It's a tradition quite unlike any other at Major League Baseball's offseason gatherings. The Boras Corporation will send a text message to reporters informing them that Scott Boras will be fielding questions at an anointed time and place. The journalists begin to gather, like chickens just before feeding time.
When Boras arrives, he stands in the middle of the crowd and performs, trying out scripted lines, ad-libbing others. This is what happened Wednesday at the general manager meetings in Carlsbad, California.
No other agent has the stature to pull this off annually; few agents would even want to do this, wary of making the story about themselves, rather than their clients. But Boras is probably better known than a lot of the players he represents, after many decades of pronouncements and record-setting contracts, with some high-profile gaffes sprinkled in.
Some general managers don't like taking his calls because they anticipate long harangues, and some find him interesting and amusing. But they all need to talk with him because he typically represents prominent clients -- like Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, one of the best starting pitchers available this winter, and Bryce Harper, the best slugger. They have studied his tactics, they know his negotiating habits, they have a sense of how he thinks.
Because of all of this, the dissemination of news of the Nationals' contract offer to Harper caught the attention of executives and agents, who are trying to decode what it all means.