Originally Published: August 8, 2008 6:30 p.m.
A number of MLB teams were winners at the non-waiver trade deadline, including the Red Sox and the Dodgers. But you could make a strong argument that the biggest winner of all was agent Scott Boras.When Manny Ramirez changed coasts, the Red Sox eliminated a cancer in the clubhouse, a prima donna who marched to the beat of his own drummer. The Dodgers, on the other hand, picked up one of the greatest hitters of the modern era. At 36, Ramirez will be playing for his last contract over the next two months and the selfish, churlish act we saw in Boston over the past 7 ½ years is certain to disappear in Tinseltown.Boras is a squirrelly deal-maker/deal-breaker, depending on what he deems best for his client, and not so coincidentally, for his own pocket. You could smell Boras all over the Ramirez trade, in spite of the agent's protestations to the contrary. Boras has been orchestrating Ramirez' every move since the slugger deserted Greg Genske of the Legacy Sports Group prior to spring training.Ramirez was in the eighth and final guaranteed year of a 10-year, $200 million contract he signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2001 season. For the next two years, the Red Sox could have exercised one-year options at $20 million per year. At the end of last season, Ramirez asked the Red Sox to pick up both options, but John Henry, principal owner of the Red Sox, didn't become a billionaire because he was stupid. The Red Sox had suffered through enough episodes of "Manny being Manny" to fill a year's worth of soap operas. One year at a time suited the Red Sox brass just fine.Manny turned to Boras last winter, hoping the slithery one could do what Genske couldn't. But instead of convincing the Red Sox to pick up Manny's options, Boras had a different plan, one that made more sense for Boras, if not for Ramirez. The agent suggested that Ramirez could get a 4-year, $100 million contract on the open market and that's what he should seek from the Red Sox.If the Red Sox had picked up the options in Ramirez' contract, the agent fee - normally 5 percent - would have gone to Genske, not Boras. Of course, a new four-year deal negotiated by Boras would supersede the old contract, meaning Genske would be out a million dollars per year, or a total of $2 million, and Boras would earn a cool $5 million.In order to pull that off, Boras convinced Ramirez to ditch his selfish attitude. So in the name of money, Ramirez did his best impersonation of a choir boy during spring training and into the early part of the season, speaking with the press for the first time in years and generally acting like a true teammate. But still the Red Sox wouldn't bite. That's when Ramirez reverted to form and things got nasty.In the days leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, Ramirez blasted the Red Sox for not being honest with him, accused them of trying to make him look like the bad guy, and said the team didn't deserve him. Concerned that Ramirez might tank the last two months of the season, the Red Sox decided to rid themselves of the mercurial slugger.Frantically working the phones in the minutes before the trade deadline, the Red Sox engineered a costly three-team deal with the Dodgers and Pirates. Ramirez went to the Dodgers, along with the $7 million remaining on this year's salary, and the Red Sox and Dodgers each sent two prospects to the Pirates. In return, the Red Sox received Pirates' outfielder Jason Bay. Mission accomplished.As part of the deal, the Dodgers paid Ramirez the $1 million trade bonus in his contract and agreed to void the contract options, thereby guaranteeing Ramirez would be a free agent at the end of the season.Ethical or not, Ramirez and Boras got everything they wanted in the trade. And although the Red Sox rid themselves of Ramirez, unfortunately, they're not through with Boras. Jason Bay's agent is none other than ... Scott Boras.(Jordan Kobritz is a former attorney, CPA, and Minor League Baseball team owner. He is an Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Eastern New Mexico University, teaches the Business of Sports at the University of Wyoming, and is a contributing author to the Business of Sports Network. Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)