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No. 6 pick Albert Almora and agent Scott Boras are already making life difficult for Cubs

Jun 6, 2012, 12:16 PM EST

Boras sulking AP

MLB’s new slotting system for draft pick signing bonuses seemingly doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for the negotiating shenanigans of past years, but leave it to Scott Boras to show otherwise.

Sixth overall pick Albert Amora hasn’t officially signed with an agent yet, but he’s being “advised” by Boras and predictably they’ve already made it known that he won’t sign with the Cubs for the $3.25 million slot bonus for where he was picked:

My main priority now is college. I just graduated high school and I have a full scholarship to the University of Miami, and that’s all I’m looking forward to right now.

But we’ll have to see what happens when it’s time. I’m ready to play in the major leagues. In my mind right now, I trust my opinions and I know what I can do on the field. That’s not the priority right now. The priority right now is we have to let the process play out and let the cards fall where they have to fall.

Obviously the Cubs wouldn’t have drafted Almora with the sixth overall pick if they truly felt he was headed to college, but the 18-year-old outfielder from Florida is trying to use whatever leverage he has to get a bigger chunk of the team’s overall bonus allotment of $7.9 million.

That money is supposed to cover all of the Cubs’ draft picks, not just Almora, but they could potentially give him more than the $3.25 million set aside for the No. 6 pick and then find a way to pinch pennies with other players.

One nice thing about the changes to the draft process is that the new signing deadline is mid-July, rather than mid-August, so the negotiations can only drag on for a month.

  1. metalhead65 - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I hope if he does not sign the cubs draft him again next year and offer him less money.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:37 PM

      He’s a high school senior, so he won’t be eligible for the draft again until he’s a junior, or depending on his age, a sophomore. Anyhow, you need the players permission to draft them again.

      • metalhead65 - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        Thank you and jwiii as I did not know that. that is almost as good then.get rich now or maybe later. wonder if boras will pay him the 3.25 million should he have Tommy John surgery or some other injury while in college? I hate the cubs but hope they do not cave to this kid and boras.

    • jwbiii - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      The Cubs could only draft him again next year if he went to a JUCO, like Miami-Dade CC.

  2. astrosfan75956 - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    One of the many reasons I hate the MLB draft. Make the players declare of their going pro like all of the other sports. I hate the signability issue of the MLB draft.

    • drunkenhooliganism - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      You may have a good point about the top ten or even fifty guys, but there are a lot of players who truly don’t know their draft value. Should a 25th rounder really have to give up his college options to have even less leverage?

      Now it’s take this $5000 signing bonus or go to college. If he had to declare for the draft, it would be more like pay us $5000 in order for us to allow you into the minor leagues.

      I don’t think the teams need any more power over the non-major leaguers than they already have.

  3. thomas2727 - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I always think of Matt Harrington when Boras starts spewing his garbage.

    Have fun in college kid. The offer may be $300k next year.

    • madhatternalice - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Yes, have fun earning a degree to help support your life when you retire :)

      • istillbelieveinblue - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        John Calipari thinks that is the funniest thing he has ever read. :P

      • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:21 PM

        Yes because everyone knows once you go pro you’re never allowed into to an institution of higher learning. I have a feeling the U will be around longer than his playing days.

      • El Jefe - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        You realize that $3.25 million is more than I currently make even if you pro-rate it over 60 years? Hell, I’d take that money.

      • crackersnap - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:45 PM

        Yeah. Get a degree in law, for example. From a private university. Walk away with $200,000 in non-forgivable debt and zero job prospects. Maybe Boras will hire you instead of the other way around, as an intern or something.

      • kcfanatic - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:56 AM

        With a 3.25 million signing bonus plus more money on the way, the kid doesn’t need to worry about getting a degree to support life when he retires. FYI, some of these kids even have clauses in their contracts saying that the team will also pay for their college over the next 5-10 years.

  4. madhatternalice - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Genuine Question: Why do we think it’s because of money? Reading that quote, I don’t understand how it can be solely interpreted to mean “I want more money or I’m going to college.” I went back to the original article, hoping for more info, but there isn’t any.

    Student athletes don’t “declare” for the MLB draft, and they have every opportunity/right to choose to play college ball instead of signing. So, again, I have to ask…why do we think this is about making more money?

