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Shockingly, Scott Boras says teams shouldn’t worry about the luxury tax

Nov 2, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT

Kansas City Royals v Houston Astros Getty Images

I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise:

As part of that, Boras suggested that using the luxury tax threshold as something of a ceiling for payrolls represents an artificial (and, given the revenues in the game, unnecessary) constraint.

That’s an admittedly cheap little snippet from WEEI, summarizing a lengthy interview of Scott Boras regarding the Great Offseason Issues of the day. ┬áRead the whole thing for the Alpha Agent’s always interesting take.

He does have a good point, though: with team values and revenues going up the way they have, if anything, payroll increases have actually lagged some from what one might expect.

  1. vallewho - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    I would like to see baseball without Bud and Boras.

    • ptfu - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      Don’t hate the playa, hate the game

  2. willclarkgameface - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    This guy is puke.

    He needs to just go back to doing his side gig of running the Washington Nationals and decide which players are going to come in and let their fans down in 2013.

    • nategearhart - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      What exactly is wrong with him? I’d LOVE to have a guy like that helping me get more money from my employer.

      • sportsdrenched - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        Kickers, Lawyers, & Borases are all things everyone loathes…until you need one.

      • nategearhart - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Indeed. How many Boras haters would approve of “salary caps” and what essentially amounts to indentured servitude in their own choice of industry?

    • willclarkgameface - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      is that you Curt Flood?

  3. scotttheskeptic - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    On a macro level, he is absolutely correct. On the micro level exceeding the threshold makes the “cost” of an individual contract double (or greater) than face value.

    If a punitive salary threshold is to exist, it should be adjusted annually, accounting for total revenue, and possibly more importantly, arbitration results. A small percentage of the roster should not take up the gross majority of salary allowed under the luxury tax.

  4. nategearhart - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    And owners who want new stadiums tell us not to worry about a tax increase to buy one for them. At least Boras is working to take money from those assholes and put it in the pockets of baseball players. Because baseball players, after all, are awesome. That’s why we’re here.

  5. chill1184 - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    He sees the writing on the wall because of the fact that teams aren’t letting their stars hit the FA market anymore and signing them to team friendly contracts. Future FA markets aren’t going to be as tasty for him as they have been in years past. You cant hate Boras too much because he’s simply doing his job, blame has to go onto GMs who are stupid enough to buy into his bullshit.

  6. pisano - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    What else would he say? it’s money out of his pocket.

    • gibbyfan - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      I am a very old fan who can remember better days when the game seemed more pristine and much less of a business enterprise. Now, it is almost entirely about money and we have what we have –agents, expanded schedules, diluted talent, endless commercials to endure, outrageous prices to attend a game, playerswith 0 team loyalty and other consequences. There is no one to blame –it’s what the game has become, a business. All made possible by fans such as myself who for some inexplicable reason remain mysteriously attached to a team we have nothing whatsoever to with so that we can enrich billionaires and players whose prevailing attribute is to get as much as they can. Fans are solely a means to that end.

      • nategearhart - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        It’s ALWAYS been a business. It’s just that owners used to be 100% in control, so players had no choice but to play along.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        players with 0 team loyalty

        I will never understand the loyalty argument. I assume most of us here are of working age. If a direct competitor offered a 150% salary bump, would any of us not leave? Why do we expect anything different from players?

      • hammyofdoom - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        Well to be quite fair the reason that some players were “loyal” to teams back in the day is because they had no choice. Teams OWNED the player and he had only one choice: play for the team until his contract was up and they let him go

      • gibbyfan - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:02 PM

        Totally understand your point Church –as Nate says, it has always been a business, but it always seemed less so back in the day. While you make a valid point that just as I as an accountant might go to the highest bidder then so should players do the same–afterall we all are essentially just workers. And, you are absolutely correct –tha’t just the way it is. But to me, it seems there are some distinctions that might be drawn. Most of us work hard to get an education and pursue a career to better ourselves. We act in large part out of economic necessity and may be fortunate enough to improve our potential to survive by moving on. We leave behind no community of adoring fans who in large part contributed to our success. We do not quickly arrive at absurd levels of wealth only because of a God given talent to play a little boys game. Most of us can only dream of being so blessed. Should any of that matter? Should Albert Pujols give a moments thought to walking away from a city that passionately supported and adored him. Does he owe anything to those who gave so much to him? Intellectually you are correct that it is just business and players owe nothing to the fans –That’s what Marvin miller said. I really cant make a cogent argument to the contrary. But, it just seems like something magical has been lost –and other than for gamblers and those with a direct interest the whole fan/sports relationship is indeed magical. We had more of sense of what was’ our team’ and’ our players’. It was perhaps easier to delude ourselves into conjuring up a sense of meaningful attachment that went beyond pure $$. I am neither intelligent nor articulate enough to break it down beyond that but in my heart I know something special has given way to the almighty dollar in it most gandeoise excess

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 2, 2012 at 7:44 PM


        I understand what you are trying to say, and don’t sell yourself short as you are making a lucid argument. I just think it’s a combination of matters that’s everyone’s fault. It’s our fault for thinking these guys should want to stick to one team, that the difference between $10M and $12M is minute so stay behind. It’s the fault of the players for making comments like, I want to stay in X city my whole career, and then vamoose at the first large dollar figure.

