Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Is Adrian Beltre heading for Coop?
Last week, Scott Boras made some fairly amazing claims about Adrian Beltre, and WEEI.com's Alex Speier took things from there:
"You can look at [Mike] Schmidt’s career or George Brett’s career or [Paul] Molitor’s career in the case of Beltre," said Boras. "He’s performed at levels that are commensurate with them from 25-31. You would expect that those players’ performances at the position from 32-38 was also at very solid levels you would expect from players of that ilk. ...
"A player like Adrian, who has remarkable numbers, you get to use the names of Molitor, Brett, Schmidt, Chipper Jones, Wade Boggs, and say, ‘Look, between the ages of 25-31, this player has played at the level of these players, and he’s actually a better defender.’"
All of that qualifies as lofty company, of course. Schmidt, Brett, Molitor and Boggs are all Hall of Famers; Jones will almost certainly follow them there.
I should mention in passing that Mike Schmidt was an outstanding third baseman. Not that Gold Gloves are everything, but right after turning 31, Schmidt won his sixth straight Gold Glove. Beltre has won two of them, when he was 28 and 29.
Anyway, that's just Boras being Boras. I'm sure he knows that Mike Schmidt was a great defensive player. I'm sure he also knows that Beltre, even with his glovework, hasn't been the player that Brett or Schmidt or Jones or Boggs was (something that Alex Speier shows quite convincingly, and at great length if you're interested).
What I always wonder -- what I wonder every November, when he does this -- is why Boras goes to so much trouble to say things that so obviously are not true.
Does he really think he's going to fool us? I don't think even the most foolish of baseball writers believe that Adrian Beltre belongs in a group with Mike Schmidt and George Brett. Nobody born before 1980, anyway.
Does he really think he's going to fool the teams? Not many of them, I think. And the great majority of the teams with enough money to sign Adrian Beltre are plenty smart enough to see right through Boras's flimflammery.
I think he does it because a big part of his business is flattering the clients. He's got a huge team of people putting the numbers together, and once you've got the numbers it's a simple thing to turn Adrian Beltre into a future Hall of Famer if that's what you're trying to do. Maybe these ridiculous comparisons create a tiny bit of buzz that helps drive demand for his client. But more, I think, Boras wants his client to feel special, and nothing says you're special like abject flattery.
So when you read Scott Boras saying these crazy things, just remember that we're not really his audience. His real audience is one wealthy man who's about to get substantially wealthier.