Et Tu Boras
“It was just a matter of following the advice I was given. Right now I think that was the best thing for me to do and now I’m ready to play baseball” – Jeremy Hellickson
Some might see this title and think I have lost my frickin’ mind. That for some reason I can intertwine the fabled Ides of March within the scope of Spring baseball and somehow make it all click. Maybe I am being a bit overprotective, possibly seeing imaginary phrases and wording that emulate a future disaster of fiscal proportions, but the above comment seems a bit too familiar, too bland to be without an ounce of peril.
Most of the time when I see a comment like that I do not read behind the words. I do not try to find any puppet strings or hidden earpieces, but then again only a handful of current Tampa Bay Rays players have slick willie agent Scott Boras conveniently stored on speed dial. Maybe it is Boras well-known snake-in-the-grass reputation and past darkened dealings that have me questioning his latest “wisdom” to Hellickson, or maybe I am waiting for the other cleat to fall.
Maybe it is the Rays recent stamp of approval on a 2012 salary of $ 489,000 for Hellickson that has me wondering what Boras is up to considering he let his client leave an extra $5,000 on the table by not accepting the Rays 2012 salary offering of $ 494,000. Possibly it is a bit of my own paranoia kicking in full steam knowing that agents do not give approval for decreased contract numbers unless there is an ulterior motive, or future planned détente or some sunshine at the end of their own rainbows.
Maybe it is Boras past track record that makes you automatically think there is an underlying darkness or positioning when a Boras client takes less money, or the cold reality that Hellboy is firmly entrenched with the Rays barring a trade request, and the Rays hold a few cards of their own knowing Hellickson doesn’t go to off-season salary arbitration for a while. For some reason Boras playing nice has me worried and sweating right now.
Winning the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year award should have gotten Hellboy at least a sizable bump in pay besides a $ 5,000 bump. That fact by itself makes me wonder what Boras has up his sleeve. Could Hellickson’s advisor be playing nice right now knowing the Rays will have a number of hard fiscal decision to make in the Winter of 2012, possibly making Hellboy even more valuable Rays pitching commodity. That definitely make leaving some Rays chump change on the table at this moment more appetizing to Boras who knows fully that this recent show of good faith will only appreciate in future value.
Hellboy’s cool and calm demeanor even after his Spring debut suggests he is just operating as his management team advises him, and will go with the flow knowing good things are coming. If you have ever talked to Hellickson, he is not a protagonist, not an instigator or evil entity. Hellboy is a guy who can throw the ball with authority who wants to play this kid’s game as long as possible before heading off into the outside of baseball world. The biggest part of that menagerie is the pure fact someone has to be the heavy, and Boras fits that bill to a T.
My biggest worry right now is that Boras who knows the importance of good young pitching to this fiscally challenged Rays team is just waiting for his moment in the Sun to strike, like a coiled viper. And with that comes the backlash that Hellboy is ” difficult”, has over zealous management In the end, baseball is a business. Boras is trying to give his client good advice, provide for his future both as a player and beyond, plus take home a little something for his worries and sweat.
Boras is a master at give and take, possibly setting up a future dealing with a present back slide or quiet moment .Hellickson possibly signed with Boras knowing full well he does what is needed long and short-term for his clients no matter the collateral damage. I fear that not only will the Rays feel that cold steel in their ribcage, but the Rays Republic also will feel the pain and burn from this recent action.
My biggest concern is that Boras might exercise his influence over Hellickson at some point in the near future and the Rays will pay dearly for this one action in the Spring of 2012… all over some pile of money left on the table in March.