    • drunkenhooliganism - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      When has it ever not been about the money?

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Beause its Scott Boras and the college thing is the only way to leverage more money for these guys.

    • saints97 - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Let’s say Apple, or some such company, offered the Valedictorian of a big high school $3.5 million to come work for them for a few years. And if after a few years, the job just wasn’t for him, he gets to keep the money and do whatever he wants, including go to college.

      What idiot would turn down Apple?

      Let’s be very clear. The only reason a guy would turn down millions of dollars now is because he wants more money and he thinks he can get more if he goes to college. He’s not going for the education, and, if he is, he needs to take several economics classes very early in his course load.

      • madhatternalice - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        Are we really that jaded? I’m not saying he’s motivated by money, and I’m not saying he isn’t. And while your example makes some sense (I don’t agree with your conclusion at all, but I think I understand why you think you do), there’s nothing in the article that makes me think it’s about money. It certainly *could* be, but it really just could be, as I said above, a desire to get a degree, or improve his skills, or maybe a self-recognition that his maturity level needs to increase. We just don’t know, and a lack of information shouldn’t equate to a guess.

        I really can’t let the “He’s not going for the education” comment slide, though. Let’s say he signs for $3.25 mil. Then let’s say he never develops into a major league-caliber player (statistics show that this is more likely than him actually succeeding at the major league level). Even if he plays in the minors, or overseas, he’s not going to make nearly the money he’d make at the major league level, affording him precious little to retire on.

        Or maybe he DOES make the big leagues, and during his first season, he’s injured. He loses his velocity. He can’t master the control pitches needed with a slower velocity delivery. He’s eventually DFA’d.

        Maybe you think a college degree isn’t “worth it.” MLB players earn a $34,000 annual pension plan after 43 days of service (I think it jumps after a decade). So, he could take his $3.25 million, and his $34,000 a year, and do…what, exactly? OR, he could go to college, get a degree, and be prepared should something happen and he no longer can play baseball (for whatever reason). Sorry, kid, but for some of us, money isn’t the overriding factor, and it’s silly to ascribe your values to someone else’s actions.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:40 PM

        I think his comments about how he thinks he’s ready for the Majors right now show you that he isn’t interested in college. He doesn’t say anything terrible by any means but most players getting “advised” by Scott Boras have 1 thing in mind and its money.

      • madhatternalice - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        @brewcrewfan54 Whether or not he wants to go to college wasn’t my original point. Here’s the text Gleeman wrote:

        Sixth overall pick Albert Amora hasn’t officially signed with an agent yet, but he’s being “advised” by Boras and predictably they’ve already made it known that he won’t sign with the Cubs for the $3.25 million slot bonus for where he was picked:

        But nowhere does he say, imply or otherwise state that he “won’t sign with the Cubs for the $3.25 million.” Maybe he is trying to raise the price, but that also doesn’t mean he won’t sign for the $3.25.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        The text you quote from Gleeman says they have made it known he wont sign for the slotted price of $3.5 million. So while his statement didn’t say it apparently his camp has made it lnown to somebody that that amount of money is unacceptable

      • term3186 - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:23 PM

        Mad hatter…. Of course it’s about the money. Most of your post doesn’t make sense. You do realize that if he washes out he can just take his 3.5 million/34k and GO TO COLLEGE THEN. It’s not like you can only go to college when you’re 18. They don’t shut the door just because you’re 23 or 24 or 25. Also, fun fact, people with a bachelors degree earn about 1 million more over their lifetime than someone with a highschool diploma, so with 3.5 out of the gate he is already way ahead of the game.

      • kcfanatic - Jun 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM

        I knew guys in the Computer Science Department at the college I went to. Companies were giving these guys from a state school a $60-80k bonus to drop out as juniors and join their company. They wanted to train them their way. They would then also pay for them to earn their degree after working for them so many years. In other words, it happens in all kinds of fields. Just on a different scale.

    • windycity0301 - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      One does not simply hire Scott Boras as your “adviser” unless it’s about the money.

