Josh Brattain of The Hardball Times does as good a job as one can do in poking a gaping hole in “superagent” Scott Boras’ ridiculously overinflated estimation of A-Rod’s worth on the free agent market.
Brattain’s big point is that A-Rod was actually worth the truckload of diamonds Tom Hicks forked over in 2000, because he was a rock solid shortstop who at 25 had accomplished more than any other infielder in baseball history.
Now, he’s a 32-year-old masher with an average glove at third base. Can he hit? Absolutely. But why are we talking about “ownership” money instead of “great player” money?
Speaking of comparables, what about this one?
Regular season (2004-2007)Player BA OBP SLG HR David Ortiz: .302 .403 .612 208 Alex Rodriguez: .302 .391 .578 220
Post season (2004-2007)Player BA OBP SLG HR David Ortiz: .381 .500 .735 9 Alex Rodriguez: .245 .343 .380 4
Is Rodriguez’ defense and base running worth $20 million?
Oh, there’s more.
In fact, A-Rod’s offensive numbers don’t really stand out that much. Here’s Brattain channeling a GM talking to Boras:
He will decline offensively, he will decline defensively, and he will steal fewer bases. You like using numbers Mr. Boras, so you might be interested in this one: After Rodriguez’s monster year, his career OPS+ is 147. Ten players are right around that—five above and five below. The five in front are Frank Thomas, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Vladmir Guerrero and Jason Giambi. The five just behind him are Lance Berkman, Miguel Cabrera, Todd Helton, Chipper Jones and Gary Sheffield. In the cases of Thomas, Ramirez, Thome and Giambi, this includes a good chunk of their decline phase—something Rodriguez has yet to begin.
When you consider that A-Rod will make most of his money with his bat, well, there are 10 hitters in his neighborhood—are any of them looking for a 10-year/$300 million contract? Of course not. That’s absurd.
Of course Boras has been selling A-Rod not just as a hitter, but as the cornerstone of a revenue-driving cable contract draw for any team willing to invest in his services. Boras is relying here on the marketability of A-Rod. And marketability is all about perception. And Brattain has something to say there as well:
After the Red Sox won the World Series, Boston fans were chanting that they preferred Mike Lowell to Rodriguez.
Quite frankly, while Alex has kept his nose clean for the most part, he is generally perceived as being as phony as a three-dollar bill. This isn’t Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky you’re selling here. Ortiz is on a whole different level of marketability; ‘Big Papi’ is better liked, is now a World Series legend and makes $13 million a year.
Here’s the perception: There is another player who isn’t well liked by fans. His name is Barry Bonds. When folks want to make fun of Bonds, they take his picture and Photoshop either a large head or these comic book superhero type arms onto him. When they wish to make fun of your client they put him in high heels and holding a purse. One is called Barroid, the other ‘Slappy.’ Do you see the problem here?
Go read the whole thing.
And since we haven’t linked to it before, though it’s the clear endorsement of Pax Arcana, click here to sign the online petition to encourage the Red Sox to re-sign Mike Lowell.
Battling Boras [The Hardball Times]