By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
After signing him in 1998, the Dodgers nurtured Beltre through some developmental years. In 2004, he broke out with 48 home runs, 121 runs batted in and a .334 batting average. Then Beltre took a five-year, $64 million deal from the Seattle Mariners, spurning a similar offer from the Dodgers. Since coming to the American League, Beltre has failed to live up to his salary. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have yet to fill his shoes at third base.
After winning the World Series with the 1997 Florida Marlins and a National League pennant with the 1998 San Diego Padres, Brown became the first player in history to sign a $100 million contract, and the highest paid pitcher ever at that point, signing with the Dodgers for $105 million and seven years. Their top pitcher the next three years, Brown was testy and often injured. After being traded to the Yankees in 2003, he stepped on a sprinkler and injured his back, and then punched a wall and broke his left hand. Brown melted down in the 2004 American League Championship Series, and retired in 2006.
In 2004, the center fielder with Jesus-like hair helped the Red Sox win their first championship in 86 years. Months after pledging, "There's no way I can go play for the Yankees," and preaching, "It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar," he signed with the Yankees for four years and $52 million. Vilified at first, booed in Fenway Park by some, Damon punished the Red Sox during a pivotal five-game series at the end of the 2006 season. The Yankees swept the Sox, in Boston, with Damon going 10-for-25 in the series.
Injury prone and sporting a record of more losses than wins, Dreifort signed a five-year, $55 million contract with the Dodgers in 2001 that was dubious from the get-go. He was known as a gamer and willing to play in pain, but his demise was nonetheless spectacular, as he underwent elbow-reconstruction surgery and promptly developed arm, shoulder, knee and hip trouble in subsequent years. In his last three years with the Dodgers he pitched just 205 innings, retiring in 2004.
Tagged by St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa as a guy content to "settle for 75 percent" of his talent, Drew has become the poster boy for the "Scott Boras is the Devil" crowd. He had some hot-and-cold, injury-plagued years in St. Louis and cashed in with a rich contract after a stellar year with the Atlanta Braves. He told the Dodgers he liked playing in LA last year, then exercised an escape clause and signed with the Red Sox, for five years and $70 million. After a strong April, he has slumped in May and recently suffered yet another injury.
D-Lowe was a key member of the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox, but he left the very next year for the pitcher-friendly National League. Boras and another client, Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, tried to tell the Red Sox they were making a serious mistake in failing to meet Lowe's price: $36 million for four years. So far no complaint from either side, as the sinkerball specialist anchored the Dodgers' staff, and the Red Sox have compiled one of the best starting rotations in baseball.
A national treasure in Japan, 26-year-old "Dice-K" has an elastic arm and throws eight different pitches, including the storied "gyroball." Boras nabbed him like he does many international clients, with superior scouting and relationship building. Boras got the Red Sox to pay $51 million for the right to sign the pitcher to a six-year, $52 million contract. A full-time Boras employee is at Dice-K's beck and call, in addition to a full-time translator, and Boras' marketing company has teamed up with the Red Sox marketing firm and a Japanese company to promote Dice-K's image globally. Matsuzaka just pitched his first complete game, and his win-loss record so far is 6-2. ?
A-Rod had it all in Seattle—popularity, a winning record, a limitless future—but he wanted more. Bowled over by his statistics and Boras' pronouncement of greatness, the Texas Rangers signed the young star to an unprecedented 10-year, $252 million contract, the largest in baseball history. Three years later A-Rod was off to New York, putting Texas and its mediocre record and declining attendance in the rearview mirror. However, the Yankees value one thing and one thing only: World Series rings. And A-Rod has turned out to be a postseason choker.
The rangy left-hander has a nasty slider, has never missed a start and pitched well in the postseason for the Oakland A's. A three-time All-Star with a Cy Young Award under his belt, he ranked 20th in earned-run average last year and tied for fourth in wins, with 16. Then he dumped his former agent, Arn Tellem, and went with Boras, who coaxed the San Francisco Giants into giving Zito the largest contract for a pitcher in major league history: seven years and $126 million. So far this year he's 3-5 with a 5.13 ERA.