  5. Kanonen80 - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    This is an interesting development. I’m pretty sure I heard an interview with him on MLB Radio last night where he was so happy he was crying, and saying that his grandfather would be cheering up in heaven for him because that was his dream for his grandson…

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Make them declare, use a hart slotting system and let teams pick the player they want.

    • madhatternalice - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      I agree that they should declare. It’s such a crapshoot and really kills some teams.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      There’s too many rounds to have to declare. Should a 20th round selection have to declare?

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM

        If he wants to be drafted, yes

      • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:22 PM

        Then you won’t have enough people declaring for the draft to fill out your minor league teams.

  7. vanmorrissey - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Boras knew the new CBA rules going on, as did those he’s ‘advising’, so they all know the game they were going to play, as did the teams who drafted them. Wait and see and let it play out as to whether the gamble was worth it or not, on both sides because if he does go to college who’s to say he’ll ever really get more money than that allocated at #6.

  8. rcali - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I think it’s up to the parents of any of these early draft picks to show them a newspaper so they can see what is going on in the real world. Blow your elbow out while you have a MLB contract rather then when you are in college.

  9. longhornpride05 - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Madhater you’re acting like he can’t go back to college if the MLB doesn’t work out for him….. With his $3.25M. I guess if you choose to ignore the fact that he can still get an education your point makes sense. Here in reality though we see it the way it is

  10. JB (the original) - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    With this method of “total pool” per team, I can see where (in the 1st couple rounds anyway) teams will call a guy what his signability looks like and he’ll respond with something like–’Oh, you guys already drafted a Boras client, please don’t bother drafting me.’ –knowing that the he’s just going to lose some of ‘his’ pool money to the higher drafted guy. I’m trying to think on how this method is fair. MLB says the slot payments aren’t ‘locked in stone’, yet, to adjust away from the ‘suggestion’ means A. paying a penalty, and B. in a sense ‘punishing’ another player monetarily–just for being drafted by a team that has already drafted a “stud/star/Borasized” player. If I were the rest of the guys drafted by the Pirates, I’d look to bond together and file a lawsuit of some type. Those guys, through no fault of their own, are going to to get hosed.

  11. schlom - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    I don’t get why so many people are so against these players trying to get as much of a bonus as they can get. At most we’re only talking a few million dollars and teams blow that kind of money on useless players on their major league roster every season (the Padres with their $55m total payroll are spending 20% on Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson). And it’s not like the money they are saving by this new system is going to be invested on the major league team, it’s most likely just going into the owners pockets.This is the system people like Frank McCourt wanted yet people seem to think it’s the players that are greedy.

    • Alex K - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      This.

    • Uncle Charlie - Jun 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      Wow, huh?
      First do you realize all teams have predetermined pool of money that they can spend for the first 10 rounds? If an early round player demands way over slot that takes away from the amount that can be offered to later round players, essentially putting all the draft eggs in one basket.
      What does McCourt have to do with this? This totally screws high revenue teams and low revenue teams a like by basically setting the price for their picks, giving teams no room to negotiate. So it’s either pay or pass on early round players a la Appel. See below.

      What’s new? To make it more fair for smaller-market teams, teams are being told how much money they can spend on draft picks. Plus, there are fewer rounds (40) and an earlier deadline (July 13) to sign draft picks.

      How much can teams spend?
      It depends on where their picks are. MLB has assigned a value to every draft pick in the first 10 rounds.

      What about players drafted after the 10th round?
      They can be signed for up to $100,000. Anything over that amount will count against the pool.
      What happens if a team goes over the pool amount? It is penalized. If a team goes over by up to 5 percent of its pool amount, it is heavily taxed. If a team goes more than 5 percent over, it is taxed and begins losing draft picks in 2013 (a first-rounder for going 5 to 10 percent over; and subsequent picks for going over 10 percent).
      – Kevin Thomas

  12. proudlycanadian - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Any client of Boras should read about James Paxton on Wikipedia. Paxton was selected 37th by the Jays in 2009. Boras wanted more money than the Jays were willing to pay so Paxton was not signed. The NCAA then declared Paxton ineligible because of his contact with Boras. I do not know the specific reasons. He was forced to pitch in an Independent League rather than return to his college team. His ERA in the Independent League was over 4.00. In 2010, Paxton was drafted by the Mariners in the 4th round. Paxton is now considered to be a top prospect by the Mariners, but Boras cost him a lot of money and a year in the wilderness.

