Scott Boras condemns MLBPA ‘coup’ attempt on taking sides against players, agents

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Agent Scott Boras criticized Harry Marino’s effort to oust the leadership of the Major League Baseball Players Association Tuesday morning, saying Marino and his supporters have staged a “coup” that “should never have been done.”

Marino hit back, saying that Boras’ support for Executive Director Tony Clark should be considered “dangerous” and hinted that Boras’s effectiveness was decreasing.

Some player leaders inside the union are aggressively pressuring Marino, who worked in the MLBPA for a while, to replace Bruce Meyer, the union’s deputy director. If Marino and his supporters are successful, it looks increasingly likely that the mayor’s exit will mean Clark’s exit as well. Clark convened a video call Monday night that lasted nearly three hours where player leaders debated Meyer’s future and Marino’s viability.

Boras explained, “If you have great ideas, and you want those ideas to be promoted in a way that is beneficial to the union and the players they represent, then you go to Tony Clark with your plan. ” athletic, “You first discuss it with him and several lawyers of the union. If you have any problem with the Sangh and want to join the Sangh, then you should put forward your views to them. You don’t take them on publicly, you don’t do this coup and really create disruption inside the union. If your goal is to help players, it should never be done this way.”

Marino said in a statement athletic: “The players who elected me want a union that represents the will of the majority. Scott Boras is rich because he makes – or used to make – the richest players in sports even richer. That he’s running to the defense of Tony Clark and Bruce Meyer this morning is really worrying.

The discord comes at a time when the total meltdown of the winter for free agents has brought together some agents and players who have long been unhappy with the union, but who have never seen a point of action before this year’s market meltdown. But did not reach.

As the MLBPA and the player and agent communities remain in a state of limbo, it was becoming clear Tuesday that a middle-ground scenario where Clark remains as boss and works side-by-side with Marino is likely. No, according to people’s knowledge on this subject. There was a great deal of distrust of Marino when both Clark and Meyer worked together. A scenario where Clark stays and leaves without giving Mayor Marino a leading role in the union also seems unlikely. The mayor and a union spokesman declined to comment Tuesday.

The politics behind the turmoil are spreading. Many player agents, some of whom are now supporters of Marino, had long considered Clark and Meyer to show favoritism towards Boras, the game’s most powerful agent. Boras, Clark and Meyer have always denied any inappropriate relationship.

Bruce Meyer, left, and Tony Clark are facing criticism that they are too close to Boras. (Richard Drew/Associated Press)

The MLBPA has a 72-person executive board consisting of major and minor leaguers. Among Marino’s supporters among the eight-player major-league executive subcommittee are pitchers Jack Flaherty and Lucas Giolito (both represented by CAA) and outfielder Ian Happ (represented by WME), who provided information about the group’s discussions. people said.

boras said in 2021, “When it comes to collective bargaining matters, I talk to my players and my players one-on-one, and I let the union represent their interests.” He repeated that Tuesday.

“That’s just the way it works, and what the union does and how they do it is different,” Boras said. “But understand that solidarity, unity of the union is a very important factor. And if you care about the players, you understand that there have to be ways to bring ideas to the players through channels in the area of ​​collective bargaining. Not directly from the players – this must be done through union channels. And this is how unity is maintained.”

Baseball’s economic system, which has no salary cap unlike other major sports leagues, has best served the top players, and Boras often represents the top players. Boras has long stood out as a divisive figure in the agent community and even inside the commissioner’s office — in no small part because he is generally effective, even if his results this winter have fallen short of typical expectations.

Boras believed the MLBPA needed to add firepower to its staff after the 2012–16 and 2017–21 CBAs worked out favorably for the league, and Clark, who led the bargaining team in 2016 , brought in the mayor in 2018. But Boras’ It is this approach alone that required an outside voice like Meyer, and some other key agents believe Meyer and Clark have done a good job. Losing Boras’s general support would probably have been a scary proposition for Clarke, whose job was already in jeopardy.

The MLBPA hasn’t always done what Boras wants. He was angry on the day the 2022–26 CBA was agreed in March 2022, believing players should have stayed longer for greater benefits, especially in remaining competitive. Many other agents and their clients felt the opposite. But so far, the results of that CBA are generally considered better than the previous two CBAs, with gains in areas such as service-time manipulation and the creation of a pre-arbitration bonus pool. Then, this winter, things turned sour for some veteran free agents.

Over the years, unhappy agents have always complained about the union leadership. But he and his players have never worked together until now, when a decline in club spending – and in Marino they can rally behind someone – has helped motivate them.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Casey Mize said there are many reasons for the dissatisfaction, ranging from a disappointing winter to the recent release of infielder J.D. Davis by the San Francisco Giants, who took advantage of a long-standing CBA provision that meant That their salaries were not fully guaranteed. was issued. Davis later signed with the Oakland A’s.

Mize said, “I think if you go around the room and ask, I think everyone will give you different answers.” “It’s very attractive coming out of this free agency. But there are a lot of details in it. You can see JD Davis status. You can watch free agency. I think you can look at the taxes on the CBT (Competitive Balance Tax) stuff. Many people will give you different answers, whether it’s service times or something else. I don’t want to go into details about what disappointed me or what I heard last night, but in general, we’re looking for ways to get better. These are discussions we have all the time, and yes, we had similar discussions last night as well.”

A central question is whether the system that benefits Boras clients and top players generally also benefits baseball players more broadly. This gives rise to another central question: What do Marino and his supporters perceive to be the failings of the current leadership group, and what would he do differently?

Marino’s supporters were circulating a short PowerPoint presentation during the day. The eight-slide document criticized Clark and the mayor’s effectiveness in bargaining, as well as some of the union’s spending decisions; Some players have said that the Union Budget needs to be audited.

athletic Received the PowerPoint, which was unsigned.

The PowerPoint says on the first page, “Despite a lockout that put the entire 2022 season at risk, the 2022 CBA failed to address the systemic issues responsible for dramatic cuts in team spending and player compensation.”

The mayor’s supporters questioned Tuesday what Marino has actually accomplished in his time, and why he is better equipped to negotiate with owners than Commissioner Rob Manfred, Deputy Commissioner Dan Helm and the mayor, who Are more experienced.

Owners and commissioners have long wanted MLB to move to a salary-cap system, and discord within the union is naturally beneficial to management’s interests, whether in pursuit of the cap or other changes. The league’s central office would also enjoy having Meyer removed, which would be extremely difficult for him to deal with – Meyer and some on the players’ side have said this is a desirable quality for a top player’s lawyer.

Marino is charismatic, ambitious and, at 33, much younger than the 62-year-old mayor. Marino was a central figure in the unionization of minor leaguers, and his relationship with Meyer soured significantly when Marino left the MLBPA the previous year. He and Meyer worked together on the Minor Leaguers’ first collective bargaining agreement.

, athleticCody Stavenhagen and Ken Rosenthal contributed to this report.

(Top photo of Boras: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY)

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