Boras. The risk falls entirely in the lap of Eric Hosmer.

I get what Olney is saying, but he’s leaving something out: that there’s risk in Hosmer taking a long term deal at this point too. The risk that he will leave tens of millions of dollars on the table.  Just ask Evan Longoria.  Yes, he was guaranteed tens of millions of dollars in his early 20s, but he also will wake up one day and realize that he gave away $50 million. And he didn’t give it to Ronald McDonald House or the United Way. He gave it to the Tampa Bay Rays. And actually, I bet he woke up already with that realization.

Security is important. But if you’re Eric Hosmer — and Scott Boras — you don’t simply jump at any deal because of base level security. That’s what insurance is for.  You make an early deal only if it’s the right deal.  And I don’t take Scott Boras’ comments yesterday in which he talked about market value and the changes in the business landscape of baseball as slamming the door closed. I take them as trying to create the groundwork for the right deal, if there is one to be had. Which, by the way, is his job.

We understandably downplay the  risk of someone signing a bad big contract when they’re young because, sure, the difference between being broke and having, say, $50 million is way more stark than the risk of having $50 million vs. $100 million.  But that’s still risk. And it’s risk that Eric Hosmer hired Scott Boras to help him manage. So who are we to begrudge him managing it?

  1. banksatdixie - May 13, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Well put, Craig. Its not like Boras clients are struggling to put food on the table anyways.

    • Alex K - May 13, 2011 at 10:44 AM

      It’s not like any MLB player is struggling to put food on the table.

      • The Dangerous Mabry - May 13, 2011 at 10:54 AM

        With the size of his meals, there’s a fair chance C.C. struggles to get his food to the table. But I guess that’s different.

      • banksatdixie - May 13, 2011 at 10:56 AM

        At least you understood the usage of the phrase.

  2. heyblueyoustink - May 13, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    This is all irrelevant, as we all know, the end of the world is about a week away.

    • CJ - May 13, 2011 at 11:58 AM

      In the event you are not being sarcastic and are so sure, please sign all your stuff over to me effective the following business day (the 23rd).

      • heyblueyoustink - May 13, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        Just in case you want your brain to hurt:

        And if I believed in that, you should be selling me bridges my friend……

        Though, the benefit of liquor stores, tobacco shops, and pharmacies being unmanned has it merits 😉

  3. Detroit Michael - May 13, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    I don’t know of any insurance that can protect Hosmer from not developing his future earnings power as we might now expect. There may be some insurance to protect him from injuries, not just general downturn in performance, but I don’t know how widely used it is for players to purchase that insurance, which I imagine would be quite expensive. If you know more about how Hosmer could buy insurance to eliminate much of the risk, let us know.

    If not, then there really does seem to be significant reason to get the first $30M of career earnings in the bank before one’s priority shifts to maximizing expected earnings.

  4. nps6724 - May 13, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    But you know, it’s easy for Boras to say “Let’s wait on a deal”. He’s already rich. This kid could go the way of Jeff Francoeur (great rookie year, all downhill after that) or he could be hit by injuries and never get that payday.

  5. genericcommenter - May 13, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    There are also a lot of young guys who start off strong and then end up completely sucking by their late 20s. What is the percentage of young can’t miss guys that actually reach their potential or put together more than a few above average seasons? Very low. There are risks all around. I think I’d rather have the security from a long ( but not too long) contract, outperform it, then sign more big contracts. If I don’t have an opportunity to sign more big contracts, I probably didn’t perform up to the standards of the existing one. So I’m ahead.

  6. dbs13 - May 13, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    While Hosmer may make more money if he waits to sign a long-term deal, I think “risk” is not even close to the right word here. If he signs early for $50 million, he is set for life — no risk there. Even if he never gets that additional $50 million, what has he really lost?

  7. thefalcon123 - May 13, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Would you have locked up baseball America’s #1 Prospect. A minor league player of the year during his rookie season when he struck out 10 batters per nine innings and boasted a 134 ERA+ in 175 innings? A player with some of the filthiest pitches you’d ever seen an he was only 20 years old?

    Well, you would have locked up Rick Ankiel in 2000. Perhaps that should be a warning to at least wait a little bit before locking someone up. The Royals should be in no rush. He’s not going anywhere this year or next.

    • uberfatty - May 13, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      The comparison doesn’t hold between pitchers and hitters though. Hitting prospects, especially those with great plate discipline, are much more likely to reach their potential than pitchers. I think I read something about this onFanGraphs last year. Which is why most of these long term contracts locking up players (Longoria, Braun spring to mind) are for hitters. Not to mention the injury risk for pitchers.

  8. stackers1 - May 13, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Has anyone from the Royals said anything about giving him a long term deal yet? To me it’s all moot until they make an offer. If they have, I stand corrected, but c’mon – the guy has only been in the majors for like 4 days now.

    • natstowngreg - May 13, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      Exactly. Wait a couple of years, after he’s accomplished something and before he becomes arbitration-eligible.

  9. tmohr - May 13, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    “…he (Longoria) also will wake up one day and realize that he gave away $50 million”

    That would buy Evan a lot of AK-47s. Whatever was he thinking?

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