Boras: Unprecedented market for Adrian Beltre, and why Jayson Werth is the second coming of Dwight Evans
|11.11.10 at 9:26 pm ET|
Agent Scott Boras, who represents several key free agents this offseason, appeared on MLB Network Radio’s Inside Pitch on Sirius XM Radio. Boras discussed the expected market for several of his clients, including two who are expected to be targets of the Red Sox this winter: third baseman Adrian Beltre, who punctuated his successful season in Boston on Thursday by being named the winner of the Silver Slugger Award as the top third baseman in the American League, and Jayson Werth, the Phillies outfielder whom Boras is pitching as the only player in this year’s free agent class who is a middle-of-the-order hitter capable of playing any outfield position. (He noted that Carl Crawford hit roughly half the homers of Werth over the last three years, making him more of a top-of-the-order hitter.)
Boras compared Werth to former Red Sox outfielder Dwight Evans, while positioning Beltre as a player who bears comparisons to Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt, Paul Molitor and George Brett. He described an unprecedented level of interest in Beltre’s services.
“I would have to say in my years of doing this, I’ve never had so much interest in one player,” said Boras. “I’m not sure the media quite understands what Boston did for Adrian Beltre. But I think his leadership has come to surface. We’ve had a number of teams contact us, vastly more than we ever expected. We expected a good number certainly, but there are teams wanting to move players to make room for him.”
Boras also discussed former Sox Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon.
Highlights of the Inside Pitch interview are below:
Do the Phillies have any chance at Werth? Shane Victorino said he hasn’t received an offer from the Phillies.
[Phillies GM] Ruben [Amaro] and I have had conversations. We’ll continue to have them. The best thing I can say is the dialogue continues. That’s not something I can really define at this point.
What is Werth looking at in terms of geography, chance to win, lineup, etc.?
He’s enjoyed a tremendous platform in Philadelphia because he has what I think every free agent would want. You’ve got winning, you’ve got a great fan base, a nice stadium, an area that they’re geographically happy with. All of those elements, Jayson’s lived on the West Coast, he’s lived on the East Coast, so he’s open to consideration for a lot of franchises, which really, I think, look at his role on the team. I think, hitting in the fifth spot in Philadelphia is very difficult. To have the people behind you, certainly [Ryan] Howard and [Chase] Utley enjoyed having Jayson behind them.
It’s hard to score a lot of runs. When you’re scoring 100 runs from the fifth spot, you’ve done something pretty unique. For a guy with great speed and stolen base efficiency – over the last five or six years, it’s one of the best in baseball – you’re talking about a situation for him where he’s performed very, very well offensively and frankly had very good production numbers even though he’s hitting in the fifth hole.
What are the chances of Beltre returning to Boston?
Again, I think it’s, we’ve, I would have to say in my years of doing this, I’ve never had so much interest in one player. I’m not sure the media quite understands what Boston did for Adrian Beltre. But I think his leadership has come to surface. We’ve had a number of teams contact us, vastly more than we ever expected. We expected a good number certainly, but there are teams wanting to move players to make room for him. With both these players, the metrics are so good for the longevity of their performance with the positions that they play.
In Jayson Werth’s case, you can look at Dwight Evans and see what he’s done at an age from 29-31, and you see it’s actually a little bit under what Werth’s done. He played at a very high level, averaging about 27 home runs and 100 RBIs from the age of 32-37. You can look at [Mike] Schmidt’s career or George Brett’s career or [Paul] Molitor’s career in the case of Beltre. 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. I think the metrics are there to illustrate that these are really good players, and that they’re going to be really good players for a long time.
Have you talked with the Red Sox about having both at Fenway?
I’m not going to address what specific teams are doing, but I can tell you there are a lot of teams that need an outfielder who has the versatility to play center field, play right field. These are complete players, players with Gold Glove defensive abilities at their respective positions, and they also give you middle-of-the-lineup offense. Certainly, in the marketplace, we’ve got Carl Crawford – more of a leadoff type who doesn’t have the power of a Jayson Werth. Over the last three years, you have one with 80 home runs and one with 40. They’re different types of players. For clubs looking for a middle-of-the-lineup player who can play center field and play right field, certainly having a commodity like Werth available is something that, in free agency, we don’t usually get. We usually get a corner outfielder who can perform well. But someone with that athleticism and that speed is usually not something that you get with that requisite power.
