Just when the Angels thought it was safe to go back into the free agency waters... bum, bum, BUM!!! Scott Boras strikes!!!
Arte Moreno's long-time nemesis and the world's most ironic season ticket holder is once again butting heads with Angels management. Boras has burnt the Halos in the past, but can we expect anything different from the Evil Overlord of Sports Agents this time around?
The Angels must once again attempt to deal with the devil himself.
This Angel off-season didn't seem like it could get any worse, Scott Boras had to decide to rear his demonic head and start screwing with the Angels' off-season plan. If it were any other agent, Adrian Beltre would be picking out a locker in Angel Stadium right now, but for some unknown reason, Scott Boras seems to derive some twisted pleasure over breaking the Angels' balls year after year.
First, he squeezed the Angels for every last cent after they drafted Jered Weaver. Sure, Weaver eventually signed, but not before Boras' negotiation tactics rubbed the front office's collective ass raw first. After a few years, that could have all just been water under the bridge. Until Mark Teixeira happened, that is.
If the Halos had anything nice left to say about Boras after the Weaver dealings, they were long, long gone after he played the Angels for pawns in the Teixeira contract talks, using them to drive up the price on Tex but without ever giving them a shot to close the deal. After that, Boras went from a thorn in the side to persona non grata.
With this latest stunt in dragging out the Beltre negotiations, it would seem that Boras is just looking to stick it to the Halos yet again. His MO is to either hold the Angels over a barrel until they cave, even though he seemingly has no leverage, or maybe just keep waiting around until he can dupe some other team into accepting his asking price. Well, I got news for Mr. Boras. It isn't going to happen this time.
Boras may be a conniving son of a bitch, but he isn't an idiot. For now, the Beltre discussions appear to still be amiable, but only barely. But if Boras overplays his hand by even the slightest bit right now, he is going to push the Angels over the edge and they may never be willing to deal with him again. That may seem like a blessing in disguise to Angel fans, but for Boras, it would be awfully bad for business.
Only four franchises have ever spent so much on their payroll that they were forced to pay the luxury tax: the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and, you guessed it, the Angels. What that says about the Halos is that they are amongst the biggest spenders in all of baseball. Sure, they can be tightfisted at times, but most seasons they have plenty of cash to throw around and that isn't an enemy that even Scott Boras can afford to make. As the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer in Major League Baseball, Boras' classic gambit of playing one big spender off another is becoming increasingly difficult. The last thing he wants is to eliminate one of those big spenders from the equation. And that is exactly what is going to happen if Boras bones over the Halos once again.
The threat of that prospect isn't going to stop Boras from twisting the Angels' sack a little bit in the process, like he is with this guaranteed sixth year nonsense, but now that he can see that Arte Moreno and company are ready to turn this into a battle of wills, I suspect he is going to take a dive on this one in order to preserve his tenuous relationship with the team so that he can, well, let's be honest, screw them over some other time.
Before we start any pre-emptive celebratory dances, let's not forget that this cuts both ways. As much as Arte Moreno would probably love to stick it to Scott Boras, he too must remember that this is far from the last time the two sides shall ever do business again. Let us not forget that the Angels two best players, Jered Weaver and Kendry Morales, are both represented by Mr. Boras. Yes, as the title of this post says, these two heavyweights are only in round 3 of their bout and, last time I checked, most championship boxing matches go at least 12 rounds. We're going to be doing this dance for quite some time. So long as nobody reaches across the negotiating table and knocks the other one out first.