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David Samson | Former Marlins Team President, MLB Insider

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
February 27, 2024 6:08 am

David Samson | Former Marlins Team President, MLB Insider

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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February 27, 2024 6:08 am

Former Florida Marlins Team President and current MLB Insider David Samson joins the show to talk Scott Boras, the lingering free agent market, and the start of a new baseball season.

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So pick up a Baja Blast wherever you are, in stores now. We are pleased to welcome longtime Marlins president and now longtime baseball analyst and award-winning podcast host, David Sampson, to the show. Happy belated birthday to you, David.

Oh, thank you very much. You missed it only by five hours and 24 minutes. Not bad. Did you do anything fun? You know, it's the work week, so I prepared a show, I watched a movie. It was just another Monday. I think as the years move on, you sort of stick to your routine and try to ignore the fact that all of a sudden you caught up to Lawrence Taylor. Well, happy birthday to you. I think it's hard to survive a year on this planet, so we should celebrate the birthdays.

It's not easy to keep going, so good for you. All right, so it's a work week. We'll dive right in. What's the delay with all of the free agents out there that are still available, not including Cody Bellinger any longer? I think this could be the year that finally Scott Boras has overplayed his hand and he has valued his players. He's got the guys at the top of the market with Montgomery and Snell and Chapman and he had Bellinger until the Cubs sort of blinked a little bit and gave Bellinger 80 million over three with opt-outs after each year. What Boras does is he tells his players he's going to get a certain amount of money and then he waits and he waits and he waits. And then either the player blinks or Boras decides, all right, let's do the Correa deal, which is the short pillow deal like you did with Minnesota two years ago with an opt-out and then try again the next year. And that worked for Correa because he got 200 million the next year after the first time he went through free agency. And the hope is that Bellinger has a good year again for Chicago and then can get a longer term deal that's better than the 80 over three. But it's an interesting standoff between owners and Boras and it's going longer into spring training than I think MLB or anybody is happy with.

Why? Why does it take away from spring training or why would baseball want to put a deadline on free agency? Well, just think about the excitement. I tried to get a deadline in free agency when I was in the game for 18 years. We tried every year with the union, every collective bargaining agreement, because think of the excitement. If you could have a deadline sometime in December, you'd have a frenzy of signings. Then you'd have teams with the ability to take all of January and February prior to spring training and sell that player, sell season tickets, sell excitement. The players' families would know where they're going to be.

They could look at school systems and look at spring training homes and regular season homes. There's just so many upsides to it of a deadline of getting players done. The downside, of course, is that it could have a quashing impact on salaries. I understand why the union would say that. But at the end of the day, having players signed is good for the game and good for players.

What's happening now is not good for anyone. So if you sign a player, let's say Jordan Montgomery, to a long term 200 million dollar deal, which is not going to happen. You want to be able to have him in camp on time. You want to be able to have him getting set up to be your opening day starter. And believe it or not, the funny thing in baseball that we do is make a big deal of announcing who our number one starter is. But there are 30 teams right now who know who their number one starter is because you start lining up your number one starter day one of spring training camp.

And you do it purposefully with when they're throwing, how many pitches they're throwing. And if you bring in a big time starter mid-March, it's very unlikely that that player is ready, truly ready, to start the season on time. And you don't want to risk injury if you have a long term commitment to a player.

You don't rush it. So it just pretty much screws everything up. But I absolutely understand why players are holding out and I also understand why teams are not meeting the asking price for these players. So this is a really high priced game of chicken with Scott Boris. It's very funny you say that because every free agent signing is a game of chicken, whether it's mid-level free agents, whether it's minor league free agents, or the biggest names on the board. And the reason why it's all the same game is players always overvalue themselves and teams are always trying, like your radio station, like your employer, like every employer, they're trying to get the best talent for the least money. That's what every business does.

Sure. And so that is that's what you see in baseball too. David Sampson, longtime Marlins president and has the Nothing personal podcast, which has just won a couple of awards. Congratulations to him.

