Dubbed Baseball’s ‘Most Hated Man’, Is Scott Boras an Unsung Hero of Players’ Rights?

Published 12/31/2023, 12:30 PM EST

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More often than not, people pick a very generic perception of a sports agent to believe in. With the constant rise in players’ salaries and the commissions that come along with that, being an agent might seem like quite a lucrative career choice to go after, with fame as a bonus. MLB’s elite of the most elite agents, Scott Boras, might embody all the golden aspects of a baseball emissary. However, years of accusations and allegations have made the man more famous than his impactful work in MLB ever has.

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Boras was once tagged as baseball’s “Most Hated Man” by the New York Times. Ironically, the same element that makes Boras the best agent a player could ever ask for is instrumental to his garnering such massive hate from the media and sometimes from the fans themselves. While his aggressiveness in demanding a high salary structure for his players might be deemed ruthless, the man has several sides to him that stay overshadowed by the shades thrown at him at almost every turn of his career. Otherwise, why would a barrage of players still flock to him despite the notoriety of the Scott Boras brand?

Scott Boras initiated the advocation for fair treatment in a sport quite unfamiliar to it

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Before Boras stepped into the MLB realm back in 1980, the agents of MLB were infamous for not representing certain athletes with a flair of fairness due to the agents’ employers being a part of both sides of a deal. After introducing The Boras Corporation, Boras used the full extent of his legal background to become an advocate entirely dedicated to baseball after he witnessed how the sport was in dire need of qualified representation and equal opportunities for the members of the industry. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg that Scott Boras keeps toppling to date.

The man owns three extensive sets of corporations under the Boras Corporation brand, according to the MIT Sloan Sports Conference. The members of the Personal Management Consultants, Boras Sports Training, and Boras Marketing work day in and day out under his leadership to ensure that all of the complications that happen on the field and outside of it are handled to the best intention of the players. And the results of it are enjoyed by Boras as much as they are enjoyed by the athletes themselves.

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Watch This Story: These Top 5 Eye-Raising MLB Contracts Will Definitely Leave You Stunned

Competitive contract terms that benefit both the players and the agent—’The Scott Boras Style’

To date, The Boras Corporation boasts of locking down about $4 billion worth of contracts for their clients, which includes several negotiations that were never seen before. With 37 World Champions in their portfolio, Boras was the biggest factor to be involved in the negotiation of the first $200 million (Alex Rodriguez), $100 million (Kevin Brown), and $50 million (Greg Maddux) contracts to occur in MLB’s history.

A-Rod’s $275 million contract was the largest to take place in the league during the 2000–2010 era. He also negotiated MLB’s first $125+ million contract for a pitcher when he clinched Barry Zito’s $126 million deal. No wonder the company was named the “most valuable single-sport agency in the world” by Forbes back in 2014! Scott didn’t stick to handling just the financial parts of the contracts, though.

Other than actively going after teams to negotiate a stiffer salary structure and flexible tenure options for his clients, Scott Boras has often played friend, philosopher, and guide to them. The man who secured the most salary arbitrations in MLB history (per MITSSC) was also instrumental in advising 89 first-round picks in the drafts that have been going on since 1983.

Boras bagging $300 million in compensation for the said drafts led to MLB’s gift of receiving Gerrit Cole with a bonus draft compensation of $8 million—the biggest signing bonus to occur in Cole’s rookie year. Boras repeated history this season when he helped MLB’s second-best draft pick, Dylan Crews, lock down a signing bonus worth a whopping $9 million with the Washington Nationals.

The Superagent’s years’ worth of history in the diamond and the deals that go outside of it have led to his amassing a fortune of $450 million. With no scarcity of wealth in his life, what still keeps the man hooked on the game is his love for the sport and foresight, which have proven to be years beyond MLB’s capacity of acceptance, time and time again.

