Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates his solo home run during the...

Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates his solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. Credit: AP/Ryan Sun

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Scott Boras’ annual get-togethers with reporters — at the November general managers’ meetings and at December’s winter meetings — are performance art.

The agent to the stars (of baseball) stands in front of a horde of media members and delivers (mostly prepared and compiled in-season by his Boras Corp. employees) verbal gems that tread primarily in dad-joke waters, yet, more often than not, are still hilarious. All coming rapid-fire in the advocacy of whichever of his clients is on the market that year.

These are the gatherings where Boras characterized teams planning to cut payroll as “not living in the gated community of Playoffville” (2017); used “Harper’s Bazaar” at the start of Bryce Harper’s free agency in 2018; and this from 2022 while discussing the market for Brandon Nimmo: “There are a lot of teams in the free-agent market that are in the waters for centerfield and whoever Pixar’s guy is will be the lucky one to finding Nimmo.”

The Wilpon-era Mets were a frequent target. At the 2011 winter meetings, Boras said of the at-the-time financially troubled Dodgers and Mets: “Normally, they’re in the steaks section, and I found them in the fruits-and-nuts category a lot.”

One year later, the Mets had upgraded to the “freezer section.”

But Boras occasionally tests his material in front of a smaller audience.

That was the case Tuesday when Boras, standing in the dugout suite he’s had for years at Angel Stadium, was approached by three news outlets, including Newsday.

The topic, naturally, was Juan Soto and Hal Steinbrenner’s recent comments to the YES Network’s Jack Curry regarding his plan to engage Boras in-season on extension talks and making the outfielder “a Yankee for life.”

Boras, who had a four-hour dinner with Soto Monday night, smiled, a colorful filibuster at the ready.

“When you represent players . . . I call ‘centurions,’ where you can say that they will be among the top 100 players to ever play this game, when you represent a centurion, you don’t worry about the cost of them to a franchise because they increase the franchise value of the team,” Boras said. “Therefore, the only cost you’re worrying about is what it costs to build the monument.”

Boras, whose clients rarely sign extensions and forgo free agency, would not say specifically if he and Steinbrenner — with whom the agent said he has “a really good relationship” — had started talks in earnest.

“Hal and I talk a good bit,” Boras said. “We talked a lot about Juan’s comfort level being here . . . a lot about who wants history. We’ve had a number of conversations about Juan.”

At last week’s owners’ meetings in Manhattan, Steinbrenner said continuing with the $300 million-plus payroll he’s carrying this season is “simply not sustainable for us financially.”

The Yankees have quite a few dollars coming off the books after the season but, regardless, that is not Boras’ concern.

“I understand that any owner should be responsible, and any owner should do good business,” he said. “But when you have a chance to pursue a centurion, you’re only going to have that happen maybe, at best, if you own the team for 40, 50 years, you may have a chance to do that maybe three or four times, that’s about it.”

Which isn’t to say Soto isn’t enjoying his time with the Yankees and isn’t potentially interested in staying. It’s just not at the forefront of his mind.

“I think Juan’s focus, and always a focus of a player, is that when you’re on a team that’s doing what the Yankees are doing . . . we don’t talk about contract matters,” Boras said. “Because this guy already has a ring on his finger, and he has a feeling he can get another one.”

Boras returned several times to his word of the day.

“I don’t think centurions for any team are what you would consider a cost to a team because it’s a franchise appreciation addition,” he said.

“So whatever your franchise is worth, a centurion on your team would thereby make the team worth millions more. We just don’t get, in a 100-year period, how many of these players do we get that we can say are 25 years old, that played in the big leagues at 19 and are world champions and are on their way to set numerous records in their performance?

“And how many of them do we have that you can say have a free-agent right and yet have that valuation and potential for any major-league franchise? So I’m back to my point. The decision about those types of players is really about where you’re building the monument.”

To be continued in November

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