Here's a nice syllogism to end the week:
A) People lie.
B) Agents, GMs, and Owners are people.
Ergo: Agents, GMs, and Owners lie.
Words lose their meaning when people in sports use them. Words like 'disrespect' get thrown out when a player gets $2 million less than he believes is his right on a multimillion dollar deal.
Latrell Sprewell couldn't feed his family on $14.6 million a season? You've got to be kidding me.
But you knew that. Every sports fan does. The lies and rhetoric come so often, it's almost a joke. We assume that people like Scott Boras have so much interest in getting their clients the best deal possible, that they are have lost all grip on reality.
But is it fair to assume that Boras has no purchase on the truth?
Angels' wner Arte Moreno thinks so, especially after Boras fielded just one bid from Anaheim for Mark Teixeira, then moved on to the east coast suitors.
So, when Scott Boras tells Joe Christianson of the Star Tribune that Joe Crede is 100 percent healthy, ready for spring training, and ready to pick a team, how much credence should fans give him?
At first blush, my inclination is to toss that into the "Things Agents Have to Say" pile. If Boras comes out and says "Crede is...80 percent at best, probably a lock to play 100 games, but the other 62 are a toss up", there is no way his client would get anywhere near the $5.1 million in base pay he is seeking.
Boras has the incentive to lie, but that doesn't mean he did. A commenter on the blog post that dealt with Boras' statements, the other Star Tribune Twins writer Lavelle E. Neal III, points out:
"Boras actually has some history on his side. There were concerns about Pudge Rodriguez’s health before Boras got him signed with Detroit in 2004. Pudge hit .334 with 19 homers and 86 RBI that season.
We all scoffed a year later when Boras claimed that Magglio Ordonez’s knee was healthy before he signed with the Tigers. Ordonez missed time because of a sports hernia, but the knee was fine. He hit .302 in 82 games that season and was a force after that.
Boras proclaimed Kevin Millwood’s back to be healthy before his client signed with Cleveland in 2005. Millwood went 9-11 but his 2.86 ERA rocked. There may be other cases of Boras clients breaking down and staying down. But here are three that have worked out."
Neal makes a fantastic point, but there is no way to know how healthy Crede really is until he takes the field. If the Twins take Boras at his word, and he proves to be duplicitous in his words, they can't exactly return Crede for a refund. However, if Boras is right, and Crede is healthy, he could be exactly the piece the Twins are looking for.
The question then becomes: Are the Twins worse off if they take on Crede, and he can't hack it (ala Mike Lamb last year), or if they pass on him and he proves to be a solid contributor to the Giants or whoever ends up signing him?
I'm inclined to say, given the dearth of payroll considerations, the Twins are better of signing Crede with the knowledge that they have the platoon of Buscher and Harris at the ready if he fails.
Another high profile voice in the Crede debate is Jim Pohlad, the CEO (read: Owner) of the Twins.
Pohlad stated early Friday that he was a fan of Crede's but that the decision should be left up to "the baseball people"; more precisely, Billy Smith and his staff of scouts.
If this is true, it confirms much of what I wrote in part three of Explaining the Minnesota Mentality. The Twins aren't handcuffed by their owners so much as by their own personnel choices.
Needless to say, this too, met with skepticism from fans, who are more than willing to write Jim Pohlad off as a cheap-skate like his father.
Pohlad has nowhere near the incentive to lie about his interest than Boras has to present Crede as healthy and whole.
Pohlad shouldn't be the one making player decisions, not because of any sort of inability, but if you're going to pay a massive staff of people to make those decisions, you may as well utilize their opinion.
I believe that Jim Pohlad is legitimately interested in signing Crede, and isn't afraid of what it will cost (heaven knows he's got the cash to splash). The question for Smith and his staff is, because of the uncertainty regarding Crede's health: At what point does Crede become a smart gamble?
Once again, no one but Pohlad and his staff know if he is really all that interested in Crede, or if he is posturing just like Boras. While both men could be blowing smoke, I'm inclined to believe both of them.
Only time will tell if I have been fooled by two gentlemen accustomed to deception or if perhaps fans have been so jaded by untruths that we'll no longer believe agents and owners, even when they aren't lying.
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