• Did Boras Misplay Damon Negotiations?

    Posted by on February 5th, 2010 · Comments (8)

    He sure did. With only nine days until pitchers and catchers report, Johnny Damon is still without team, and aside from the Tigers, there does not appear to be any suitors. It also appears as though Boras is scrambling to increase the market for Damon, who would be lucky to get a two-year deal at this point in the offseason. Says Boras:

    “I still feel there is a quality market for Johnny Damon,” Boras said, “and I’m negotiating with a number of teams. There are three teams out there that if they don’t have Johnny Damon, they’re not winning the division. He’s the difference in these teams making the playoffs or not contending.”

    Aside from a few teams, most major league rosters are essentially ready for spring training. Also, the market for corner outfielders and designated hitters is extremely thin. With the Yankees out of the running, Boras’ only legitimate bargaining tool is gone and the market for Damon is shrinking every day.

    We’ve seen this happen a few times before. Back in 2007, Boras instructed Jeff Weaver to turn down a two-year deal from the Cardinals. Weaver, enjoying a revitalized career on the heels of a World Series win, was told to take a hike. He later signed a one-year deal with the Mariners, pitched poorly without the coaching of Dave Duncan and is now on a minor league contract with the Dodgers.

    Don’t forget the Alex Rodriguez “opt out” debacle. In a tremendously class move, Boras announced during the World Series that his client would leave the Yankees. A few weeks later, Rodriguez negotiated a new deal with the Yankees, sans Boras. Things worked out for Alex Rodriguez in this situation, but I’m sure that big name clients thought twice about using Boras. There have been other instances of Boras mishandling negotiations. Remember Rick Porcello? He should have been a first-round pick, if it was not for the insane contract demands. Way to get your hooks in early, Scott.

    So, file this one under “misplayed” and keep an eye out for how much money Damon gets. It sure won’t be as much as he was hoping to get back in December. If Damon would have accepted the reported two-year, $14 million deal with the Yankees, things probably would have worked out much better for him. At least one American League executive feels that way:

    “Sometimes, we ask for too much,” said the source, requesting anonymity. “Then, the smoke clears and you ask, ‘Where am I?’ And now, I can’t believe anybody is going to offer Damon more than the $14 million and $6 million the Yankees did.

    “If you turn them down for that, you deserve one year for $3 million or whatever he is going to get. In February, teams have got guys in place. My feeling is that now he is going to be lucky to get whatever he gets. It’s still supply and demand in this game. And Johnny’s arrow is in the middle or going down.”

    Hopefully other players learn from Damon’s mistake.

    Comments on Did Boras Misplay Damon Negotiations?

    1. YankCrank
      February 5th, 2010 | 11:42 am

      I’ll start this by saying what so many have said: Boras may have misplayed this, but he works for Johnny Damon and doesn’t do anything Johnny doesn’t want him to do.

      This is squarely on Johnny’s shoulders. He could be making a lot more money right now for the Yankees than he’ll wind up getting from the Tigers, Rays or any other squad.

    2. jrk
      February 5th, 2010 | 1:38 pm

      And putting up better stats (tailor-made swing for short porch in right field) – leading to more money the following year. He put up 24 homers in 2009. Prediction: Wherever he signs, he doesn’t exceed 18.

    3. MJ Recanati
      February 5th, 2010 | 3:36 pm

      Good first post, Dan.

      @ YankCrank:
      Agree completely. People neglect that the concept of agency doesn’t remove the principal from the process.

      That being said, even with any evidence of Boras’s mishandling of Damon’s contract negotiation, Boras has a much better track record of getting his clients the best deals. A few slip-ups happen to everyone and I’m pretty sure that his client satisfaction rate is still among the highest in baseball.

    4. Scout
      February 5th, 2010 | 5:53 pm

      At this point, I would not be surprised to see Damon wait until the season begins and someone goes down with an injury before signing. he has lost face in the process, which is often hard to swallow. Abreu took a low offer in 2009, played well, and parlayed that into a good deal. Possibly Damon will follow that route.

      I agree with those who say Damon shares the blame with his agent. But I have to admit, I derive some pleasure from watching Boras spin and spin and sound more absurd every week.

    5. Raf
      February 5th, 2010 | 5:57 pm

      The contract that Abreu got from the Angels was right in line with what he made last year.

      I am a bit surprised that Damon hasn’t signed anywhere yet, I mean SOMEONE has to have some sort of interest in him, if not in the OF, then as DH.

      I’d say this was a miscalculation from the Boras/Damon camp. Having said that, as MJ mentioned, Boras more often than not gets what he wants, I’d chalk this up to the law of averages.

    6. jrk
      February 5th, 2010 | 6:03 pm

      @ Scout:
      I actually would be surprised if Damon waited until the season began – this is not like a situation where a 40 something year old pitcher doesn’t have a team and can’t pitch a full season and stay healthy. How come you wouldn’t be surprised? Also, I wouldn’t say I derive pleasure in watching Boras spin, but I do find it highly comical in a sense.

    7. February 5th, 2010 | 6:08 pm

      Have to confess, there’s a part of me that wants to see Johnny Damon hit 50 HRs in the Atlantic League this year and then sign on with some big league team in August. But, I know Damon would never go the Indy route…

    8. Corey Italiano
      February 5th, 2010 | 6:39 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Have to confess, there’s a part of me that wants to see Johnny Damon hit 50 HRs in the Atlantic League this year and then sign on with some big league team in August. But, I know Damon would never go the Indy route…

      If Damon signed on with the Ducks, it would be a dream come true. The seats there are so cheap, I could go get almost face to face to formally “thank” him for 2004.

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