Even agent Scott Boras couldn’t believe what he heard leaving his mouth on Monday at Major League Baseball’s winter meetings.
“I’ve been in this game a long time,” Boras said while reflecting at the end of the day. “I’ve made my share of ridiculous claims. Remember, I’m the guy who compared Oliver Perez to Sandy Koufax last winter. Some of the stuff I said today, though…wow.”
Boras said he first realized he was in rare form while touting the virtues of free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre to a small group of general managers during a morning coffee break.
“The great thing about statistics is that most of these guys forget to go back and verify what I say. So sometimes you can fudge the numbers a little to support a player,” Boras explained.
Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. was one of the executives who heard Boras’ pitch, and he left impressed.
“Never in a million years would I have thought that Beltre’s career through age 30 was actually superior to what Mike Schmidt had done at the same age. Somehow Scott had the numbers to back it up, though,” Amaro said.
GMs found Boras’ claim that in 2009 Beltre had the highest VRGO ever for a third baseman particularly compelling. If any of them realized that VRGO was a statistic Boras had only made up a few minutes earlier they didn’t appear to care.
“Can you believe that?” Boras crowed. “I don’t even know what VRGO could possibly stand for, but it sounds like a real statistic, doesn’t it? That probably made Adrian an extra five mil.”
Boras was further shocked by some of the things he said in support of his recently unemployed clients.
“It’s one thing to say that Johnny Damon projects to still have 20-homer power in four years, but it’s quite another to say Rodrigo Lopez still has the stuff to be a #2 starter for a contender,” Boras admitted.
“God, did I really say that with a straight face?” Boras wondered aloud.
Although Boras may amaze even himself at times with his utter lack of shame when discussing his clients, the players love him for it.
“Does Scott inflate his clients’ performance a bit? Sure, but that’s just what makes him the best,” said free-agent reliever Scott Schoeneweis, who Boras compared to a left-handed Mariano Rivera, the second coming of Goose Gossage, and “Jesus Christ, only with a better slider” at various points throughout the afternoon.
Boras was particularly incredulous about some of the claims he made in the infamous three-ring binders of statistics he gives teams detailing his clients’ performances and values.
“This is sort of embarrassing, but I forgot to make a binder for (free agent infielder) Felipe Lopez,” Boras confided. “I didn’t realize it until I got to the winter meetings this morning, though, and by then I didn’t have time to write one.”
At this point, Boras said he knew he had to get creative.
“Sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s not really a lie if it’s printed on three-hole-punch paper, so I found A-Rod’s old binder and changed the words ‘Alex Rodriguez’ to ‘Felipe Lopez’ throughout the entire document. I figured I was just buying myself some time, but then [Royals GM] Dayton Moore told me he hadn’t even known Lopez was such a threat to break the all-time home run record. He asked if we’d be interested in a deal in the six-year, $90 million range.”
“His exact words were ‘This is someone I could see benching Yuniesky Betancourt for,’” the dumbfounded Boras said. “I can’t believe it. I’m not sure if I’ll even be able to look my kids in the eye after that one.”