Is Scott Boras screwing himself in the end?

For years, Scott Boras has been known as an agent who gets his clients the absolute best deal possible financially. His clients – Barry Zito, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, etc – have walked away from past contract negotiations with fat bank accounts and big smiles on their faces.

But in playing hardball yet again with another club (the Los Angeles Dodgers) in order to get Manny Ramirez a long-term deal, Boras could be screwing himself in the long run.

From’s Peter Gammons:

Manny RamirezScott Boras has put the heat on Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, and there has been no love lost. The L.A. scouting department has been told it will not draft Boras clients come June.

That may hold true for a number of teams. With the economy in its current state, the Yankees, Red Sox and perhaps two or three other teams may be willing to ignore the commissioner’s office’s attempts to fix draft prices. Boras and other agents may determine that high school players would be better off coming out in 2012 when the economy should be more stable.

Boras represents outfielder Donavan Tate, Baseball America’s top high school positional prospect, and could decide that Tate will be better served playing quarterback and baseball at North Carolina and allowing MLB and the NFL to set his price in 2012. Without the Dodgers and Tigers in the bidding, there may be very few teams other than the Yankees and Red Sox that may even contemplate Boras’ price on a high school player.

Boras has cashed in for years on clubs’ dimes, but in doing so it appears that he has alienated himself in the process. Teams like the Dodgers are finally fighting back against bully agents like Boras, who might lose clients soon if he doesn’t change his negotiating tactics. He relies on two or more teams being interested in his clients and then he wages a war between the two clubs, who are often more than willing to drive up the price so that even if they don’t eventually acquire said player, the team they’re fighting against will have to pay top dollar.

But in the recent case of Manny Ramirez, Boras has one team that’s officially interested (the Dodgers) and one team that might-kind-of-sort-of be interested (the Giants). And unless the Giants pony up and officially offer a long-term deal soon, the Dodgers will continue their refusal to budge on their one-year, $25 million offer. And worse yet, now the Dodgers are instructing their scouts that no Boras client will be drafted and apparently other clubs are doing the same.

Boras is losing the Manny-contract battle and soon yet, he might be losing more than that.

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The dance continues – Manny, Dodgers still talking

Even though their one-year, $25 million offer to Manny Ramirez was recently rejected, the Dodgers will resume talks with Scott Boras in efforts to get a deal worked out to re-sign the free agent slugger.

Manny RamirezWith Spring Training opening in less than 10 days, even with Ramirez’s rejection of the one-year offer Monday night it appears that the intensity of negotiations has increased. The offer was the Dodgers’ third attempt to retain Ramirez, who in November did not respond to a two-year, $45 million offer plus an option and three weeks later did not accept the club’s offer for salary arbitration.

The market for the gifted slugger has been murky, although Boras insists it has heated up. The Dodgers are the only club known to have made an offer. The Giants are the only other club to have acknowledged interest, although like the Dodgers, it is short term only. Boras said he continues negotiating with several teams on Ramirez but again declined to name them.

The Dodgers, with no designated hitter rule available to provide a transitional role as Ramirez ages, have insisted they will not provide the four- or five-year deal he is seeking.

Is this ride making anyone else sick?

The Giants might hold the key to ending this charade. If they and the Dodgers are the only clubs that are even interested in Manny, then they should make an official offer and then sit back and wait. I’m assuming that if they truly wanted Ramirez, they would make an offer that’s lucratively better than the one that the Dodgers have offered. If not, then what’s the point? To drive the price up for the Dodgers? There are no other teams interested so that seems like a fruitless idea.

With an official offer from the Giants in place, Boras could wait to hear back from the Dodgers. If L.A. is still unwilling to budge, then Manny should shit or get off the pot. Either take the Dodgers’ one-year deal for $25 million and become a free agent next year, or take a two to three-year deal depending on what the Giants offer.

Report: Manny turns down one-year deal from Dodgers

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers offered free agent Manny Ramirez a one-year contract worth $25 million, but his agent Scott Boras rejected it.

I have no other details, other than that Scott met with Ned Colletti late tonight and told him Manny wouldn’t accept the Dodgers’ one-year, $25 million offer. Not sure exactly what this means, but it wouldn’t shock me if this is the end of it and the Dodgers simply move on. And if that happens, who knows where Manny will end up and when he will get there? More on this tomorrow, I’m sure.

This situation seems to be going nowhere fast. Neither side is willing to budge in what it wants, and this might be the final straw for the Dodgers. Watch what Colletti and the Dodgers do over the next couple days. They might make a move for Bobby Abreu and officially end the dance with Manny. Or they could continue to ride this thing out, but with pitchers and catchers due to report soon that seems unlikely.

Red Sox have eclipsed Yankees as premier team

As Murray Chass on Baseball notes, the Boston Red Sox have supplanted the New York Yankees as the premier team to beat in the AL East.

Jacoby EllsburyThat conclusion isn’t based strictly on the outcome of this year’s division race, though the season is symptomatic of developments in the lives of the Yankees and the Red Sox. In a more general way, the Red Sox have demonstrated that they are smarter and more adept than the Yankees in judging talent, in trading, in scouting, in player development and in strategic planning.

The teams have similarities that are useful in judging the quality of their operations.
The Red Sox went to Japan and signed Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Yankees went to Japan and signed Kei Igawa.

The Red Sox have a young center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, who is instrumental in igniting their offense. The Yankees have a young center fielder, Melky Cabrera, whom they sent to the minor leagues in August.

The Red Sox have a young second baseman, Dustin Pedroia, whose .326 batting average fell two hits short of winning the A.L. batting title and who led the league in runs scored, multi-hit games and doubles, tied for the lead in hits and was fourth in total bases. The Yankees have a young second baseman, Robinson Cano, who needed eight hits in the last three games to get his on-base percentage over .300.

The Red Sox needed a starting pitcher and in mid-August traded for veteran Paul Byrd, who compiled a 4-2 record in eight starts. The Yankees needed a starting pitcher and in June yanked Joba Chamberlain out of the bullpen and put him in the starting rotation, where he suffered a shoulder ailment that cost him a month.

The Red Sox needed to trade their best hitter, Manny Ramirez, and in a three-team deal that included Pittsburgh got Jason Bay, who batted .293 with a series of key hits that fueled critical Boston victories.

The Yankees needed a hitter and, five days before the Bay trade, turned to the same team, the Pirates, and got Xavier Nady, whose batting average for the Yankees was 25 points less than Bay’s was for Boston and whose on-base percentage was 50 points and slugging percentage 53 points less.

This is what people continue to miss about the Yankees and their spending. Just because they can spend more, doesn’t mean that they’re better off. Yes, there should be a cap in place so that all of the spending is even. But the Yankees continue to shoot themselves in the foot with all of their freewheeling contracts and trading, because they’re not developing young, marquee talent anymore like they once did with Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bearnie Williams. They thought players like Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano and Phillip Hughes would develop like the aforementioned names, but those three haven’t panned out yet, at least not how the club thought they would.

The article is right – the Red Sox have been better at judging talent and making trades over the past couple years and it’s exactly why they’re playing in October right now while the Yankees are at home plodding ways to get CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Manny Ramirez.

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