    The Jays were a winner in that they took $400,000 of the money that they would have paid Paxton and signed their 15th round draft pick at the last moment. That 15th round pick was Drew Hutchinson.

    • randomdigits - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      Or just look at Appel this draft. He could have taken a 6 million offer but turned it down. He will be lucky to get a 4 million offer from the Pirates.

      • hansob - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

        He won’t get a $4M offer. The Pirates only have $6.6M to offer, and that’s only if they actually sign all their picks in the first 10 rounds (they lose their draft budget dollars for the picks they don’t sign). So if they gave Appel $4M, they’d have to get their other guys to all sign for a combined $2.6M, when the combined slot for those picks is $3.7M. So they’d basically have to get guys to sign for 70 cents on the dollar so they can give that money to Appel.

      • schlom - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        Or any client of Boras should read about Luke Hochevar. Hochevar was one of the top prospects for the 2005 and had Boras as his adviser. He dropped due to contract demands and wasn’t drafted until the 40th pick by the Dodgers. After heated contract negotiations he dropped Boras and accepted a $2.98m bonus only to change his mind, go back to Boras and refuse to sign. Despite all this (and his perceived lack of leverage) in 2006 he was drafted #1 by the Royals and received a $3.5m bonus as part of a major league deal.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 6, 2012 at 8:07 PM

      Boras didn’t cost Paxton a ton of money, the NCAA’s illegal punishment of Paxton for using legal representation while negotiating a contract is what cost him a ton of money.

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 6, 2012 at 8:44 PM

        I certainly can’t defend the NCAA; however, Boras should have been aware of the NCAA rules. Furthermore, Boras got greedy and asked for too much. Consequently, Paxton was shown the boot rather than the money.

    • Detroit Michael - Jun 7, 2012 at 5:44 AM

      So the best examples of what went wrong for Boras clients are (1) a 37th round pick wanted more money and became a 4th round pick and (2) a 40th pick overall wanted more money and became a 1st pick overall signing for $3.5M. If those are the best counterexamples, then Scott Boras must be a heck of an agent.

  13. sasquash20 - Jun 6, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    I’m probably in the minority here but I wouldn’t be a hard ass in negotiations. I know college seems great, but that kind of money you could go to college later and still be set for life. Why risk injury or even a meteor falling from space and killing you. Take the money and take care of the family and be a hard ass when its time to sign the next deal.

  14. sasquash20 - Jun 6, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Do you have to have an agent to be drafted? Did Boras cost Appel millions by representing him. Or maybe a team wouldn’t draft a kid so high if he didn’t have a agent because they may think he wants to keep playing HS or College ball. Just wondering.

  15. hsven1887 - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Wonder what this does to team spirit. 1 guy wants extra $$$ 10 guys get less – and he is supposed to play with those 10 guys? This isn’t negotiating with the club, it is negotiating against your future team mates.

  16. iranuke - Jun 6, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    With any Boras client they are not going to sign 1 minute before they have to. The Cubs should sign all of their other draft picks and then go back and offer what they have left, if its less than 3.5 mil, the Boras client looses and goes to college to be overworked in the college world series, have fun kid. The trick is that the Cubs have to not blink, yes he might turn into a great pitcher, but the odds are that he will not even make the show.

  17. xnumberoneson - Jun 6, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    I think I’m in the minority of baseball fans. I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Scott Boras. I wish I had an agent like him who could convince my company to give me a hefty raise.

    People always say that Boras and the draftees are only “about the money.” The owners are also about the money. That’s why the draft system exists. That’s why they fought for the rule changes. It’s all about suppressing bonuses and paying kids less than their market value. So I don’t blame them for using whatever negotiating tactics they can to get as much money as possible up front.

  18. dcollins8 - Jun 13, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Market value, are you crazy? He is an unproven kid. The team offers him 3.25 mil and he wont take it? The success rate of minor leaguers making the show is like 10% and you think this isnt market value? Wow, lets be the guy that penalizes the team for going over their allotment. J.D. Drew all over again btw Boras the leach was his “adviser” to.

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