Pedro Alvarez signed a one-year, 4.25 million dollar deal with the Pirates last week thus avoiding arbitration. El Toro is now three years away from free agency and there isn’t even a peep about the two sides working on a long term deal. You know, I can sit here and write a long blog about why Neal Huntington is a fool for not locking up a 27 year old All Star third-baseman but I’m not going to take that route. I don’t believe for one second the Pirates are the reason there is no talking going on. It’s Pedro Alvarez. It’s Scott Boras.
Everyone knows that when a player selects Scott Boras to be their agent they have one thing and one thing only in mind. $$$$$$$$. Yes, all players want to get paid. That’s a given. It’s just Boras will get you paid at any price. He’ll put you in a bad situation where you can’t win as long as the decimal point is in the right place. Alex Rodriguez is a prime example of this. Boras knew the Texas Rangers in 2001 were a weak team that had an unstable owner in Tom Hicks. He knew they had zero pitching and a horrible farm system. Yet, instead of sending his client to the New York Mets he advised A-Rod to take the few million more the Mets weren’t willing to pony up and sign in Texas. Boras sold A-Rod on the Rangers and he inked a $252 million, 10 year deal. Hey, it was an awesome contract. No state tax in the Lone Star State, I mean, what a terrific job Boras did for Rodriguez. Forget the fact that the Rangers were the #4 team in town behind the Cowboys, the Mavericks and the Stars (they had won the Stanley Cup in 1999 and made the finals in 2000). Forget about New York being the baseball capital of the world and the huge endorsement deals that would have come A-Rod’s way. Forget about the ready-made winner ballclub that was a year removed from a World Series appearance. None of that factored in. A-Rod went to Arlington for the most money up front and played in obscurity for three seasons until he practically begged for a trade.
That’s Scott Boras.
If loyalty and getting a ring is a top priority then Boras isn’t the agent for you. There are no hometown discounts in Scott Boras’s universe. Mark Teixeira is from Maryland and grew up idolizing Cal Ripken Jr. When the Orioles came calling in 2009 it looked like a slam dunk he’d go there. Not so fast. The Evil Empire offered a few more greenbacks and Cal Ripken be damned Scott Boras delivered Mark Teixeira to the Orioles biggest rival. The Yankees. So the fact that Pedro Alvarez has Boras as his agent should tell you what his mindset is. The man is looking to break the bank and if he approaches free agency with the kind of numbers he put up last year he will get a huge contract. We all know that if huge contracts are involved it won’t be with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bob Nutting is so cheap that when you go to McDonalds you can find his name on the Dollar Menu.
I know Boras doesn’t do the hometown thing yet New York is where El Toro is from and that’s where I see him going in 2017. You can forget about the Mets since they already have David Wright at third-base and since Bernie Madoff went to jail they seem to act like the Oakland A’s for some odd reason. The Yankees are going to need help at the hot-corner real soon. A-Rod will be long gone from the game by then and their farm system is littered with C level prospects at best. Plus, Alvarez’s swing is perfect for that stadium. If Curtis Granderson can hit 40+ homers with that short porch in right what could El Toro do? Hit 60?
Even if the Yankees have a decent 3B on their roster by 2017 they could always use a power hitting DH. Pedro is so perfect for pinstripes it’s almost laughable. The only thing I see preventing him from going there is him. Would it shock anyone if Pedro slumps down to 20 homers with a .210 average next year? Is it that far-fetched to think that by 2016 he could be a platoon player since he can’t hit lefties? As long as El Toro is driving in 100 runs and hitting above his weight he’ll be a hot commodity in 2017.
But that isn’t guaranteed. Remember in early June last year when he was hitting .180 all of sudden you heard rumblings from Boras that Pedro would be open to an extension? Even Mr. Super-Agent has doubts about him. Look, I’m all for the Pirates being cost-conscious yet losing Pedro for a draft pick in 3 years is going to hurt. If there is one position the Buccos don’t have good prospects in its third-base. If Boras still doesn’t want to talk extension by next off-season and if Alvarez has another All-Star type year I’d consider moving him before opening day 2015 for some real assets. If the Pirates wait till the middle of the 2016 season they’ll get table scraps. It would be similar to what Tampa did with James Shields. They didn’t get a good response when they talked extension two years out from free agency and they sold high and landed a stud in Wil Myers for him. With the free agency compensation rules changing a few years ago half-year rentals have become almost a thing of the past. Look what the Twins received for Justin Morneau. They got Alex Presley and a 28 year old minor league relief pitcher they loved so much they returned him a month later. I mean, for a guy who played ten years for your franchise why even bother? Just take the compensation draft pick. That’s what I’m hoping the Pirates can avoid. If we have to say goodbye to El Toro, do it while he has value. Do it after next season.