Scott Boras is unquestionably one of most gifted agents in the sports industry, with a virtually unparalleled tenacity and negotiating savvy - as evidenced by the $92 million left on Chris Davis' contract - that has afforded him a client list replete with A-listers.
He's also, unquestionably, too fond of metaphors and lyricism, and his unique oratory makes him difficult to understand at times.
As per winter meetings tradition, Boras held court with a horde of baseball writers on Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas. There, before a mosh pit filled with khakis in the lobby of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Boras spoke about a variety of subjects. He unsurprisingly devoted a lot of time to discussing Bryce Harper, who will likely sign the biggest contract in baseball history later this offseason. And much of what he said made sense.
As is his wont, though, Boras also unleashed a torrent of metaphors during his 56-minute scrum, cloaking many responses in needless opacity. I've taken the liberty of parsing - or trying to parse, at least - his more inscrutable comments below:
Boras-ism: “This is not a race where every car is labeled.”
Translation: Teams that haven't been identified as suitors for Harper could be in contention for his services.
It certainly feels like the Philadelphia Phillies or New York Yankees will end up signing the five-time All-Star. But it shouldn't surprise you if the Los Angeles Angels or Chicago White Sox end up getting him, or they could at least make an earnest effort.
Harper makes sense for every team, regardless of each franchise's current position on the win curve. He's amazing, and he's only now heading into his age-26 season. Even clubs mired in a rebuild could sign Harper to a 10-year deal and still have him become the linchpin during the team's next competitive window.
Boras-ism: "When the nurse walks into the room with a thermometer, the issue is not what the thermometer says that day. The issue is what is their health when they’re ready to leave the hospital. And they're not ready to leave the hospital."
Translation: General managers who may have suggested they're out on Harper aren't necessarily out on Harper.
To provide some context, this comment was in response to a question about the Yankees' interest in Harper. Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman indicated that he won't be pursuing the former NL MVP due to the preponderance of outfielders already on New York's 25-man roster. Boras seems to think, then, that Cashman's comments amounted to posturing and an attempt to gain leverage in potential negotiations, and his words weren't necessarily indicative of the GM's true plan.
Boras-ism: “(The Cardinals) sit on the big bank of St. Louis.”
Translation: Despite being regarded as a small(ish)-market team, the Cardinals can definitely afford Bryce Harper.
Lately, the Cardinals have shied away from top-level free agents, preferring in recent offseasons to give their money to mid-market types like Dexter Fowler, Mike Leake, and Brett Cecil. But that shift hasn't been about a lack of money.
In 2018, after all, the Cardinals had the eighth-highest payroll in the majors, and earned more revenue than all but 10 other clubs, according to Forbes. They were also pegged as baseball's seventh-most valuable franchise. Boras is bang on here, and the Cardinals are actually a solid fit for Harper given that they're clearly going for it all in 2019 - they acquired Paul Goldschmidt last week with only one year left on his contract - and could use both a left-handed bat in the middle of their order and a right fielder.
Boras-ism: Teams have been creative in their efforts to woo Harper, with some sending "very graphic pictures."
Translation: Yeah, I have no idea what this means. Either prospective employers are sending Harper and his representatives customized graphics of the 26-year-old superstar rocking their team's uniform, or they're trying to entice him with free pornography (which, if so, means the Kansas City Royals are out of the running.)
Jonah Birenbaum is theScore's senior MLB writer. He steams a good ham. You can find him on Twitter @birenball.