The same is true in Adrian’s case. I hear a lot of people talk about the Gold Glove voting and the acumen. You’ve got to remember that the Boston infield is one of the most treacherous in the major leagues. I’ve watched a lot of third basemen for a long time, and I’ve never seen one better than Adrian Beltre. A lot of teams recognize that, and then you add in his offensive exponential and his leadership.
This is really a free agent market, you’ve got really three or four players that can make a substantial difference on a franchise. While most pundits write that the free agent market isn’t that good, I think this is the modern free agent market, where you’re not going to have that many players reach it that often because of earlier signings, more teams can sign players right now. I think this market represents a quality of high-level free agents that can really help franchises. …
Every owner that comes in, they want to know what this type of athlete, if you have an athlete who hasn’t played that much when he was younger like Werth, how do you know that this player is going to play at the levels he’s played at for longer periods of time. These are questions that we talk about. It’s actually kind of a positive, because he was a catcher before. He didn’t play that much. His injury that prevented him from playing was a wrist injury that’s now been repaired. It doesn’t have anything to do with his legs or joints or ligaments or hips. He’s really a fresh player as far as tendons, joints and ligaments. Then you start using the examples. You go and find players that have done in the last three years at this particular level, [how] they’ve performed. That’s why I raised Dwight Evans or Moises Alou or Eddie Murray. These players have averaged 26 home runs, 90-100 RBIs, around 90 runs scored between the ages of 29-31. What did they do from the ages of 32-37 and after that? Then you can see that there are a number of players who performed at equal levels for a number of years. That’s about the best you can do to give definition to the speculative question of, ‘Well, will he or won’t he play at the levels he’s going to play?’
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.’ When you step into that, you can say, ‘What’s his chances of performing at this level from the ages of 32-38?’ Then you can give empirical data. By doing these things, the speculation part of it is based on less opinion and more substance. Our job is to try to ferret this information out, answer it substantively. It creates, I think, a better forum for negotiating. That’s probably the most difficult part of the job, because it takes a great deal of time, data and information to make that very simple exhibit so you can illustrate it to an owner so he can get a better job of what we’re talking about.
What kind of interest are you seeing in Manny Ramirez and his interest in Toronto?
I do know that Manny has a good relationship with John Farrell. He’s always liked the city of Toronto. Manny played most of the season last year with a sports hernia, kind of weathered through that and had that operation about a month or so ago, to have that fixed. We expect him to be in better health and greater strneght for the 2011 season. Again, we’re going through the standard process of free agency where I think that teams are reviewing trade options and evaluating the best they can do with the talent they have currently vs. the addition of a veteran player. I think the things that benefit Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez and players of that type is that they’ve been championship players, they played in big markets. They can go to young players whose careers are just beginning, who have a lot of expectancy associated with them, they’ve had success and now for the first time they’re being asked to repeat that success. That often doesn’t happen because there haven’t been mentors around those young players to give them a pathway where they are not out there trying to do too much to try to replicate the quality year that they’ve had. I’ve always felt those types of players are very helpful. I’ve always felt that Johnny Damon in the locker room is an extraordinary asset to every other player on the team and the manager because he has a championship attitude. … The presence of those types of players can really, really make a difference in how far a team goes in the playoffs and whether a team makes the playoffs.
You’re at all the Dodgers and Angels home games. You have three free agents capable of helping to deliver a championship to the LA teams. Have you talked with Arte Moreno?
This might come as a shock, but I’m not that provincial. I deal with all franchises equally. … Ownership’s decisions, whether it be Mark Teixeira and the Angels’ opportunity with him or the Red Sox’ opportunity with him, we certainly talk to all the teams. We do our best to illustrate that this is a franchise decision. This decision, and I represent it to the teams, you could very well be on the outside of the playoffs if you lose out on this player. You do your best as an advocate. You’re often viewed as being an advocate for the player, as well you should.
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