Courtesy of USA Today

Does the Orioles' success bank of Wieters?

The at-times “chilly relationship between agent Scott Boras and the Baltimore Orioles has been well documented over the years. Many people argue that the Orioles don’t want to play Boras’ game, and that’s almost a death sentence in today’s MLB. I would submit that Boras can be tough to deal with, although I’ll grant you that I’ve never actually met the man. However I suppose to his credit he pulls out any stops necessary to get the best deals for his clients. For instance, in 1996 he used an obscure provision in the MLB draft rules to have two of his clients declared free agents after they were drafted by the Giants and ChiSox respectively. Both players later signed with the expansion Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. (That rule has since been changed, specifically due to Boras.)

One mark of a Boras client is that they legendarily tend not to sign extensions. Boras would rather his clients hit the open market and then get the best deal from any team as opposed to “risking” the act of taking a hometown discount. His thought is that signing an extension with one’s original team is probably going to net the player less than he would get on the open market. The impression of course is that Boras “plays favorites” in the Yankees and Red Sox. I would think that’s probably not the case; Boras plays favorites on a case-by-case basis with whomever pays his clients the most. They just happen to be two of those teams.

Both Chris Davis and Matt Wieters are Boras clients, so somewhat of a showdown between Boras and the Orioles is on the horizon. The O’s took a great first step in offering a $10.25 million contract for Chris Davis two weeks ago that Boras jumped on. That establishes somewhat of a lifeline between the two sides. However for the time being it appears that the O’s are headed to arbitration with Matt Wieters. Now ultimately I don’t think it’ll end up there, however another mark of Scott Boras is that he doesn’t forget. I take that back – he seems to have a short memory when people accomodate him. So if he comes away with the perception that the Orioles are low-balling his client (Wieters), it might well erase any good tidings that came from Davis’ contract.

Ideally, the Orioles could just offer both players much-better-than-fair contract extensions to make Boras think a bit. However if Boras ends up in an offended state of mind due to Wieters’ contract, does he even take Dan Duquette’s call if it comes? One would hope so. One would also hope that he might find just a bit of rationality in a sense given that if the Orioles’ offer is that good he’ll take it. The risk of course is that five minutes after either player is a free agent they’re signed with another team with the Orioles’ offer (from who knows how long ago) having been used as leverage to get a higher price from another team.

While Boras might come off as a bit vengeful at times, he is a decent businessman. So I’m not sure he’d just leave the Orioles hanging on either player without calling back to see if they have another offer. But my point is that it might behoove the Orioles to play ball with Boras just a bit on Wieters, as disgraceful as it might seem. For the record, Mark Texeira’s contract comes off of New York’s books the same year as Davis is a free agent. Davis is probably a player the Orioles can’t afford to lose.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Chris Davis Matt Wieters

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