Say this for Scott Boras: He never lacks for ideas.
The agent’s latest brainstorm is a “minor-league posting system” for players left unprotected on their respective teams’ 40-man rosters.
Teams currently obtain such players through the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings. The cost of each player is $50,000, and the player must be offered back at half-price if he doesn't remain on the major-league roster all season.
The Boras plan would generate considerably more sizzle – and dollars.
Each team would protect a set number of players: 40, the current number, or maybe even 45. Every other player in a club's farm system would be available through a blind posting process similar to the arrangement baseball maintains with Japanese clubs.
In Boras’ vision:
*A prospect-rich team such as the Royals could sell off unprotected young players in return for money they could redirect toward free major-league agents.
*A club deep in young pitchers, but not position players, could use the process to create more balance, selling one type of player and buying another.
*If a team preferred to keep a player another club wanted, it would match the posting price and send the money back the other way.
“It would create a currency in the game,” Boras says. “It also would create an excitement in the game. It would be like a mini-free agent period. You would have a 40-man roster that really means something.”
Two general managers, when informed of the plan, were skeptical.
The first seemed intrigued by the idea – “it would be like an expansion draft every year” - but noted that Boras and other agents would benefit if more money were available for free agency.
The second GM said there are simply not enough good players in the game to make the idea viable. The Rule 5 draft, he said, rarely yields true finds, and most players at the bottom of 40-man rosters are expendable.
Boras, though, believes his plan would force clubs to place even greater emphasis on scouting and development, making talent evaluation that much more important.
“It would create all kinds of opportunity,” he said.