INDIANAPOLIS – The winter meetings for Scott Boras are a labyrinth, low-ceilinged corridors leading to skyways, staircases and blind turns, followed by gradual recognition that, no, this is not the right direction at all or, wait, maybe it is.
This is no metaphor.
It was Wednesday afternoon and Boras was trying to find his way from the Marriott hotel to the Westin, which is across the street, which sounds easier than it is, when walking outside means exposing oneself to temperatures in the 20s and a wind that would rip the eyebrows off a $4 million utility infielder.
The path of least resistance, one not often taken by Boras, was at the pace of a stroll. The rebuilding of the game's top teams will wait on him, and his clients. This time it's Matt Holliday(notes) and two left-field vacancies in New York and one each in Boston, Anaheim, St. Louis and San Francisco.
(Still wounded by last winter's failed Mark Teixeira(notes) negotiations, the Angels have declared themselves out on Holliday, and the Giants seem intent on spending another winter passing on the best offensive options).
Five teams are earnestly engaged, though the number is somewhat fluid.
Boras also represents Adrian Beltre(notes), the best pure third baseman on the market, starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn(notes), catcher Ivan Rodriguez(notes) (who agreed Monday to a two-year contract with the Washington Nationals) and a hefty handful of others, including Joe Crede(notes), Rick Ankiel(notes), Felipe Lopez(notes), Hank Blalock(notes) and Garret Anderson(notes). He's getting decent action on Beltre in a market starved for third basemen. And he predicted Washburn's time is now, given Randy Wolf's(notes) three-year, $29.75 million deal with Milwaukee.
Holliday runs alongside Roy Halladay(notes), Jason Bay(notes) and John Lackey(notes) as players both available (in trade or free agency) and capable of turning ordinary into good and good into better than that. Nobody does top end quite like Boras, who Wednesday afternoon stood just outside the second floor media room and informed reporters that the Mets, Giants, Cardinals and others indeed had plenty of money for a run producer such as Holliday, that the Yankees' acquisition of Curtis Granderson(notes) is all the more reason for them to sign Johnny Damon(notes) – ''It certainly helps us in terms of Damon,'' he said. ''They have more flexibility.'' – and that his player was clearly superior to the other available left fielder, Bay.
''They're different players,'' he said of Holliday and Bay, adding that his guy is, ''a complete player.''
Because of that, he said, and in spite of the easy one-or-the-other portrayals, Holliday's market would be unaffected by Bay's.
''Certainly Jason Bay is a very fine hitter,'' Boras said. ''But Matt is a great baserunner. He's really athletic. He could have played in the NFL. He's that kind of player.''
He then declared the Yankees so obviously need an outside linebacker. No he didn't.
He did, however, enliven these meetings, which have been limited to the Yankees getting better and not a whole lot more than that. And then he retreated to his hotel suite, circuitously, talking as he went.
He does not have a precise timetable to find a home for Holliday, and would not precisely identify the teams with interest. He did meet with several clubs Wednesday, including the Red Sox in the early afternoon. Where Teixeira wanted to have something done by Christmas, Holliday, Boras said, has no such desires.
''I never know the timing of these things,'' he said. ''A lot of teams still need to decide how to allocate their resources.''
Of Holliday's market, he said, ''It's good. There's a lot of clubs that monitor the meetings, that marshal it. We'll know more soon.''
He'd found the Westin. The rest will probably find him.
• The Dodgers not only passed on Randy Wolf arbitration and Randy Wolf free agency, they're passing on all of the big free agents. Still, they need a fourth (and maybe a fifth) starter, a second baseman to ride shotgun with Blake DeWitt(notes) and bench help. To that end, GM Ned Colletti said, ''We're trying to get creative in … two or three three-way trades.'' Maybe the Yankees, D'Backs and Tigers started a trend. ''As of right now,'' Colletti said, ''we're not close on anything.''
• Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos continued conversations that could lead to trading Halladay. The Angels, Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox are getting interest from the young GM. A report the Angels had offered Joe Saunders(notes), Erick Aybar(notes) and Peter Bourjos for Halladay was termed by one source, ''a total fabrication.''
- Scott Boras