MLB's biggest agent rips the league's 'noncompetitive cancer'

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Baseball super agent Scott Boras is upset with MLB teams’ not spending money on free agents, saying it’s bad for the game.

It’s also bad for his bank account, of course.

But in an interview with The Athletic that ran Thursday, Boras claimed he is more concerned about the “noncompetitive cancer” that is threatening the integrity of the game.

It’s been an extremely uneventful offseason as far as free agent signings. Most of the top free agents on the market remained unsigned, including several who Boras represents: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, Diamondbacks outfielder J.D. Martinez, Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta and Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas.

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A big reason, according to a report from Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan earlier this month, is Boras himself.

“There are a variety of factors that could explain the operation of the market. We can say that without a doubt collusion is not one of them. It’s difficult to pinpoint a single cause, but it certainly is relevant that an agent who has a long track record of going late into the market controls many of the top players,” MLB officials told Passan.

But Passan uncovered what he believes to be another truth, that there’s been a shift in the way teams view free agents.

“What’s clear is the free-agent impasse represents a reckoning long in the making — one that marries shifting power in labor relations, the emergence of analytics and cookie-cutter front offices, and the willingness of teams to treat competitiveness as an option, not a priority,” he wrote.

Do you think Scott Boras is right?

“Combined, they pose the greatest threat to a quarter century of labor peace and have people at the highest level of the sport asking whether a game-changing overhaul in how baseball operates isn’t just necessary but inevitable.”

Which brings us back to Boras’ comments to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal on Thursday. He’s upset that teams are raking in record profits but are unwilling to unloosen the purse strings.

“I do my job. I care for my clients. I am spending every waking hour trying to bring attention to owners so they act with integrity,” Boras told Rosenthal, as reported by ESPN. “Certainly I want them to sign my clients.

“But I’m trying to get them to act with integrity. Winning is the cement of baseball integrity.”

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He implied that teams aren’t trying to win because they are refusing to overpay for less-than-great players.

“We kicked people out of the game when they tried to not win,” Boras said, referring to the White Sox scandal of 1919 where players were accused of throwing the World Series.

“We have to get rid of the noncompetitive cancer. We can’t go to our fan bases and sell the promise of losing to win later. That is destructive to our sport because it has removed one-third of the competition,” Boras said.

What he calls noncompetitve cancer, others, like the Marlins, call rebuilding for the future.

Maybe the better question is: Is this class of free agents worth what they’re asking?

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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