If you follow the insane micromovements of the baseball hot stove season, you probably, over the past year or two, had a reaction like the one Hardball Talk had in February. "Apparently, Gary Sheffield is an agent," the headline read. Sheffield had just negotiated a minor-league deal for journeyman knuckleballer Josh Banks a few months after he negotiated reliever Jason Grilli's $1.1 million deal with the Pirates. To outward appearances, the fearsomely gifted often disgruntled outfielder had quickly become the Scott Boras of replacement-level players. So I wanted to know more. I went down to Tampa for Sports on Earth and hung out with Sheffield. I learned many, many things. Here's just one: Gary Sheffield is still not a fan of the actual Scott Boras:
Everything went wrong in LA, too. Sheffield says the Dodgers promised him a lifetime contract if he played well. He did: He would eventually hit .312/.424/.573 with 129 homers in three-and-a-half seasons. But the negotiations broke down before his third full Dodgers season, and Sheffield fired his agent. Sheffield hired Scott Boras, who told him he'd get that lifetime deal from the Dodgers if he shut up and hit, and Bob Daly, the Dodgers' chairman, agreed to this premise in a meeting with both of them. So Sheffield shut up and hit. In his final season he had a 1.000 OPS. But the deal still didn't come.
He told Boras to get him traded, and when he couldn't, Sheffield fired him: "I fired Scott Boras because he made a promise to me, and the organization made a promise to me, and they lied," he says. "If you break a promise, you get fired." Sheffield negotiated his own trade to Atlanta.
Sheffield told me that Boras also lied to Charles Johnson, the Marlins catcher who was part of the same package sent to the Dodgers. Sheffield agreed to drop his no-trade clause and go to L.A. in large part because he didn't want to hold up a fat new contract that Johnson said he'd been promised, a contract that never materialized. You can't lie to Charles Johnson and expect to get away with it.
Anyway, go read the whole story.
THE SECOND LIFE OF SHEFF [Sports on Earth]