Boras bashes Mets, Cubs and Astros

Scott Boras had some words for the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs
and Houston Astros, and they were far from kind. And he also backed
the Tampa Bay Rays’ desire for a new ballpark.

On the third day of the general managers’ meetings, the baseball
agent with the highest profile stood in the hotel lobby for a
question-and-answer session that gathered an amount of media so
large that hotel security told him to move to a remote
corridor.

Boras wants to goad teams into spending more on free agents.
When he focused on the Mets, he pointed out their concentration on
captain David Wright and young pitchers such as Matt Harvey – his
client – and Zack Wheeler.

”The Mets are like NASA,” Boras said. ”They have big rockets,
a lot of platforms and very few astronauts. Astronauts are hard to
find. They’ve got one guy with the `Wright’ stuff, that’s for sure.
And they’ve got a lot of Arm-strongs, too. But they’re certainly a
club that I’m sure that’s in pursuit of a higher level of
talent.”

Boras has been stepping up his criticism of large-market teams
lacking lofty payrolls. Following the collapse of Bernard Madoff
Ponzi’s scheme, the Mets have cut payroll by about one-third over
the past two seasons and were 17th at about $95 million in the
latest 2013 figures.

”I think the ability to spend and actually spending are two
different things. And that’s only for the Mets to diagnose,” Boras
said. ”Certainly their franchise value has gone through the roof –
they’re well over $2 billion. They’re a very successfully run
business operation. The Mets have the ability to do pretty much
what they want to do. But it’s hard to find astronauts.”

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson responded in a low-key
manner: ”I don’t think his intergalactic metaphor is exactly
right.”

Asked what was incorrect, Alderson said: ”I’m not sure because
I’ve first got to understand it.”

The Cubs were 15th in payroll this year at about $101 million.
Boras said the Rickets family, which bought the team four years
ago, has put too much emphasis on the redevelopment of Wrigley
Field and not enough on major league payroll.

”You’re developing the infrastructure, but fans don’t come to
see seats, grass, cement. They come to see players,” he said.
”They’ve done a great job in the draft and development and they’ve
got a really good core of young players coming, but it is just not
what’s expected when you have a (family) buy a major-market
club.”

Boras compared the Tampa Bay Rays’ situation to Charles Dickens’
”Tale of Two Cities,” saying there was ”the one they’re in and
the one they should be in.” The Rays repeatedly have said
Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg is inadequate, and they drew a
major league-low 1.5 million at home despite reaching the playoffs
for the fourth time in six years.

”They need a new ballpark. They need to address that,” he
said. ”But certainly the bell’s been answered by the organization
as far as putting a product on the field that would normally
attract fans.”

He joked about the Astros, who traded veterans and cut payroll
to around $29 million – $13 million less than any other big league
team. Houston went a team-worst 51-111 and the Astros’ 324 losses
over three years matched the 1917 Philadelphia Athletics for third
most in major league history.

”The Astros,” he said, ”they’re like Disneyland. If the kids
come, it’s a great attraction.”