In the fall of 2016, former Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boat crash off the coast of Miami Beach at the age of 24. The right-handed pitcher was selected by the Marlins in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft and quickly became the face of the franchise. Fernandez, a Cuban-born defector developed into a baseball success as he earned NL Rookie of the Year and an All-Star appearance in 2013. After undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2014, Fernandez would bounce back with another All-Star appearance in 2016 before his untimely death later that year. Fernandez’s death has been marred by debate regarding the facts of the investigation and who held responsibility for the boating accident.
During his baseball career, Fernandez was represented by MLBPA agent Scott Boras of the Boras Corporation. The Boras Corporation is recognized as one of the premier professional sports agencies in the world. The baseball-focused agency headed by Scott Boras is based in Newport Beach, California and manages $1.89 billion worth of active MLB contracts (Forbes). However, Boras and his agency have recently experienced scrutiny. Former Marlins president David Samson spoke with Dan Le Batard’s radio show and the Miami Herald being critical of Boras, his relationship with the Marlins and how he handled his client’s death.
“Scott Boras’ handling of Jose Fernandez’s death was a joke,” said Samson on Le Batard’s show discrediting the world-renowned agent. Samson further alleged that Boras did not adequately advise his clients. “You have a death file on your players? Except you don’t get insurance for them?… You didn’t advise him to put money away?” said Samson about Fernandez and Boras’ suspected lack of care for his clients. He further elaborated on Boras’ lack of involvement in Fernandez’s funeral arrangements. “And then you cry and don’t pay for anything –nothing, not the funeral. Jeffrey (former Marlins owner) paid for everything –the funeral, the whole procession that Jose had.” The former Marlins president continued to be critical of Boras when he stated, “Where’s Boras? Not calling him. Why? Because Jose can’t make him money any more. . . He’s a lecherous agent who manipulates owners” (Miami Herald). Samson believes that Boras is an agent who does not work in the best interest of his clients and is solely focused on what they bring to the table financially.
These words uttered by Samson regarding Boras have implications. Boras is highly-respected in baseball, but Samson’s scrutiny questions the legitimacy and integrity of the agent and his corporation. Boras has built a rapport with MLB players and executives across the league. Samson believes that those relationships can be marred by Boras’ own self-interests. Samson’s feelings towards Boras can potentially resonate with others and hurt the perception of Boras and his agency. However, until proven otherwise, Boras will remain a key player in the representation of athletes, particularly in professional baseball. The Boras Corporation has no signs of slowing up anytime soon as they head into negotiating a potential record breaking contract for Bryce Harper this MLB off-season.