We're always glad to have him here after hours on CBS Sports Radio. What is the real feeling or what is the real opinion of Scott Boris behind closed doors in front offices? It's extremely negative. I think is the nicest way I could put it, and I think it's negative with other agents as well toward him.

And I think it's based a little bit on jealousy, but it's also based on just, you know, poofery is what I call it. When you go to the winter meetings or the GM meetings, there's only one agent who, quote unquote, holds court who has an entire press conference set up just for himself, who is really such a a self PR machine. But remember, Scott Boris is nothing without owners agreeing to deals for his players. And when his players get deals that they want, then they love Scott Boris. But there are a lot of players he has that just sort of fall by the wayside because he over asks. And so I always blamed myself, never Scott, for bad deals that I did with him because we have to say yes while we would overpay a player because he would convince our owner that this player was the one piece missing for a World Series or any other marketing ridiculousness that he would do on behalf of his clients. We're the ones on the team side without us.

Nothing happens. And so we always bail him out and make him look right. And this year it looks like it's not happening. And that's a fascinating change that the entire industry is watching, including all the other agents where they look and say, wow, if teams don't bail out Boris, then maybe players won't be poached by Boris as much. And they won't want to go to Boris as much because they won't think that going to him will all of a sudden get them this more money that in theory their own agent can't get them, which, of course, isn't true. Current agents, we never said, oh, we'll give more money because it's Boris clients.

But yet we often did. It was a very strange phenomenon, and it looks like it may be changing, and that's why I'm watching so intently what happens with Chapman and with Montgomery and with Snell. I've always wondered this, so I need your insider intel. Are clients of Boris allowed to overrule him, or when you sign with him, does he get final say? Because sometimes it feels like players actually would maybe take a little less or they would like to get in camp, they'd like to get the deal done, but they're waiting on their agent. Yeah, I've never seen anything like what happens with Boris, and he spends a lot of time publicly denying that it's the players who make the final decisions, but I've been around him for 18 years.

It's just not the case. I can't tell you the number of players who told me, yeah, I can't do that deal. My agent will not allow me to do that deal. And I would say to the player, but it's your life, it's your career, it's your money.

The biggest example is someone like a Marcelo Zuno or a Jose Fernandez who then passed away without having any long-term deal. They basically said to our front office, we're sorry, thank you for that offer, but we're going to pass. And when we'd ask, you know, why, look at the value we're giving you, we get a reason of our agent does not believe that you are valuing me at where I should be valued. And my answer always was, that does not interest me, what you just said.

What do you and your family think about what we are offering? And so one of the rules that Scott Boras players have is you're going to listen to me and that's the rule. And I'm going to take care of you and you're going to make more money with me than with anyone else, I promise.

And the problem is those promises don't always come true. It's After Hours here on CBS Sports Radio, David Sampson is with us and we love that he gets up early and that he always brings it even though it's super early. By the way, Jay's birthday is today, so you guys were so close to being birthday twins. That has nothing to do with baseball. So the commissioner, Rob Manfred, has announced that he will be retiring in a few years when his contract is done. What does he need to get accomplished between now and then?

Oh my God, it's such a funny question because he talked about stepping away. So the first time, I have to tell you, when I got the alert, my eyes and brain only saw MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stepping down. Oh no. My brain just sort of stopped and then I realized it said in 2029.

And I said, oh, I get it. 2029 is a long time from now. There's going to be so many changes of owners by then. The TV deals will be very different right now. We're going year to year with these regional sports networks trying to figure out what the local media landscape is going to be. And then even more importantly, there's a new labor deal that has to be negotiated prior to 2029. So there's a lot of ground to cover. And I would only say that I will believe it when I see it. And what I mean by that is that when the CEO like a Bob Iger gives you a timing for him stepping down from Disney, often the timeline is not stuck to because things just happen.

Things just come up. Rob has been a terrific commissioner and I was there when he was elected and I was very much in favor of him being elected. He's made changes to the game that have been significant. There's been an increase in overall industry revenue.