Will it be bold enough to state that maybe most of the hate that the Superagent receives is rooted mainly in FOMO and misinterpretations on the teams’ behalf? Which team could ever sit right with the fact that the biggest legal aid in baseball works solely for the individual players and not the teams that hire them? His bold and transparent advocacy for athlete rights would not be deemed useful to any team’s benefit, either. Remember 2018?

The man who paved the way for broader implications for athlete rights

The free agency market was facing a resurgence of data analytics in 2018, according to a study jotted down by the Harvard Law School. Sabermetrics being on the rise led to many teams keeping off some of the best players available in the market due to their records that year. Boras, bold and equipped with tough love, as usual, took no time in pointing that out to the teams’ faces.

Much to Commissioner Rob Manfred’s dismay, Boras pointed fingers at the players, dismissing the teams’ “Moneyball” approach and asking them whether they were trying to secure a winning lineup or whether they were in the game to save money, given the fact that many free agents on the list that year were waiting on significant offers—some worth over $100 million—that were still pending to be finalized.

Scott Boras is famous for going over the heads of the front office executives and general managers and deciding on the particularities of the contract with the team owners themselves. Part of it was because it is easier to show the scope of a draft to the biggest stakeholder. The majority of the reason, however, depended on the fact that Boras always focuses on making a fair deal that will not be taxing on the players’ rights, regardless of how uneconomical or unbelievable that might seem to the frontrunners of the teams.

Time and time again, Boras’s mad king moves, which were otherwise deemed unprofitable by team management, brought the best inflow of revenue to the entirety of the baseball market itself. According to Pinstripe Alley, during the COVID-19 pandemic streak, Boras was busy reminding players of their indispensable worth in the game while warning team owners of the same, taking a hit at their tendency to try to clinch profit over victory at the expense of the athletes at times. He actually sent the players enrolled under his agency an email that was borderline eye-opening, as much as it was a powerful stance against the teams’ moneymaking tactics.

“Remember, games cannot be played without you…Players should not agree to further pay cuts to bail out the owners. Let owners take some of their record revenues and profits from the past several years and pay you the prorated salaries you agreed to accept or let them borrow against the asset values they created from the use of those profits players generated.”

The way Boras never steps down from calling out MLB or its teams on the selfishness portrayed in the contracts is also seen in how his decisions, along with his words, have affected the sport’s legal aspects as well.

The story of MLB’s unsung lawyer for athletes

From filing grievances against MLB to making high school GEDs affect a prospective draft pick of a player, Scott Boras serves as a menace to the officials dealing with the legal nuances of the sport. His famous J.D. Drew stint saw him try to make a free agent out of a college player—twice, not just a single time—so that Drew could get the recognition required to clinch the $10 million deal he was vying for.

Famous for using the baseball laws’ loopholes to his players’ benefit, the deal might not have gone through, but it certainly did open up MLB’s eyes to the baselessness of some of their rules, like “an amateur was someone who had not signed a professional contract,” after Boras filed a grievance against it.

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He did it once again in 1996 when he unearthed a CBA clause that stated that if the teams do not tender an offer to their players within 15 days of the draft, they have to relinquish their rights to the players. Seen as his biggest legal win so far, it showed MLB how their draft-picking policies negate player values, leading the committee to close the loophole next year.

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Scott Boras may be the Superagent or the most hated one in the entire sports industry. That doesn’t stop him from being humanitarian toward his clients, as he keeps on clinching the best contracts for them while protecting their rights in the game. May his legacy—and his lessons—rule the realms of MLB for years to come!

Everything to Know About Scott Boras : The Mastermind Behind Countless Multi-Million Dollar MLB Signings – Bryce Harper, Alex Rodriguez, and Many More

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Written by:

Shrabana Sengupta

439Articles

One take at a time

"Those who gaze outward dream, but those who turn inward awaken." A pro-writer for MLB EssentiallySports, I’ve been a fan of the New York Yankees since my school days. In my adolescent years, I was introduced to the iconic franchise through one of my beloved Friends characters, Joey.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj

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