CarGo Defies the Baseball Anti-Christ

Carlos Gonzalez and the Rockies have agreed to terms on a 7 year, $80M contract extension. I once declared this an impossibility, but I will gladly eat my plate of exquisitely delicious crow. This contract is a terrific deal for the Rox. Gonzalez, one of the youngest superstars in baseball, seemed destined to follow the path of Matt Holliday. Scott Boras, the agent for Holliday and Gonzalez, has never had a client in CarGo’s situation sign prior to reaching free agency or for such an enormous hometown discount. However, it seems that Boras had little say in this deal and the real driving force behind the agreement was Gonzalez.

Carlos won the NL batting title, a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove in 2010, while only making $406K. Under his old contract, he wouldn’t have been arbitration eligible until 2012 and wouldn’t have been up for free agency until 2015. With this contract, he will receive roughly an $11M pay raise next season and his salary is guaranteed for the next seven years. Meanwhile, the Rockies have the assurance that Gonzalez will be theirs until at least 2017, and his affordable contract will not bog down the team’s payroll.

Earlier this winter, the Nationals agreed to a 7 year/$126M contract with another Boras client, Jayson Werth. He is a fine player, but is inferior to Gonzalez in every way. Gonzalez is a better hitter, fielder, and base-runner. Also, Carlos turned 25 in October and Werth will be 32 next season. As expected, Boras was able to convince a team to grossly overpay for Werth. He almost always gets top dollar for his clients. That’s why I don’t think he played much of a role in this extension.

Most players allow Boras to take full control of the process. He seemingly cares only about money and has no regard for anything else. Countless times he has convinced clients to leave comfortable situations for “greener” pastures. But not Gonzalez. Not that $80M is chump change, but, had he held out until 2015, CarGo probably would have been offered $200M (not by the Rockies, obviously). By ignoring Scott Boras and signing for a contract that undervalues his worth, Carlos did something rare for a professional athlete and a Boras client. He put money aside and went with his heart. In doing so, he endeared himself to the Rockies’ fan base. Gonzalez is now just as beloved as Troy Tulowitzki.

With Ubaldo Jimenez, Tulo, and Carlos all locked up until at least 2015, the Rockies have one of the best foundations in baseball. All three players are elite and still in their twenties. Plus, as fans, we know that these players are as committed to Denver as Denver is to them. That is exceptional in this day and age.

Michael Young Update

Apparently, the Rockies-Rangers on-again-off-again Michael Young trade talks are officially dead. The Rangers have decided to keep Young and use him in a utility role. Texas has known for almost a week that a deal with Adrian Beltre was imminent and the Rangers have been trying to convince the Rockies to take Young off their hands. However, because of Young’s huge contract and the Ranger’s asking price, the Rockies have wisely declined.

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Tags: Adrian Beltre Carlos Gonzalez Jayson Werth Matt Holliday Michael Young Scott Boras Troy Tulowitzki Ubaldo Jimenez

  • flatrox

    I’ve always thought of Scott Boras as Darth Vader… Just joking.

    In realty, I think the Boras is a post modern Teddy Bear where players, who care little for their team, hide behind the Boras persona and make him take the blame for leaving and going to whatever outfit offers the most cash.

    It’s difficult to look at Jayson Werth the same way. I mean, if you cared about winning and playing on the best team in baseball, would a couple million dollars really make a difference? But with that question, my mind and experience prevent me from understanding the difference between $100 million spread over 7 years vs $126 million spread over the same period. The Nationals? Seriously!?

    Wouldn’t you (if you were Jayson Werth) give up the head ache of spending the extra $26 million to go after a few more World Series Championship rings? What the hell do you play the game for? (Oh yea, $126 million answers to that question) But when you think about it, the endorsements alone from playing on a championship team might be worth double the $26 million he’d be giving up.

    Looking at the players who use Scott Boras as their representation, I don’t think Boras is the devil. Rather, I think the players are the bad guys and use Boras as their public opinion shield. It pleases me and relieves me that CarGo isn’t one of those guys.

    May CarGo and Tulo have a long, healthy, and multi-championship filled career with the Rockies!

