Scott Boras says his unsigned free-agent ‘steak’ still has sizzle

David Brown
Big League Stew

If superagent Scott Boras has a beef with how newly modified rules are affecting his clients on the free-agent meat market, he is not complaining publicly. We are nearing mid-January and the best players available, all of whom were expected to make big bank by now, have not. And they're all Boras clients: outfielder Michael Bourn, right-handed reliever Rafael Soriano and right-hander Kyle Lohse.

Well, super reporter Jerry Crasnick of ESPN asked Boras if the system was rigged against him, and/or if he were butchering his clients futures by holding out. Well, what do you think Boras would say?

"People call me all the time and say, 'Man, your players aren't signed yet,' " Boras said. "Well, it doesn't really matter what time dinner is when you're the steak."

A great quote to be sure.In other words, teams unwilling to subsist on Hamburger Helper, alone, will pay for the likes of Bourn (ribeye), Lohse (strip) and Soriano (flank). Boras'clients usually are the milksteak that bring all the boys to the yard (to mix some pop-culture metaphors). What's interesting (relatively) about this story is that the players union, in the first place, agreed to the modifications on free agency, which serve only to help owners and drag salaries. Boy, Marvin Miller's smoking ghost is not happy about all of these givebacks!

As much as the conspiracy buff in me would like to blame something juicy like owner collusion against Boras, that's not what is happening. Probably. Here's Crasnick again on the changes:

Under the revamped system, a new team that signs an elite free agent will be required to surrender both a draft pick and a chunk of its allotted draft bonus pool money. As a result, the player hits the open market with a double whammy that makes him less attractive to potential suitors.

Holding out too long happens with Boras clients sometimes, as Kyle Madson, Jason Varitek and others will tell you about previous winters.A year ago at this time, Boras roast Prince Fielder was unemployed and the agent appeared to have misread the market for him. But then — poof! — suddenly here come the Detroit Tigers with a need for a slugger after Victor Martinez gets injured in winter ball, and Fielder walks away with a $214 million deal. Some luck was involved, but you can't say Fielder didn't come away at least medium-well.

With training camps opening in about a month, that's how long the Boras steak trio should have before they start to worry. In the meantime, which wines should we pair with each player? That should help their signability.

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