Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Olney's Lament

UPDATE: Bob Ryan writes an article today, echoing the sentiments I've been writing here throughout the posting and "negotiating." Give it a read. I think he's 100% dead on correct.

I'm sorry, but this is the biggest horse manure I've ever heard in my life. (As quoted by Boston Dirt Dogs).

"And you'd have to wonder: For Scott Boras, when does this stop becoming a chase of dollars and start being about his clients' doing what they love in their work and playing baseball?...

"Boras is extraordinary at what he does, at extracting a volume of dollars from places that you never would've imagined. He is like a chess master, and every negotiation is a match to be won. But in this era, when players are now making more money than they can ever spend in their lifetimes, it's debatable whether the extra cash actually improves the quality of life of his players, and whether all this angst pays off, in the big picture." -- 12.12.06, Buster Olney, ESPN

First of all, for Scott Boras, his job is to get as much money as is humanly possible for his clients. That's the whole reason they hire him, rather than asking Joe Average agent to represent them. To cry about it now shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the situation. Everyone, including Theo Epstein, knew that they would pay top market dollar for Matsuzaka WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE BIDDING. The Red Sox can be pissed off that Boras and Matsuzaka are being greedy, but they shouldn't cry because they are shocked or surprised. I have sympathy for the former, but none for the latter.

Regarding the second part of Olney's comment, cry me a river. If CNNSI was waiting to pay him double for his services, but he had to sit out a year to cash in, are you sincerely going to sit there and tell me that the money is good enough at ESPN? Bullshit. Yes, he will be a super rich man, whatever contract he signs, but it's not about how much you can spend in your lifetime. It's about how much you are worth in the market, and how much that will buy your children and grandchildren. I never see the point in those holier-than-thou types who say wealthy athletes should settle for less because they can't spend all the fortune they make in one lifetime. If I had a chance to set up my children, grandchildren, and every subsequent generation beyond, I would.

They may come to terms on a deal, but make no mistake, these are not children playing for the love of the game. That's only part of the equation. Any experienced journalist should remember the cliche, "If everyone else were playing for free, I would too. But they're not." That is one of the fundamental, 10 Commandments, of modern sports. We all play by those rules, and you either pay, or walk away empty handed. It may be ugly, and we have the right to complain about it, but let's not be naive. That's all I ask.


RIYank said...

Mike, that Japanese Times article that you linked a couple of entries below says that Matsuzaka becomes a free agent *after* the 2008 season. Several articles I'd read (Hardball Times, Sporting News, Fox) said that he'd become a free agent in May of 2008, assuming of course that he doesn't have a new Lions contract or an MLB contract by then.
Are you confident that the Japanese Times account is correct, and that he isn't free in May 2008?

Sean J. said...


I normally agree with you but you are way off base about Olney. I'm not sure whether you read the whole article but the basis of Buster's comments was not that greed is bad and athletes should settle for less money but instead has to do with the fact that Red Sox believe that Boras is using the communication gap as leverage to keep D-Mat disinformed on what is happening with the negotiations.

When Boras pitches to his clients he demands complete control of the proceedings.

"For some, part of his pitch is a deal-breaker: If I represent you, he has told some players in so many words, only I do the negotiating. Their impression is that he wants 100 percent control."

Because of this, Buster believes Daiske might not know the details of what is being offered and thus may not be able to make a decision.

"When Boras negotiates, club executives sometimes wonder whether all the facts -- whether every piece of every offer -- gets through to the player. They never know, and it scares the hell out of them; Boras is the funnel through which all the information is channeled....They don't know for sure whether Daisuke Matsuzaka knows what they've offered; they don't have a sense of whether Matsuzaka understands that the clock is ticking, that this negotiation might all be playing out like a filibuster. They don't know whether Matsuzaka is on board with everything that is happening, or if this is a Scott Boras production, a possible Curt Flood-like challenge to the posting system between Major League Baseball and the teams in Japan."

More over, he worries about how this hold out might effect Daiske, if he is not a willing participant.

"But with every passing day, with every delay, with every insistence upon more dollars, Boras is effectively placing more pressure on the shoulders of his client, who already is facing an enormous adjustment if he signs to play in Boston. And if Boras/Matsuzaka don't sign, if the agent's filibuster continues and they try to make the pitcher the Curt Flood of the Japanese posting system, you have to wonder whether it really will be worth it, in the end, for Matsuzaka."

Really in the end if you believe Buster's words are an indictment of Matsuzaka then you don't have a full understanding of what Buster is saying. It is really an indightment of Boras's (possibly) shady proceedings.

andy said...

Yes. Matsuzaka won't be a free agent before the 2008 season. And I think we should be easy on Olney, everyone knows he is an idiot. Who cares about what he says. The Red Sox have definitely underestimated the $ that D-Mat is asking for. I think that's a terrible mistake that the Red Sox have made. They would never be able to get that $51M even if they sign D-Mat. Overall, the Red Sox are still the biggest loser in this deal.

james said...

It was all started by pro-redsox homer Buster Olney who writes on his daily Blog says Speculation that Orioles might bid over $50 million to block Matsuzaka against the Yankees and Redsox acquiring him.

I guess Cashman didn't think Olney Speculation on his blog wasn't true and have the time to read

- Rumor was Winning Highest Bid around that Time was around $30 million . No ones expecting to bid over 30 million. Next Day Buster Olney Announced that Redsox won the bid. How did Buster Olney knows Redsox won bid when Bid was sealed and Seibu Lions didn't announced after four days when Olney speculated Redsox won the Bid?

I think The Redsox acting "bad faith" on negotiations on Matsuzaka.

Mike Plugh said...


The problem is ESPN only cares about money, so I can't read their article. I have to become an "Insider". I know that the quotes were taken out of context, but they are preposterous in any context.

It's so plain, it must taste like vanilla.

1. Matsuzaka hired Boras.
2. It was huge news everywhere, including Japan where they plastered the big A-Rod money all over every tabloid.
3. The Red Sox don't live in a cave.
4. If you bid for a Boras client, he doesn't give two shits about your budget. You WILL pay, or you WON'T play. Simple. Everyone knows this.
5. They bid $13 million more than the 2nd place team. They misread the market, and now they will pay.

Olney wants you to believe that Matsuzaka is a naive little pawn in Boras' mustache twirling game. He's not. He knows everything that's going on. He agreed to all of this before the process began. Matsuzaka isn't an idiot, and he knows full well what teams are out there waiting to pay him. He wants that dough, as much as you or I would.

There are no innocents in this game.

juke of url said...

If I were a sports agent, I'd be more concerned with fitting my clients to the right team, in the right market. Money is an integral part but when it's the sole criterion it often leads to disaster. I understand the market place the same way I get what cock fighting is. But that doesn't make it the height of human relationships. ANd I don't have to like it.

AS for ESPN. They only seriously cover baseball for 3 months on radio, throwing it in the trunk the rest of the year. I can't afford much so I appreciate the bloggers & news sites for their efforts. But words often don't tell the tale or are too open to the reader's interpretation and knowledge or lack of, in nuance.

The fat cats run the show & we either watch or throw rocks. MLB needs a major league overhaul & anybody who has been paying attention, knows it. . ..

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