  • BirmCori

    flatrox – Werth’s signing wasn’t necessarily for the money. Understand he has 2 little kids, school age, and wanted some stability for their school years. This contract allows him and his family to stay put for seven years – long enough for them to be in Jr high by the time he has to consider moving again. I really wish everyone would broaden their focus and stop pinpointing the $$. I’m positive it wasn’t a deterrent, but there are other factors ball players look at aside from the bank account and who’s in the club house. To go from a winning team to where he is, Werth HAD to be looking at more than the dollars otherwise he wouldn’t have made the deal.

  • anonphan

    JDub’s not w/the Phillies b/c Amaro & owners decided early to go for Lee & put the $$ w/him & Howard. They treated JW badly. Insulting given how hard he worked & how well he played. They wouldn’t have gone to the NLCS ’10 w/o JW.

    He did intvws in ST saying he wanted to stay, every chance he got. His agent said they never talked to him. Instead they signed 4 other players, acquired Oswalt, & gave Howard a hideous deal of 25mil/5yrs w/a 10mil buyout @ age 37! Howard has just begun to be adequate @1st. JW is 5-tools & you’ll see it (played RF&CF ’10).

    Unbelieveable saying he’s “greedy” & he “took the money”, etc. Not only would they have done the same, but they wouldn’t have had as much class about doing it. JW kept his mouth shut & never said a negative word about the Phillies, tho they deserved it. Poor treatment of a good, solid, loyal player doesn’t speak well of the club. The 4 yrs he was w/the Phils were the Div win yrs. Prior to that: 30 yrs of losing. Not saying it was Werth, but he had a right to think he was part of something larger & that he deserved a decent contract.

    End of ’10 he hired Boras & left, & went to the team that gave him $$, yrs, no-trade, & convinced him they’ll try to win. Good for him. Anyone would do the same considering they couldn’t be on the team they wanted, in the city they wanted, they had to move their family, & their #’s would likely go down b/c of total team play (JW can’t be the whole team).

    Nats fans: you’re getting a solidly good, loyal player on his way to real greatness, baseball’s in his DNA, he’ll leave it all on the field every game, he loves his kids & wife, he’ll be good to the city & its teams, & he’s a lot of fun w/the press (dry, snarky, doesn’t answer when he doesn’t want to), hilarious. He’s not effusive, but he’s a good guy. I’m a lifetime Phillies phan & I’ll always be a JDub fan. Be good to him. He deserves it.

  • flatrox

    It’s nice to see some debate here!

    Well, you are right. It wasn’t all about the money. But Werth’s signing, as both BirmCori and anonphan rightly note, wasn’t all about winning baseball either: stability for his wife and kids are hard to knock, but won’t replace the fact that he left the highly favored Phillies. My perspective is from a fan trying to imagine leaving a team with the best rotation in MLB in decades. There are probably a couple of championships waiting to happen in Philly. But you guys are also correct in noting that we shouldn’t heap all the blame on Werth, which I didn’t necessarily intend to do because the guy is a top notch baseballer; his inside-the-park home run against my Rockies in 2008 (which I witnessed at Coors field) convinced me that anonphan is correct: he has baseball in his DNA. The Phillies were reluctant to extend Werth beyond 3 years at 18 million per annum with a 4th year option (and I believe it was a club option). This might indeed undervalue Werth, but I think it is much closer to a realistic evaluation of his talents compared to what the Nats gave up. But the market is what the market is, and the Nats represent the absurd extreme of the market at the 2010 winter meetings.

    The point of what I wrote is that Boras isn’t really the “bad guy.” There actually might not be a bad guy in all of this… just shades of grey. Werth left for more money and a stable family life (not to win championships in Washington); The Phillies decided to build a fantasy rotation instead of paying Werth his due; The Nats have money to burn – but not enough to compete for Lee, apparently; and Scott Boras finessed the top possible dollar for his client.

    In short, everybody was looking after their best interests in all of this.

  • Logan Burdine

    I don’t fault Werth or Boras for the contract. I don’t like Boras, but he serves his purpose and if I were a player I would seriously consider hiring him as my agent. Werth already has a ring and turning down $127M guaranteed would be foolish.

    I fault the Nationals for giving out a really dumb contract. I’m actually a big fan of Jayson, but the Nats are making a mistake by giving him such an enormous commitment. The move reeks of desperation.