(An amazing sight from my recent California sojourn: Elephant seals by the dozens lolling on the beach near San Simeon).
Well, I’m back from a two-week vacation, and not much has changed: We’re all still waiting breathlessly to see where Prince Fielder lands. And to see what other options the Mariners will pursue to improve their 95-loss ballclub if Fielder gets away (and I’ve always characterized that pursuit as a longshot; I still feel that way, as rumors grow that the Washington Nationals are/will be a major player for Fielder). The Mariners are currently being linked to Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, but I think most fans are waiting to see what they do about the two-time defending worst offense in baseball.
I’ve seen speculation that the longer the Fielder negotiations drag out, the more it’s indicative that the market for him has dried up, or agent Scott Boras can’t find the deal he wants.
I wouldn’t be so sure about that. As I wrote during the winter meetings, when there was similar talk, my money is always on Boras. His track record for consummating jaw-dropping contracts is simply too well established to doubt his ability to get the deal he wants.
You know what else is well-established in the Boras playbook? Waiting until January, or beyond, to sign his top-level clients. Not always — he also likes to make a splash at the winter meetings (see Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Brown, Darren Dreifort, Jayson Werth, et al). But Boras also likes to wait out the other signings — often accompanied by speculation (or wishful thinking) that the market for said client is collapsing. And then, sometime after New Year’s, boom, here comes the patented Boras blockbuster. Note that Fielder isn’t the only high-profile Boras client who remains on the market. So do, among others, Edwin Jackson, Ryan Madson, Carlos Pena and Johnny Damon, all of whom will get nice contracts.
Here is just a partial list of some of Boras’s past deals in January or later:
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: seven years, $120 million, Jan. 8, 2010
Carlos Beltran, Mets: seven years, $119 million, Jan. 13, 2005
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: eight years, $180 million, Jan. 6, 2009
Magglio Ordonez, Tigers: seven years, $105 million, Feb. 7, 2005
Manny Ramirez, Dodgers: two years, $45 million, March 4, 2009
Derek Lowe, Dodgers: four years, $36 million, Jan. 11, 2005
Derek Lowe, Braves: four years, $60 million, Jan. 13, 2009
Adrian Beltre, Red Sox: one year, $10 million, Jan. 4, 2010
Adrian Beltre, Rangers: six years, $96 million, Jan. 5, 2011
Rafael Soriano, Yankees: three years, $35 million, Jan. 18, 2011
J.D. Drew, Red Sox: five years, $70 million, Feb. 14, 2007
Johnny Damon, Tigers: one year, $8 million, Feb. 22, 2010
Johnny Damon, Rays: one year, $5.25 million, Jan. 31, 2011
I still expect a jaw-dropping deal for Prince Fielder.