Boras earns $550K for option he negotiated out of Sheffield's deal with Yanks

NEW YORK -- Scott Boras won a $550,000 decision against Gary Sheffield of the Detroit Tigers when an arbitrator decided the agent should be paid for eliminating a 2004 option that allowed the outfielder to become a free agent.

The decision was made Friday by arbitrator Joshua Javits, son of the former U.S. senator. Javits' finding was disclosed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because player-agent disputes are supposed to remain confidential.

Sheffield fired agent Jim Neader and hired Boras in the spring of 2001, and Boras represented Sheffield at the time of his January 2002 trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Atlanta Braves. Sheffield was due $9.5 million in 2002 and $11 million in 2003 in the final two guaranteed seasons of the $61 million, six-year extension he originally had signed with Florida in April 1997, and Boras negotiated the elimination of an $11 million option for 2004.

Sheffield then fired Boras and represented himself in negotiating a $39 million, three-year contract with the New York Yankees covering 2004-6.

Javits ruled that Boras was entitled to 5 percent of the $11 million option that Boras was able to eliminate. Boras had sought to be paid based on the entire Yankees' deal.

Boras declined comment and Sheffield's current representative, Rufus Williams, did not return telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

Last February at the start of spring training, Sheffield made clear his displeasure with Boras.

"I shouldn't have ever introduced myself to him. Period. Bad person," Sheffield said then.

Sheffield promised to say a lot of "ugly things" about various topics when the case is resolved.

"It ain't going to be pretty," he said then. "No fine is going to be big enough. No suspension is going to be long enough."