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Scott Boras: MLB needs to hire a CEO

Sports agent Scott Boras listens as Gerrit Cole is introduced as the newest New York Yankees player.
Sports agent Scott Boras listens as Gerrit Cole is introduced as the newest New York Yankees player during a baseball media availability in New York on Dec. 18, 2019.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

Scott Boras, baseball’s most prominent agent, recommended Tuesday that major league owners hire a chief executive officer to grow the game and allow commissioner Rob Manfred to focus on governing it.

“It’s very hard to have a focused dialogue about entrepreneurial aspects of going forward,” Boras said, “when the real focus of that entity has the monstrous job of legislating the game.”

During the course of a 90-minute videoconference with reporters, Boras said the league enjoys robust financial health. The New York Mets just sold for $2.4 billion — a record price for a North American sports team, and in a pandemic no less. He repeated what he told The Times earlier this month: Although Manfred says the league lost a collective $3 billion last season, Boras said every team made money.

Boras’ claims would suggest the business of baseball under Manfred is quite good. However, Boras suggested the league would be better run with what he called the “entrepreneurial choices and development” run by a chief executive officer that reported directly to the owners, not to Manfred.

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The Angels made a push to sign former Chicago White Sox catcher James McCann but their offer wasn’t quite as good as the one the Mets reportedly made.

As Boras sees it, the commissioner’s office should be responsible for governance: rules enforcement, collective bargaining negotiations, minor league operations, relations with state and local governments, and the like.

“We want a very clear legislative commissioner who is watching over the conduct of the game,” Boras said.

Manfred rose through baseball’s ranks as its labor lawyer. Within the last two years, the league’s top two business and marketing executives, Tony Pettiti and Chris Park, left to join esports ventures. Pettiti’s title was deputy commissioner; his responsibilities have been split among other MLB executives.

“We really need a business development CEO who is responsive about making sure owners are working collectively and cohesively and collecting owner ideas for advancement of the game and sharing them,” Boras said.

He likened the concept to a lawyer running one end of the business and and an MBA running another end.

“You would have the business development division, which deals with the advancement, prosperity, inter-relationships, how to use rights, how to market the game, all those things, a completely different arena,” Boras said. “And when you have someone who has that charge, you’ll find that there will be a very open communication with that person, because they know they’re talking to someone different than someone who could potentially penalize, fine or administer a ruling against you for conduct relating to your operation.”


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