Valuations are going up. So it is not doom and gloom in Major League Baseball. It is certainly a time of change because of the media, the unsettling nature of local media in a sport that really is far more local than the other sports. In other words, if I talk to you about local media deals in the NFL, you'd laugh and say there are none and you'd be right. And in baseball, the majority of your broadcast revenue is local. So this change in the media landscape has impacted baseball tremendously.

And it's just a fascinating story to watch over the next several years. How do you like the move to streaming for so many sports broadcasts? It's like asking people who love typewriters, how do you like to move to computers? The answer is there are some people who are really stubborn and kept using typewriters until they ran out of liquid paper.

And they realized, well, wait a minute, there may be a better way. So the thing about streaming is that it doesn't matter what I think of streaming. It only matters that the audience and the world is now a streaming world. And it's going to become more streaming, not less.

In the NFL, you had one playoff game last year. Now it's Amazon who paid $150 million for one fully streaming playoff next year. If you think that that is not the beginning of a trend, then you're just not paying attention. It is absolutely going to keep happening. More and more things will be behind paywalls because that is the name of the game.

It's getting people behind the paywall of a streaming service. And more and more people have, quote unquote, cut the cords, or they never had cords to start with. So if you look at my kids who are 28, 25, and 20, between them, they've had zero cords since they've become pain adults. The people who are my age, I had cords until three years ago, and then I had none. If you look at someone who is 80, they've had cords for 50 years, or whenever cords started, and will never change.

But they're going to die, I'm sorry to say. So that's a horrible thing to talk about at five in the morning, but think about generations passing. So the youngest generation, where baseball is really thinking about young people playing baseball, being engaged with baseball, to them, streaming is the only thing they know.

And so they're going to then become the 30-year-olds and the 40-year-olds and the 50-year-olds. And so eventually everyone's going to be streaming, and it won't even be an article when there's a playoff game behind a streaming paywall. No one will even mention that there's a streaming game on Peacock. It will not be anything that is conversation-worthy, but we're in that area now where it's starting.

And I would just prepare everyone that we're in the first inning of streaming, not any deeper into the game than that. Before I let you go, I've briefly toyed with the idea of trying to make a comparison between Shohei Ohtani-Buzz and Taylor Swift-Buzz. And I don't know if Shohei's fans have a nickname, but just somehow trying to say that the two things are comparable. Am I completely crazy? Yes.

I think that you're underselling the craziness of the Swifties and the purchasing power of the Swifties. And all you have to do is see how the NFL associated with her. I didn't see any other player girlfriends getting five to ten shots of themselves during the Super Bowl. There was one girlfriend, one player girlfriend, and I would say this about Ohtani. It is really exciting that he's going to the Dodgers only because he's never played in October. And it's better for baseball to have Ohtani playing in October.

Agreed. However, there is zero correlation between signing a really good DH and winning the World Series. And you can have all the Beatlemania you want, but the Dodgers added a DH. They needed pitching.

That's what they did. And people can say that he's a number one pitcher. He may be again, but this year he won't pitch at all.

All the excitement. He's starting the spring training game today. MLB Network is picking up the game.

Everyone has been following this and can't wait to see it. I love watching Ohtani play. But you know from baseball, it's not like you put a super team together and that means they win the World Series. It's not like basketball in that way. So I think it's premature to say the Dodgers are going to win it. And the Diamondbacks in the same division are not scared of the Dodgers because they know what they were able to do last year. And in any playoff series, hitters can get cold. Ohtani can go one for 14 in a playoff series. Or he can go eight for 14 and your team can lose because your pitching stinks. So there's a lot of excitement coming for this season. But the best news of the offseason for me is that the guarantee, and I say this almost surely, the guarantee that Ohtani wins a playoff game is 100%. And that's exciting because he's a two-time MVP who has never even played in a playoff game.

Or like Mike Trout, who we haven't seen in a decade. All right, you can find David Sampson on Twitter at DavidPsampson, S-A-M-S-O-N. The award-winning, nothing personal, daily podcast.

And also on CBS Sports HQ, longtime Marlins president, our favorite early bird. Thank you so much for a couple of minutes always. I appreciate it. Have a great day.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-27 08:40:24 / 2024-02-27 08:48:04 / 8

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