A-Rod To Yankees: Boras Negotiating Ploy Or Foul Up?

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I wasn't shocked to open the papers this morning and see Wallace Matthews' column in Newsday. Wallace says he believes that A-Rod going to the Yankees himself is a pre-meditated negotiating ploy and his agent Scott Boras is in on the act .

It's a great contrarian column to write and it stands out from the crowd today amongst all the other stories. But I have a problem with it. I can't see it being true.

To get to the short of it, here's where I believe Matthews' article falls apart: "For 5 percent of A-Rod's next deal, Boras will gladly allow himself to be painted as the villain, or worse, the fall guy."

Very, very fat chance. Here's why. Let's say A-Rod signs a 10-year deal with the Yankees worth $275 million. So over ten years, Boras makes $13.75 million. You think Boras--who has arranged for some $4 billion in deals--is willing to make more of an idiot of himself, by coming up with the idea that shows that he has no control over the negotiating for the gross price of $1.37 million a year?

Sure, maybe Drew Rosenhaus didn't lose a ton of clients after he didn't look great in his handling of the Terrell Owens situation, but all this could hurt Boras more. If A-Rod signs this deal with the Yankees by himself, Boras comes off as if he were fired--even with the commission in his hand and what is publicly being called an "advisor" role.

Because the truth is that Boras would never advise A-Rod to do what he reportedly did. The popular conspiracy argument here is that Boras tested the market and found out that the $30 million plus he was looking for wouldn't be there. So the only way he could back out, and still give A-Rod the largest contract in sports history was to get the Yankees back into the game. The only way that could have been done was to come up with the story that has played out. That heart was more important than money.

The problem with this argument is that there's no way that Boras would have already discovered that the market was dry for A-Rod. Sure, Angels owner Arte Moreno might have scoffed at $30 million, but so does every owner in the early going. "I can't afford it" comes 10 times before the buckling. The owners know this. Boras knows this.

I want to add a final disclaimer. If A-Rod does not sign with the Yankees and Boras gets back in the game and the number becomes greater than $28 million a year, I still won't believe that this was a negotiating tactic to get the number that Boras thought he wouldn't get otherwise.

Why? Because the legacy of Scott Boras is more tied to Alex Rodriguez than any other player. And if A-Rod does this deal without Boras--who apparently tried to do his job of getting maximum dollars--that can't be worth the future money that Boras could lose from players who were turned off from this episode.

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