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Friday, September 01, 2006
Boras Almost "Steals" Another One

Four months ago, I discussed the merits of a complaint filed with the MLBPA against Scott Boras by Jim Munsey, the agent for Atlanta Braves catching prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia, for soliciting his client in violation of MLBPA agent regulations. Boras' solicitation efforts involving the Braves prospect were ultimately unsuccessful, but I'm told by a reliable source that the fallout of Munsey's complaint was that the union (not surprisingly) just simply told Boras to stop doing it. Well, as one would expect, that didn't create any deterrence for Boras to stop soliciting other agents' clients.

Early last week, ESPN reporter Jerry Crasnick (and author of the book License to Deal) wrote that Carlos Lee, one of the top offensive players on the free-agent market this winter, informed the Texas Rangers that he was leaving his agent of eight years, Adam Katz, for Boras. However, just two days later, Crasnick reported that Lee changed his mind and went back to Katz. Crasnick's article begins by stating that Lee can expect to receive a multiyear contract this winter for at least $60M and then he poignantly notes, "The question is, which agent is going to collect the commission?"

Crasnick is right on, because that's what it's all about. The commission fee arrangement in the sports agent business is what fuels client solicitation and other agent misconduct. In fact, the economics are such that agents have a huge incentive to solicit and make all kinds of false promises to prospective clients. Think about it. If Boras makes a nominal investment in trying to land Lee as a client and just negotiates one contract for Lee this winter, Boras' standard 5% commission lands him a handsome $3M fee! So why wouldn't Boras and other agents have the incentive to spend a few grand soliciting (sorry, I mean "recruiting") Lee and doing what ever it takes to represent him? I discuss this issue in depth in my forthcoming article in the Willamette Law Review, which will be released in the upcoming weeks.


Are these kinds of solicitations ever going to lead to more strict regulations, whether by policy or by professional leagues?

Blogger WMUpsci_student -- 9/01/2006 2:49 PM  

FACT (but widely unknown): Scott Boras' other clients, teammates of the "recruitee," help Boras steal.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 9/01/2006 4:42 PM  

Rick :

While I applaud you and agree with you for the most part regarding Boras,and other unscrupulous agents, I do not agree with you entirely regarding the necessity for more regulations.

I'm of that opinion after seeing the NFLPA add one regulation after another , only making it more difficult for good people to break into the industry while those already in it are not deterred at all. Further, several years ago while writing an opinion style column for, I was of the viewpoint that more regulations are necessary and maybe one or two wouldn't hurt, but not to the ridiculous degree the NFLPA has gone to.

And, the 5 % commission is not exactly "standard", as, any agent can and surely some do, charge LESS than that, it's not locked in.

But, why does Boras need to go to such lenghts when he's already made a ton of cask !?

Anonymous Dave Burkey -- 9/01/2006 7:01 PM  


First, I don't necessarily advocate for more regulation. I actually think unions need to take a much more proactive role, which I discuss in my article. But current union regulations do permit solicitation. One thing I do know is that if the regulations permit it, it's DEFINITELY going to continue.

Secondly, I know that 5% is not the industry standard. In my post, I said "Boras'" standard 5%.

Blogger Rick Karcher -- 9/01/2006 7:45 PM  

Rick :

I stand corrected, sorry. I realized that mistake myself after rereading it. You did say, "Boras" standard 5%. Some people might assume however that is the industry standard which of course is not necessarily the case.

I'm all for the MLBPA being more proactive just as long as they don't start getting ridiculous as the NFLPA has done.

By the way, I would really like to read your article, as well as previous ones. You will let us know when it's finished and of its availability ?

Anonymous Dave Burkey -- 9/02/2006 9:36 PM  


Good point about fees. Industry standard is around 3% in baseball. Boras is able to charge as much he does because the MLBPA imposes no fee cap like the NFLPA does.

Thanks for your interest in my article. The Willamette Law Review staff informs me that it is in the proofing stages with the publisher. It will be accessible on the Sports Law Blog home page (where the other contributor articles are posted) soon.

Blogger Rick Karcher -- 9/03/2006 8:44 AM  

Thanks Rick, will be looking forward to the article.

Anonymous Dave Burkey -- 9/05/2006 10:49 PM  



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