        It’d be nice if a lot of teams had their own set of Jeter/Pettitte/Rivera/Posada, guys who played together for like 15+ years. We might be swinging that way with baseball again, now that teams are signing players for long term deals really early, but who knows.

        I just don’t agree that the players of yesteryear would be any different than the ones of today, if those long ago had the same options. Reserve clause, less money and less opportunity were probably more of the driving force than todays player’s egos.

      • gibbyfan - Nov 2, 2012 at 8:49 PM

        Well Church –on that last point I would in all honesty have to agree with you. It’s not human nature that has changed but rather just the rules constraining it –good point. I guess my sentimentality for the old days is wrapped around an illusion more than reality –but as they say perception can often be reality and for those days I feel nostalgic.

  7. redguy12588 - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    I bet the Pirates never worry about the Luxury tax.

  8. rockthered1286 - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    I’ve officially given up on baseball ever having a salary cap, despite the fact that every other major sport has one (apples and oranges, I know). With that said, I’m sure Boras thoroughly enjoys the fact that contracts keep getting bigger and bigger every year, meaning more and more money in his pocket. And realistically it doesn’t seem to be slowing down or capping off anywhere.

    So as per every year, you’ll see the same 6-10 teams add big names (Yanks, Red Sox, Rangers, Phils, Dodgers, Angels, and a few others escaping my mind right now) and the same bottom feeders continue to…well, bottom feed (Pirates, Royals, Rays, Indians, O’s, and others) in FA. But again, that’s why you see the same teams in it every year (with an occassional Rays or now the O’s sneaking in) versus, say, the NFL where a cap creates a level playing field and you see several different teams in the race every year. You’re success isn’t based on how deep your pockets are but instead your ability to draft, build, and manage.

    But yea, salary caps… those things are evil.

    • hammyofdoom - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      Then why are there teams like the Redskins, who keep failing? Why in the NBA are there only 6 relevant teams a year?Baseball actually has better parity when it comes to the variety of teams that make the playoffs. The NFL is Patriots, Packers, Giants and Steelers, NBA is Celtics, Lakers, Thunder, Spurs, Bulls and… erm… Magic maybe? Nearly every sport is like this

      • lawdog7326 - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        The Redskins made poor decisions and weighted themselves down with heavy contracts like say Albert Haynesworth. The other NFL teams you’ve mentioned have been smart in drafting and being able to spot viable replacements for departed players (i.e. – the Packers replacing Favre with Rodgers). The NBA is a different model as it too as a soft tax but allows certain teams like the Lakers to fudge their way around it. Not to mention with in basketball, a team can thrive off the back of one or 2 superstars regardless of who’s around them. Baseball is different because of the soft high tax ceiling and the low basement. The Yankees have been in the playoffs for how many consecutive years? His point was all top end talent ends up on the teams who are willing to spend like the Yankees and the system in place allows them to do it. Put a hard cap in and say the Yankees can’t go out and sign both Teixeria and Sabathia in the same offseason. Teams like the Pirates can’t even consider a guy like Josh Hamilton this winter.
        But the hard cap will never happen as the union will never agree to it and there has yet to be a commissioner strong enough to challenge the union for the greater good of the game and by that I mean all teams having an equal shot at getting someone like Josh Hamilton this winter instead of just those who can afford 20 mil or whatever he’s gonna ask for.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:35 PM

        I have the interesting observation that the four teams in both LCS this season had either been recent World Series winners or at least relatively recent League pennant winners. So much for variety.

    • chill1184 - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:49 PM

      If you really look at it, the luxury tax can be viewed as a form of a soft salary cap.

    • nategearhart - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      Apparently facts are evil too, because your post is entirely void of them.

  9. hk62 - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Craig – I want to know why you used the picture of him in Houston? Being Ironic are we? HOU will have close to the lowest payroll in 2013.

    And a luxury tax is NOT a soft cap – cap means you cannot go over or they take people off your payroll, a tax just means that the players cost more than their salary.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      I used the Houston pic because it is the most recent picture of him available on the photo services we’re allowed to use. Most of the pics we have been using of Boras are a couple years old now and I wanted to update some.

  10. canuckinamerica - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Scott. Your receptionist knows your firm is making tons of money each and every year. And now she wants $310K a year to do that job. Will you pay her???

  11. tashkalucy - Nov 2, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Gotta love Scott…..

    This was the guy that said about 10 years ago that escalating player salaries had nothing to do with rising ticket prices.

    No difference between this guy and the hustlers in DC.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 2, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      This was the guy that said about 10 years ago that escalating player salaries had nothing to do with rising ticket prices.

      They don’t, for one, rising ticket prices usually follow higher salaries, not the other way around. And two, it’s econ 101. Ticket prices rise due to demand/supply.

      • tashkalucy - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:54 AM

        That’s what I said, Einstein.

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