While I was frantically trying to find a class to substitute the terrible Child Support Enforcement Law that I dropped yesterday, I received an IM from Brian Foley of TheCollegeBaseballBlog.com. I had read headlines about Pedro Alvarez yesterday, but had not checked the full story yet. He wanted a quote, so this is what I offered him:
Collective bargaining agreements are as worthless as the paper they are printed on if they are not adhered to by both negotiating parties. If Pedro Alvarez is given 45 minutes, then next year’s 2nd pick will try to get 90 minutes. Where does it end?
Before I expand on my two-sentences that were featured in Foley’s blog, lets get into some background behind the whole Alvarez situation. Pedro Alvarez was selected #2 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates. A day before the signing deadline, Zak Kurtz, pointed out that Boras was looking for $7 million from the Pirates and that the club would probably not pay that kind of money. The deadline came, and Pirates fans were surprised that the organization paid big money on some players, including Robbie Grossman in the sixth round ($1 million) and Pedro Alvarez, the #2 overall pick ($6 million). But $6 million is a whole $1 million short of the $7 million demanded. Did the deal work itself out legitimately?
Scott Boras says no and he has the MLBPA behind him. The claim is that Alvarez refused to sign a deal with the Pirates until forty-five minutes after the signing deadline, at which time Alvarez signed for a $6 million bonus. Additionally, rumor has it that Alvarez signed late because Boras was busy negotiating a deal for another client, Eric Hosmer, right before the deadline. Alvarez is now on the restricted list.
A few things:
- Is anyone surprised that Scott Boras is involved in a media-hyped baseball controversy?
- Why would Boras and Alvarez sign a deal at all if they were going to be the party to go to the MLBPA to file a grievance against Major League Baseball?
- If Boras knew that the Pirates were violating MLB rules by extending the deadline, was he not an accomplice to the act by being a party of the action? If he had knowledge of the violation, did he have a duty to say something at the time of the breach?
- If it is true that Boras was so busy negotiating Eric Hosmer’s deal that he could not focus on Pedro Alvarez getting signed on time, will this deter future first-rounders from going with Boras because they believe he already has his hands full with enough clients on his plate?
Now, on to the quote that I offered Foley for his piece. I truly do believe that if CBAs (Collective Bargaining Agreements) are to be made in any industry, they must be followed by both parties to the agreement. While I am currently enrolled in Labor Law, and will learn much more about CBAs in a later class session, I understand that they embody formal rules between a union and owners. If either side breaches the agreement, there must be some sort of penalty. In this case, I am not sold that the Pirates are entirely at fault. Scott Boras is an MLBPA licensed agent, therefore, he represents the union in all of his actions. Again, if he had knowledge at the time that he and the Pirates were negotiating beyond the deadline, then he and the union may be at fault as well.
In the end, I would hope to make this issue a clean wash and have all parties learn some valuable lessons. It is great when agents/advisors do all that they can for their clients to gain an edge, as long as it is done within the confines of the rules. This situation is way too shady. If you intentionally break the deadline and sign a $6 million deal, do not cry foul afterward because you believe your client was undervalued, and then bring up a rules violation to the MLBPA.
Will the Pirates ever draft another Boras client? While potential Boras clients be turned off by the fact that at least one team probably won’t be looking at acquiring them?