Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Do Agents Have Ethics?

I know. I know. Of course not. They’re agents.

But, really. Do they  have some sort of “Code of Ethics” that they need to follow? Like a Hippocratic Oath? “Thou shalt do thy best to serve thy client to thy client’s supreme benefit?”

And how does that apply to multiple clients?

I ask because Scott Boras represents Stephen Drew. He also represents Xander Bogaerts. They both play shortstop and, if some people get their way, they both could be doing it for the Boston Red Sox. How is Boras supposed to handle that?

I can see how having Drew sign with the Red Sox could be a pretty good deal for him. Especially compared to having to twiddle his thumbs in the independent league hoping someone else calls. A steady job with a contending team is a pretty good way to go. Maybe the Sox won’t offer arbitration next year.

But, that would be a problem for Xander Bogaerts. Even if you think that Bogaerts is such a star that he would overtake Drew easily. The presence of a quality veteran would have to limit Xander’s playing time, right? If you’re looking for a big payday, you want as many at-bats as you can before hitting free agency. All the better to pad your stats.

And, what about Boras himself? Let’s be honest. Only one of the two players has a possibility of signing a $100 million contract at some point in his career…and it’s not Drew. So, it would certainly be in Boras’s best interests to keep Drew out of Boston. Not, I’m sure, that he’s supposed to consider that.

I bet it comes up a lot. Almost all agents represent more than one player. Conflicts like this have to occur. What’s best for one client might be worst for another. Maybe even if they’re not the same position. Or the same team. Say you represented both Jacoby Ellsbury and Robinson Cano this past offseason. Ellsbury could play in either Boston or NY, while Cano would really only work in NY since Boston already had a second baseman. Would you steer Ellsbury back to Boston even if they weren’t offering the most money since it left the Yankees enough money to sign Cano? Or do you send Ellsbury to the team that offers the most money, and let Cano try and find money elsewhere? Is there a rule in the agent’s manual to cover this? Is there a plaque in Boras’s office that says what he’d do? Or are they left to their own thoughts on the matter?

That could be scary.

1 comment:

  1. Normally Boras would publicly state how Signing Drew would make the Sox a greatly improved team as opposed to not having him but as S36 pointed out, Boras represents both Drew and Bogaerts so it has been amusing reading his careful comments when asked if the Sox should sign Drew. He is fully aware that to suggest it would imply Bogaerts is not ready or not a shortstop, which is something he knows he would be reminded of in future negotiations for Bogaerts. Instead he simply admitted that the Sox have put themselves in a good situation.


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