Scott Boras, the slimy political snake that he is, wrapped his silver tongue around recent Hall of Fame inductee Whitey Herzog. It was a classic example of double-talk by the uber-agent Boras. Here is the exchange by both members:
"They could win the division without Holliday," Herzog said. "You can't commit suicide in baseball. Sign one contract that's bad, you're going to suffer, so you've got to be careful."
"Congratulations to Whitey on an extraordinary managerial career and his Hall of Fame selection today. It's understandable that a man who was a GM 20 years ago when the revenues were $1 billion -- over six times less than the $6.5 billion revenues of today -- questions the modern-day contract structure. I don't think modern GM's, particularly [Brian] Cashman, with a new ring on his finger, characterize signings like Mark Teixeira, who, akin to Holliday, have achieved near-MVP status (both second in the MVP voting in their career) and have taken teams to the World Series as "suicide". In addition, I'm sure if Whitey asks [Albert] Pujols, [Chris] Carpenter and other Cardinal players, they would confirm the value of Holliday's division-winning contribution. Again, we congratulate Whitey on his admittance into the Hall of Fame."
“Hey old timer, go back to telling stories about when you used to buy a loaf a bread for a nickel!"
Boras is missing the point, as he always does when he’s trying to represent his clients “best interests”. Herzog wasn’t saying that today’s pay scale is out of whack in comparison to the revenue structure. He also wasn’t calling out Holliday or dismissing his contribution to the 2009 Cardinals either. Rather, he was assessing that the Cardinals as they are today, and in today’s economic environment, cannot afford to put all of their eggs into one basket. Unlike the Yankees, who Boras would like to compare everyone to if he could, St. Louis doesn’t have the revenue or the market to take the chance on long-term, big-dollar deals that will hamper the team financially in the future.
But Boras was right to bring the Yankees into the conversation, albeit on the wrong side of the argument. The Yankees spent $243.5 milliondollars on Mark Texeira, CC Sabathia, and AJ Burnett prior to the 2009 season and were immediately rewarded with a World Series title, which Boras accurately depicted. However, those contracts last a few more than one season. Here are the lengths of the deals signed:
Mark Texeira (8 Years) – Signed at 29, Expires at 37
C.C. Sabathia (7 Years) – Signed at 28, Expires at 36
A.J. Burnett (5 Years) – Signed at 32, Expires at 37
So yes, and especially with a World Series under their belt in the first season, these deals looked great in the short term. However, by the time they reach expiration, especially the contracts for Sabathia and Burnett, there is a risk that the Yankees will fall back into their 2006-2008 mode, buried by bad contracts on Jason Giambi, Carl Pavano, Bobby Abreu, and Kyle Farnsworth to name a few. Herzog’s point was more a point of conjecture saying that the Cardinals don’t have the same revenue stream as the Yankees to dig themselves out from under a mess like that.
That being said, the Cardinals would figure to be more productive securing Mark DeRosa and adding other pieces around him, like a Xavier Nady that would both add production while helping to spread the available player budget around.
Neither one is the hitter that Holliday is, but not every team is the Yankees, a concept that is lost on Boras as he tries to squeeze out every last dime. So while Boras is busy grandstanding for his client, Herzog is teaching a lesson:
Smart business means a successful team. Anything else is just a waste of money.