Scott Boras, of all people, has shown Cora the light.
“Scott and I talked about it and he said if you keep your legs and range, you’re going to keep making money,” the Sox utility infielder said. “I turned 31, but if I keep doing what I’m doing, there will be a few options out there, not breaking the bank, but making some money.”
The words of wisdom from Cora’s agent, which came after he signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Red Sox, led the infielder to change his ways. Using the online guidance of Boras’ conditioning director, Steve Odgers, the Boston infielder altered his eating habits (most notably, cutting out beer and rice), while staying loyal to Odgers’ offseason workouts.
After playing for much of last season at 200 pounds, the 6-foot Cora shot up to 205 immediately after the season. At last check, however, his weight had dipped to 191 with his body-fat percentage dipping from 14 percent last year to 10.
Cora’s journey back to fitness began with Boras, was kick started by Odgers and continued thanks to Cruz, who began working with Cora on Nov. 1 and hasn’t stopped since.
“Scott was the one who mentioned it,” Cora said. “He said, ‘You see this contract we got? This is why we got it.’ I already mentioned I wanted to lose a little weight, and he said that was a good idea. Now I feel good.
“(Boras) just mentioned I could get one more two-year deal, or two more, and then we can go year by year. It all depends on if I can keep my range.”
Then, of course, there is that other factor when signing up Boras … getting the money. But it’s more than that. In many players’ eyes it’s about the belief that this guy will somehow navigate around sometimes enormous obstacles to make their situation appreciably better.
When Julian Tavarez was looking at the potential of having the Red Sox control his existence with a team option, leaving the pitcher feeling like he might be missing out on a payday as a starter for another team, he had his focus on Boras. The conversation went something like this …
“They can control you. They have final say.”
“Yeah,” Tavarez responded, smiling, “but I have Scott.”
Reality be darned, this was the perception. Boras means more than legally binding documents.
Of course there is another example, Manny Ramirez. Starting in August 2007, Ramirez had asked his then-agent, Greg Genske, to find out if the Red Sox had planned to pick up his option after 2008. That morphed into a desire to at least meet with the Sox brass to broach the subject following the ’08 campaign. When no headway was made, Ramirez turned to the agent he believed would break free of the lingering nothingness and get the job done — Boras.
The player whose existence was perceived as silence and uncertainty all of a sudden became a stream of sound bites, most of which included some reference to the new dream of a six-year deal. The transformation was no coincidence.
And, at the end of the day, the heart of the Ramirez case offers the most succinct answer as to Boras is consistently wooed by pro ballplayers, young and old. The other stuff is nice — and fairly fascinating — but at the end of the day he gets them the money. End of story.