Walkoff Woodward

Concerning Detroit Baseball
November 27, 2012

The Tigers are Basically Slaves to Scott Boras

There is a giant building that Scott Boras owns. In its vast domain is an explicit library filled with DVDs and Photographs, and perhaps even some VHS tapes of random Owners and General Managers in Major League Baseball doing things that are most certainly embarrassing. Mike Ilitch, it turns out, has a whole wing dedicated to him.

When Scott Boras needs something done he enters the wing, plucks out a small piece of blackmail and sends it to Mike Ilitch’s AOL address. With this information he has afforded Tiger contracts to Pudge Rodriguez, Magglio Ordonez, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Damon and, most recently, Prince Fielder. 

Of course, you may look at those names and say that they all basically worked out, with the caveat being Prince Fielder who will most certainly be extremely overpaid withing five years, but that’s not really the point here, if there is a point.

Boras has been known to hold meetings with owners about certain players when the market hasn’t responded the way he wants to, and it usually works out in his favor because Scott Boras is smarter than most people and Scott Boras is a wizard. He proved this with the Johnny Damon signing in 2010. No one wanted to sign the old dude and he certainly wasn’t going to get the $8m that he eventually got from the Tigers, who arguably didn’t even need a left fielder at the time. He ended up being worth the money they invested when he produced a 2.6 bWAR but the Boras got what he aimed for and ensnared Mike Ilitch in his beady little black eyeball web of danger.

From Ilitch’s mouth after the signing of Prince Fielder for over a fifth of a billion dollars:

“As far as Scott Boras, boy, I’ll tell you something: He knows this team better than I do. I mean, he knows every player, what their averages are, where they’re from, what they’ve done during their career, who leads the team, what areas are necessary. He just knows everything about the Detroit Tigers. I was flabbergasted. I mean, utility players, everybody, we went through a big discussion and pointed out to me that some of the things that he thought were necessary to win a World Series. He explained why and so on and so forth. There was great salesmanship involved with that, but the guy is an encyclopedia when it comes to knowing the teams and knowing the people that are associated with the organization.

“I got a lot of good information from him. I put the sales aside and I listened to the common-sense approach that he has and the knowledge he has about the game.”


Enter the reported discussion that Ilitch had with Boras on Monday about Free Agent closer Rafael Soriano who opted out of the last year of his contract with the Yankees earlier this winter…a salary worth $14m and is looking for something in the ballpark of four years and $60m, which is like, uh, highway robbery or something.

Anyway, no one really knows what happened in the phone conversation but Scott Boras and Mike Ilitch. They could have talked about quality of Little Caesar pizza or a gambling debt at the MGM Grand for all we know. Boras could have simply said “Hey, Mike I’m going to tell them we talked about Rafael Soriano in hopes that some bozo team will be like ‘hey we need to sign this guy before the Tigers do!’. Is that cool?” And Ilitch could have responded, “Sure, sure, and no I’m not going to add a $5 veggie pizza to our menu so stop asking!”. Of course, Boras could have told him a bunch of math and science and blown his mind all of the kitchen table regarding the talents of Rafael Soriano and Ilitch would have gotten back on the phone with Dave Dombrowski and ordered him to sign Soriano to a six year $90m contract.

We just don’t know.

Anyway, Dombrowski responded, by way of Jason Beck, who has updated this magical nonsense on his blog regarding the closing situation:

[UPDATE: Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski does not talk about specific free agents. However, he affirmed his team's stance in response to a question Tuesday afternoon. They still plan to give hard-throwing rookie Bruce Rondon a chance to win the closer's job, and it would have to be the right scenario for the Tigers to add a closer.

"Our outlook has not changed," Dombrowski replied in an email.]

The Tigers do not have a closer. The Tigers are going to give Bruce Rondon an opportunity this spring. The Tigers have money. The Tigers are frequent customers of Scott Boras. Scott Boras needs to get the market excited about an expensive closer. Scott Boras owns a phone. Scott Boras calls people on this phone. Scott Boras calls Mike Ilitch on this phone. Mike Ilitch is the person who controls the money that they Tigers have. Mike Ilitch is blown away by how much Scott Boras knows about the Tigers players. Mike Litich doesn’t really care about money. Mike Ilitch really cares about winning. Scott Boras knows the Tigers don’t really have a closer. Scott Boras knows the Tigers really want to win the World Series before…time runs out.

This is the off season. We don’t have much to talk about besides Scott Boras shenanigans. But the Tigers have Dave Dombrowski who is really good at throwing shenanigans in the toilet. I guess this all comes down to a question of whether Mike Ilitch is sitting on the toilet or not when he tries to deflect this one.

  • beelza

    I am a fan that attends 10 games or less a year and really wants vengeance for the embarrassment of last season’s sweep at the hands of San Fran. Ilitch has created a NHL dynasty, a pro sports dynasty. Does this not count for anything even though baseball and hockey are fundamentally different niche markets and biz. models? I suggest that the two are at least positively correlated. The Tigers manager is 1 for 9 in world series games with the Tigers. This concerns me way more than Scott Boras and player salary. I want the Tigers to win a world series and in the championship pro sports arena Ilitch has stockpiled massive amounts of equity. Btw, I really do enjoy this blog, it’s perspective and insight. I want a winner.

    • http://www.walkoffwoodward.com/ Josh Worn

      I’m in no way critical of Mike Ilitch. As a fan I don’t think I would ever want a different owner and he has certainly spoiled us for years with the RW and now with the Tigers. This was more of a goofy exercise in the middle of a mostly boring off season. Welcome to Walkoff Woodward where our humor is as dry as a desert tree!

      • beelza

        Cheers. I was trying to evoke responses from wow staff, participants, readers et al. Obviously, I fell short. Thanks for your response. Cheers.

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