We all knew that this offseason belong to Scott Boras and the Boras Corp.
With the culmination of the gigantic Gerrit Cole deal, Boras banked in once again. Combine this mega-deal, with the representation of most of the free agent class, Boras and his team will be handling over a billion dollars in earnings this winter.
Combine another insane offseason and taking the spending pool on free agents even further with Marvin Miller finally getting into the Hall of Fame for his work for the players, the question becomes if Boras will eventually reside in Cooperstown as well.
There is no question that Boras has changed the futures of so many with his negotiation skills and his knowledge of the supply and demand side of the game. Boras is hated by the owners, but absolutely adored by the families and great-great-great grandkids of the families he has set up for generations.
Miller was a leader in the players rights role and unionizing them. This changed the fate of the game forever, and was a fight finally won that the players had been fighting for nearly a century.
Boras helped make the rich even richer at this point. But in doing so, he has also taken the game to new heights. Boras changed the market over and over again, most recently for pitchers and Cole. He changed the face of the game with the 10-year, $252 million deal he negotiated for Alex Rodriguez in 2001. In 2001, there were only three teams – Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers – spending over $100 million per year.
Prior to that, the season before, Boras negotiated a deal to get right-hander Kevin Brown $15.7 million, earning him the highest paid player and pitcher. In just 20 years, Boras pitching clients are making more than twice as much. The game has gotten more popular and money is streaming in like crazy, but it is hard to say that the payouts would not inflate the same without Boras.
In fact, the highest paid player in 1997 was making less than $10 million per season. That buys you an aging reclamation pitcher at very best in the current market.
However, just negotiating these deal and contributing how he has is not enough to make Boras a Hall of Famer as a contributor. The money would have gone astronomical regardless of who pushed it there.
Fox and ESPN, along with other networks and the money that they throw at rights to distribute games is the real difference maker here. Not coincidentally, television began to explode about the same time that salaries did.
On the opposite side, owners will try to bank as much cash as they can. The Marlins, Orioles, Pirates, etc. are prime examples of this. There is a tough shark needed to push these owners to spend what they already do not want to. Boras was perfect for this role. He has convince folks to sit when he feels they need to.
At the same time, I just cannot consider Boras on the same level as where Miller was. Miller had an uphill fight with powerful ownership that have always been set in their way and against change. Additionally, they had complete ownership over players and their rights since the 1800s. Miller led the charge and created the Player Union. He not only paved the road, he blazed the trail to get it where it is today. That is where the players actually have the upper hand.
Boras took advantage of this upper hand and the benefits of teams making more money to elevate the earnings. Again, what he did has been amazing, but it is just not Hall of Fame worthy.