Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus cashed in a big way by agreeing to an eight-year, $120 million contract extension. The deal hasn’t been finalized, but should be made official on Thursday. There is a clause that would allow Andrus to opt out after the fourth year if he chooses, but since the extension doesn’t kick in till after his current contract expires after 2014, that means he’s signed at least through 2018, which would be his age-29 season. There’s an option for 2023, so if the contract is realized in its entirety, it will expire after Andrus’s age-34 season.
This is a great contract for both sides. For Andrus, the obvious financial security in a town he’s familiar with and loves was the selling point. For the Rangers, they lock up one of the best young shortstops in the game through his prime years and the contract expires at just the right time. Jon Daniels saw his approval rating take a huge hit this past winter when he not only failed to acquire a big name that could finally put the Rangers over the top, he also allowed the team’s best player, Josh Hamilton, to leave via free agency to a division rival.
Andrus is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. At the plate, he’s improved his on-base percentage, slugging percentage and batting average every year since 2010. He owns a 74% success rate stealing bases, which is passable. The Rangers needed to make this happen to infuse some good will back in the franchise, and with a player of Andrus’s caliber, it was a confluence of positives that made everyone a winner.
Everyone except Andrus’s agent, Scott Boras, that is. Well known for taking his clients into free agency and milking every last cent from the owner’s pockets, Boras lost this battle. “We’re the boss,” Andrus said. “I know everybody thinks that about Scott, but it’s different if you’re the one in that position. He works for us. I know he tries to get the best deal that he can, but it comes down to my choice and what’s better for me and my family.”
From one contract extension to the greater chance of another, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano fired agent Scott Boras on Tuesday and signed with Roc Nation Sports, which partners with Creative Arts Agency (CAA) Sports. Roc Nation is owned by New York über-celebrity Jay-Z. Yankee fans should be happy to learn that Cano will now be represented by Brodie Van Wagenen, who also represents the likes of Matt Cain and the Ryan’s Braun, Zimmerman and Howard. What do they all have in common? Huge contract extensions before they reached free agency, that’s what. Good news for Yankee fans.
Cano is the best second baseman in baseball and would easily receive offers north $200 million on the free agent market. He may still reach that number, but it’s much more likely now that it’s from the Yankees, and will get done before too long.
The Cano situation is fascinating to me because it makes me wonder if Boras is losing sight of the marketing aspect of the decision. When Derek Jeter retires, Cano would be the man on that team and in this town. As Mets fans know, it’s the Yankees’ town, and they just allow the Mets a little space by the East River near an airport. Boras’s job is to get the best deal possible for his client, and he’s been wildly successful over the years, but the client has to think about more than just the terms of the contract.
I remember when LeBron James was mulling over his free agent decision, and the common thoughts were that if he wanted to be loyal, he’d stay in Cleveland. If he wanted to win, he’d go to Miami, and if he wanted to get rich(er), he’d go to New York. So while Boras needs to find out which team can offer the most dollars, Cano needs to find out which city can offer him the best off-the-field endeavors, and it seems he already knew that it was New York or bust. Boras felt that another team could offer more money, as evidenced by the declined offer the Yankees already made to Cano. While that may be true, Cano feels his overall lifestyle would be suited best by New York, so out goes Boras.
I think it’s no small coincidence that Cano immediately signed with an agency that partners with a New York-based marketing company headed by a business mogul worth half a billion dollars.
On a smaller scale, another Boras client, Carlos Gomez of the Brewers, also reached an agreement on an extension just three weeks ago. After a string of losses like this, Boras must be reeling. Maybe now’s a good time for Sandy Alderson to swoop in and lock up Matt Harvey.