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Boras Blast From The Past: Bill Caudill

By Tim Dierkes [March 26 at 2:00pm CST]

We're starting up a new feature here at MLB Trade Rumors called Boras Blast From The Past. Basically we'll dig into the history of super-agent Scott Boras for interesting stories.

Today let's talk about Bill Caudill, Boras' first client. Caudill was a 28 year-old righty reliever coming off an All-Star 1984 season for Oakland in which he posted a 2.71 ERA in 96.3 innings. The A's traded Caudill to the Blue Jays in December of that year. Boras was 33 years old at the time and set out to negotiate a long-term contract for Caudill, a former minor league teammate.

Boras came out of the gate seeking $1.3MM a year, according to Steve Nidetz of the Chicago Tribune in '85:

The Toronto Blue Jays are balking at paying former Cubs' reliever Bill Caudill $1.3 million a year, but, according to Caudill's agent Scott Boras, Lloyd's of London is impressed enough by his client's season last year that it has agreed to double his insurance policy to $3 million. "They just estimate Bill's relative value and they assess it," said Boras. But, ask the Blue

Jays, can Lloyd's insure wins and saves?

Boras negotiated a five-year deal worth $7MM guaranteed for Caudill with the Blue Jays, minutes before an arbitration hearing was to take place. Pat Gillick was GM at the time. A Financial Post article from '85 said, "With special incentives he could earn as much as $750K more per year. Boras's economic advisers feel that $8.7 million is an accurate value of the pact." An article in the Chicago Tribune in February of '85 states, "Caudill's agent, Steve Boras, said the contract was worth more than $1.3 million a year." Yes, they called him Steve Boras.

Boras also came up with a new idea to maximize Caudill's endorsement possibilities. In fact, endorsements were a major reason Caudill signed with the Blue Jays and he even put out a line of clothing in Canada. From the Post article:

Since the rights to the team logo (which is on the uniform) are owned by the team, Boras had it written into Caudill's contract that he could appear in the uniform for endorsement, promotional and commercial purposes as long as the Jays give prior consent.

The Caudill contract started this trend, but Jays exec Paul Beeston admitted at the time that they probably wouldn't prevent other players from endorsing products in uniform if the team approved. Even with his first client, Boras had visions of grandeur. He described Caudill's goals as "To be remembered as the first player who brought a World Series to Canada, and to put the city of Toronto officially on the baseball map."

Caudill pitched well in his first season for the Jays (1985), posting a 2.99 ERA in 69.3 innings (and that was amid a death threat over the size of his contract, according to John Robertson of the Toronto Star). But he struggled in '86, posting a 5.19 ERA over his first 17.3 innings. It was at that point that Boras pulled the following stunt, according to Sports Illustrated:

An airplane passed over Toronoto's Exhibition Stadium on June 25 carrying the following message: JIMY -- GIVE CAUDILL THE BALL. The hint to Blue Jays manager Jimy Williams was paid for by Bill Caudill's agent, Scott Boras.

Williams did not give Caudill the ball that day, and he posted a 6.19 ERA on the season. The following offseason Boras told Neil MacCarl of the Toronto Star that a new changeup, better conditioning, and a visit to Dr. Frank Jobe would result in a return to form. On April Fool's Day of 1987, however, the Blue Jays released Caudill and ate his remaining $3.3MM. He signed with the A's but didn't make it through that season, retiring with elbow and shoulder problems. Caudill now works as a scout for Boras.

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