Boras blasts low-spending MLB teams


Associated Press

NEW YORK

Agent Scott Boras says the number of major league teams rebuilding with younger, lower-cost rosters has become a cancer to the sport, attributing behavior to the strengthened luxury tax combining with restraints on draft-pick salaries.

Boras attributes baseball’s attendance drop to an increase in non-competitive teams, predicts fans from perennial losers will increasingly stay away from ballparks until ticket prices are cut and says regional sports networks will negotiate lower rights fees with teams going into rebuild cycles.

J.D. Martinez, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Jake Arrieta, all Boras clients, remain unsigned 10 days before spring training in a historically slow market. He says the luxury tax, envisioned by Commissioner Bud Selig to increase competitive balance, is having the opposite effect. He claims incentives are needed to winning, such as increasing draft-pick money based on victories.

Since 2012, baseball’s collective bargaining agreement has limited the amount teams can spend on signing bonuses for amateur draft picks, making their cost predictable. Teams draft in reverse order of record, and clubs with higher selections are given larger amounts in their signing-bonus pools.

Agent Brodie Van Wagenen suggested Friday that players consider boycotting spring training workouts, which start Feb. 14 but are not mandatory until Feb. 24.

Under the labor contract covering 2017-21, the highest luxury tax rate was raised from 50 percent to 95 percent and penalties were added that could push back a high-spending team’s top draft pick or cause a loss of selections.

One of Boras’ solutions is to add money to a team’s draft pool based on its wins and to punish teams with poorer records.

“If you win 78 games you get $2 million more in the draft, or if you win 80 games you get $4 or $6 or $8 or $10 as you go up the scale and you get $10 million in draft money if you wins 86 games,” he said. “You don’t win more than 68 games, you don’t get a top-five draft pick. And that’s what every team is coveting to get, so they have a reason where they go, whoa, we cannot be that bad. We have to be that good.”

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