Did Boras’ firm loan money to prospects in the Dominican Republic?

Aug 31, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Scott Boras attends the MLB game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Photo via Newscom

According to a report by ESPN.com, baseball agent Scott Boras’ company supplied “tens of thousands of dollars in loans and payments” to the families of needy prospects in the Dominican Republic.

The report cited people with ties to Boras. The Times said the loans and payments raise questions about whether his company broke Major League Baseball Players Association rules governing the conduct of agents.

Domingo Ramos, a former big league player who works for Boras’ company, told The Times that the company typically represented a few top Dominican prospects each year and made loans to a majority of them. The money was usually used for food, housing and other needs, he said.

“Sometimes we get it back, sometimes we don’t,” Ramos told The Times. “Sometimes, it’s tough to get it back. It’s as simple as that.”

The Times said Boras’ company loaned teenage client Edward Salcedo and his family about $70,000 from 2007-09, according to the shortstop’s brother, Thommy, and Martiris Hanley, a former Boras employee. They said the money was to be repaid out of Salcedo’s future earnings.

In a way, it’s nice to see that Boras’ company provided money for food, clothing and shelter. But the only reason they dished out money was so that these players would sign with Boras, so it’s not like he’s Mother Teresa here.

If the report is true, this is just another example of how far agents will go to secure a client.

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Report: White Sox pull offer for Damon

According to ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine, the White Sox have pulled their offer for Johnny Damon, leading many to believe that the Tigers are now the clear favorites to land the free agent outfielder.

“It became clear to us in our recent negotiations that the money that we were offering was not going to be good enough for Johnny at this time,” White Sox general manager Kenny Williams told ESPNChicago.com. “At this particular point, we feel it’s necessary to withdraw our offer.”

The White Sox made a $6 million offer for Damon, according to major league sources.

Asked if the White Sox would get back into the running for Damon at some point, Williams said: “As you can see by the way that we kept going after this situation, we are very much interested in the player. All I can say is that I reiterate at this time that this offer for now is off the table.”

Only in Scott Boras’ world is Johnny Damon worth $6 million. The White Sox made the right decision here by pulling the offer on the table and not getting into a potential bidding war with the Tigers over a 36-year-old player that can’t play the field and isn’t likely to hit 20-plus home runs (or even 15-plus home runs) outside of Yankee Stadium.

Boras and Damon should come to the realization that it’s either Detroit or come down on their demands.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Johnny Damon must think he’s Manny Ramirez

If Johnny Damon’s mission was to become the most annoying man in baseball this offseason, then he’s already succeeded.

Damon is half a player. As he proved last year in New York, he can still swing a pretty good stick and he still has enough speed in his 36-year-old legs to be dangerous on the base paths. But he’s a liability in the outfield and his arm strength often resembles that of a T-baller. There’s also no guarantee that he’ll be a good hitter outside of Yankee Stadium, so writing that he’s even half a player might be too generous.

How has this guy managed to turn the back half of the MLB offseason into the Johnny Damon hour? He’s the last big name on the market and I use the words “big name” loosely. He’s received offers from the Braves and Tigers, yet he still remains unsigned. Why?

Damon is doing his best Manny Ramirez impression this offseason. Instead of coming to terms with his value and signing a fair deal, he has decided to drag out contract negations as long as possible. Spring training is ready to kick off and he’s still deciding on where and how much to sign for.

Of course, this entire situation reeks of Scott Boras, who is also Manny’s agent. Boras battled with the Dodgers last year over Manny’s contract before finally caving in and settling for a two-year deal. Considering he’s about to do the same thing with Damon, it’s clear that Boras hasn’t learned his lesson yet. Damon was never going to get a multi-year contract for over $10 million like Boras wanted after last season. Yet Boras continues to overvalue his clients and drum up a false market for them by publicly stating tons of teams are interested in his free agents when the truth of the matter is they’re not.

I’ve got a newsflash for both Damon and Boras: Johnny ain’t that good. He should stop with all of the, “I’m a difference maker” nonsense and take whatever deal Detroit currently has on the table. That’s not only advice, but it’s a plea too because I’m sick of reading about when he’s going to sign.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Will the Nationals sign Stephen Strasburg?


The Washington Nationals have until Monday night to sign Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 pick in the MLB draft. Unfortunately for them, Strasburg’s agent is Scott Boras, who has already upped the Nationals offer to the largest for a draft pick in baseball history.

Since 1965, when the draft began, only one pitcher taken in the top 18 spots in the first round has ever won 200 or more games (Kevin Brown). All-time greats? There’s not one out of more than 300 such selections. Based on the history of high picks, Strasburg should be viewed as having a good chance to become a very good pitcher. But not more. No pitcher taken in the first four overall picks has ever won a Cy Young Award or made more than two all-star teams. Worst of all, major health concerns, such as the elbow surgery that top Nats prospect Jordan Zimmermann now needs, demonstrate the fragility of pitchers. Bid high. But beware. The No. 2 overall pick next year as compensation may be almost as good.

Strasburg can play somewhere next year — an independent league or, conceivably, Japan, though he might be poorly received there — then reenter the 2010 draft. Maybe his hometown Padres would get him. Maybe a better economy or a different owner would bring a better deal. Besides, he could avoid the Nats if he thinks they are a ship of fools.

I fail to realize why everyone thinks Stephen Strasburg is the answer to all the Nationals’ problems. The 21 year-old kid didn’t even play in the best division in college and has since had trouble reaching 100 mph on his fastball. One pitcher is not going to fix possibly the worst franchise in baseball. Before the Nationals sign any arm, they need to secure a solid batting order — you know, the guys that play every game. Granted he doesn’t get hurt and he wins each of his starts, Strasburg can win the Nationals around 35 games. Of course, that’s not going happen, and that is only a fifth of the regular season. Hey Nationals, instead of dumping over $20 million into the Strasburg/Boras campaign, if you really want a starting pitcher, why don’t you go after a guy who’s already established himself? Strasburg is not going to win you a World Series, nor is he going to produce a sea change in attendance. He is a such a small piece to the puzzle, I feel bad for the Nationals fans that see Strasburg as their great hope.

Get a good collection of hitters. Stop signing big bats (Adam Dunn) that can’t hit for average. Acquire some pitchers who have been in the league longer than half a season. And lastly, don’t let Scott Boras make a bigger joke out of your franchise than you already are.

Strasburg will more than likely sign with the Nationals. I think he wants to get in the majors as quickly as possible instead of farting around in another league.

Nats to select Strasburg with #1 pick in June’s MLB draft

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman is reporting that the Washington Nationals will select San Diego State University pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the #1 overall pick in next month’s MLB amateur draft.

The feeling in baseball was that the Nationals might be scared off by the set negotiation price of $50-million-plus from Strasburg’s adviser Scott Boras to secure the youngster’s signature on a contract. But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore within the organization.

Acting Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wouldn’t guarantee who he’s taking, but said regarding Strasburg when reached by phone, “It’s fair to say, going into it, he’s the No. 1 player on our board. We can say it. There’s not anybody who can jump ahead of us.” Rizzo added. “He’s an outstanding talent. He’s got all the tools to be a great player.”
Rizzo wouldn’t absolutely commit since the draft is a month away. But he did say, “As of now, he’s the top guy.”

The Nats remain one of the worst teams in baseball, and recently brought up young pitchers Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmerman to gain major league experience in their starting rotation. Their hope for Strasburg is to join their rotation by July; scouts project him to be major-league ready coming out of college. Strasburg is 10-0 with 147 strikeouts and 15 walks for SDSU this season.

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