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Saturday, February 07, 2004

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Cash Is All It Means To Me

Scott Boras, the man who tends the burning lake, the father of lies, the king of Babylon, and all his numerous other titles, has had a bad year. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez signed, only not with the Florida Marlins where he won his first -- and now, likely only -- championship. No, Pudge signed with the lowly Detroit Tigers, a team whose 2003 season nearly set a record for futility. Pudge's $40 million contract had a number of interesting clauses about it the players' union would just as soon forget if they cannot prevent, most entertainingly that the last two years of it are not guaranteed. Bill Madden of the New York Daily News informs us such is the work of Scott Boras these days. Not only has Boras dropped Pudge nearly to the pitiful condition of the beggars in the NFL with their non-guaranteed contracts, but he blocked deals with his second (Cubs) and third (Orioles) choices, all in the name of money. So far has Boras fallen, that he's lost nine of ten arbitration cases.

It's a common thread for Boras and his clients. These contracts, it is said, are about one thing, and one thing only: "respect". See, here, in the Detroit Free Press:

The Tigers showed free-agent catcher Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez the money. A lot of it.

But they also showed him something other teams didn't -- respect.

So now comes Greg Maddux, an unquestioned great with a questionable gas tank. The Braves didn't even make an offer, so convinced were they that he -- or rather, his agent -- would spurn them. Comes the Cubs a-calling, the team he broke into the majors with, looking for the solid #5 to get them over the hump. And the Dodgers, who need spare pitching to buy some hitting. So, too, the bleak and weary Cardinals, ground to dust in a series of tough luck seasons, with no farm and little hope. Likewise the Texas Rangers of the AL East, Baltimore. Well. He's not a greedy man, he says.
"My intention is to play where I want to play and to play for a contract that's respectable," Maddux said. "I'm not out to make anyone look bad or milk 'em for that extra dime."
Do we maybe sense a pattern here? Do we maybe see the hand of the puppetmaster, catch a glint off the strings as they dance on the stage?

Boras will have him signing with St. Louis for a one-year, $4M contract after all the other clubs have given up and moved on. And at the press conference, Maddux will talk about how much respect the Cards have for him. Don't believe it.


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