"I admit to you that Magglio had a rough April (.240) batting average," Boras said. "But if you want to talk about why his production is down in 2009, it's about one thing and one thing only: His home runs are down by seven. I submit to you that's not compelling information for declaring failure."
That’s it? This is all about seven home runs? Let’s go to the chart:
Good Mags vs. Awful Mags
*2009 numbers based on 146 game pace
Clearly, Boras has issues comprehending multiple variables because there’s a lot more going on here than a reduction in home runs. How about the fact that Mags is on pace to drive in 47 fewer runs? What about the fact that he went from an OPS 27% above the league average to 18% below? Better yet, what about everything? Mags has clearly significantly regressed in virtually every measurable way. I would love to watch Boras try to sell Charles Barkley to an NBA team right now. I think it might go something like this, “the only difference between Charles Barkley now and Charles Barkley 15 years ago is that he’s pushing 350 pounds and can’t post-up--or defend--a flag pole. That’s it! Everything else is still in perfect condition. His elbows still bend. He can still put on his own uniform. Plus, he can say "Anything less would be uncivilized" with a British accent while riding a horse. How does $20 million per game sound?” Don’t get Boras started on "The Splendid Splinter." According to Scotty Baseball, the only thing keeping Ted Williams from starting in left field for the Red Sox is the fact that his head is frozen in a cryogenics lab in Arizona.
Lame jokes aside, Mags has been terrible this year. The Tigers were very, very smart four years ago to put a clause in his contract that would prevent them from having to pay an obviously diminished player $18 million in 2010 and $15 million in 2011. Those salaries would be guaranteed if Mags reaches 270 combined games between this year and last. There isn’t a math wizard on the planet who could successfully argue that Mags is worth that sort of money over the next two season. Boras, of course, is looking out for his own butt. He gets paid commission based on his clientele’s earnings. A five percent-cut (or whatever his rate is) of $33 million is a lot more money than a five percent-cut of $10 million (or however much Mags could sign for on the free agent market). That's a $1.15 million loss for Boras. So remember, the next time Boras impersonates a failing "Logic 101" student, it’s because he stands to lose money.
The only legitimate question here is whether the Tigers should release Mags or keep him benched until he can’t reach his contract kicker. The latter would allow the possibility of a return for the playoffs assuming a). the Tigers reach the playoffs and b). he has his act together by then. However, that could also be a public relations nightmare. As moronic as Boras sounded in the above article, he represents a lot of pretty important people in baseball. The Tigers don’t need him as an enemy. That’s why I think the Tigers should just release Mags. He could sign with a contender, he would still get paid—and paid well—by the Tigers for the remainder of this season. The daily bad mouthing that would surely last as long as Mags remains benched would go away. Oh, and if you’re wondering what $18 million could buy the Tigers next season, the best answer I can come up with is, “all but nine players in MLB.”