Say what you want about Scott Boras (and many have), but he does make the off-season more interesting — or at least, he does if you happen to root for the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, or about three other teams. And it appears that phase one of his evil-genius plan for winter 2009 is underway. We'll call this the "hype" phase.
The premier free agent in the Scott Boras Cavalcade of Stars this year is Matt Holliday, a left-fielder who just happens to be available when several traditionally big-spending teams need a left-fielder. The Mets plan on meeting with Boras before the GM meetings end today, and Boras has made it known that he considers Holliday a "franchise player" who deserves a contract similar to the one he negotiated last year for Mark Teixeira. Boras would also like to remind you that the Yankees signed Teixeira and then won the World Series. (Presumably, he'd like you to ignore all the other all-stars they fielded. Or that Teixeira isn't the Yankees' franchise player.) From the Daily News:
"Last year we had one club that went out and made a commitment to a franchise player and they won a world championship," Boras said, referring to Teixeira and the Yankees. " ... I think Matt Holliday is another player like that in this marketplace."
If we may translate a bit here, he's basically saying this to the Mets (or whoever else is listening): Are you ready to buy a championship, or are you okay with losing because you didn't sign Matt Holliday?
Of course, Holliday isn't the only Boras client who's looking to get paid this winter. Master of the one-man double-steal Johnny Damon is a free agent, too, and while the Yankees debate whether they're interested in bringing back the 36-year-old for another season or two, Boras wants it to be known that he's got bigger things in mind. Namely, he thinks Damon deserves a contract similar to whatever Derek Jeter will eventually receive.
To justify this, Boras cherry-picks some statistics that show Damon as being comparable to Jeter, and argues that batting Damon behind Jeter enabled the captain to have such a good year. Plus, age is just a number:
"Chronological age does not have anything to do with a player of his genetics. Certainly you have to look at the Yankees' history and what they've paid players of his like age who maybe did not have his genetics."
If we may translate once again, he's basically saying this to the Yankees: You've signed aging players to some questionable long-term contracts in the past, so why stop now?