I love Scott Boras. Seriously. Can you imagine how boring the world would be without him? Scott Boras is the Joseph Smith, the L. Ron Hubbard, the Charles Ponzi, the Kevin Trudeau, the Sergeant Bilko, the Harry Mudd of Our National Pastime. There's never been anyone quite like him, and might never be again. Scott Boras is more interesting than Arliss Michaels and Jerry Maguire and Ari Gold all rolled into one.
Scott Boras is Prince Fielder's agent. Fielder is the only superstar who's still available on the open market right now. All the rest have signed. All the rest signed weeks ago. So why is Fielder still available?
Because he's just that incredible. He transcends hitting (let alone fielding, and running). Fielder is so incredible that he, among all the other free agents available this winter, demands the attention of ownership.
Really. Here's just a sampling of Boras's explanation, via Ken Rosenthal:
Boras described the process of educating owners on Fielder — and introducing Fielder to those owners — as "time-consuming."
"You absolutely see two factors with superstar sluggers — they bring retention value and attraction value. Retention value — look at (Rickie) Weeks, (Corey) Hart, (Yovani) Gallardo. They all stayed in Milwaukee. When you have that guy in the middle of the lineup, it’s, ‘Oh yeah, I want to play with him.’ Jeff Kent won an MVP hitting behind Barry Bonds. Ryan Braun won an MVP hitting in front of Fielder. That’s the modality.
". . . (A player like Fielder) gets you the (local) TV contract, he gets you a higher franchise value, your attendance goes up . . . These players pay for themselves. They make you a lot of money. Owners understand that. They reach out to you. Prince is not in any way a normal free agent. Owners will move players off their teams that already occupy positions to get him. Even though they have a player at the position, this is the move to bring in a franchise player."
"The man in the batter’s box and the man in the locker room are two very different people. The man in the locker room is an ambassador, a very sincere and understanding man. In the batter’s box, he is out there, literally uncaged.
"Having that light switch is a very special thing for an athlete. To be able to control your emotions, do all the things required of a franchise player . . . of all the superstars I’ve been around, psychologically he’s the best that I have seen."
Let's be clear about this ... Boras is arguing that Fielder, even beyond his considerable value on the field, as a hitter -- is also valuable because his presence a) makes it easier to keep other players, and b) leads to an increase in attendance and (presumably) TV ratings, and thus increases revenues in the long term.
How much are those things worth? I don't know if even Scott Boras would attempt to come up with a number. Better, perhaps, to let prospective suitors use their imaginations. Prince Fielder was worth roughly $25 million on the field last season. The other stuff is worth ... what? Maybe $5 million per season? That would get Fielder to $30 million, a figure I'm sure would thrill both agent and client.
Fielder probably isn't going to actually make that much, but it's really not so difficult to argue that he was worth that much in 2011. Especially if you factor in the Brewers' postseason run.
Here is Boras's problem, though: Fielder has not been consistent.
Here are his values -- as usual, according to FanGraphs -- over the last four seasons:
His average value over the last five seasons: $20 million.
Which remains a considerable sum. Toss in the "retention and attraction" value, and maybe you can push the big slugger's value to $25 million per season. Which is probably Boras's actual target. Or something close.
I still don't think he'll get that much. Not with that body. My guess: six years and $122 million. Give or take a year and $20 million. But who's counting, anyway.