DETROIT -- In an unexpected twist to the offseason saga surrounding both free-agent pitcher Kenny Rogers and agent Scott Boras, Rogers has dismissed Boras and now is representing himself in contract negotiations, multiple baseball sources confirmed Friday afternoon.
Clubs were informed of the change in an e-mail sent out league-wide through Major League Baseball and its Players Association. The Tigers confirmed they were notified Friday afternoon.
The sudden firing is the second move in the last three days regarding Boras and one of his clients. The Yankees and Alex Rodriguez negotiated his deal this week without Boras representing. At no point in that case, however, had Rodriguez apparently changed agents, and subsequent reports suggested Boras re-entered negotiations to work out the final details on the contract.
The Rogers negotiations haven't had nearly the same drama or attention, but they've had their fair share of twists and turns. The free-agent left-hander said toward the end of the season he wasn't sure if he wanted to pitch again in 2008, but if he did, he wanted to do it with Detroit. When he decided he wanted to pitch again, however, Boras informed the Tigers during the GM Meetings last week that he and his client would listen to interest from other clubs, a move that caught president/general manager Dave Dombrowski by surprise.
The Tigers have made two one-year contract offers to Rogers through Boras, both of which were declined. Meanwhile, the Rangers have confirmed their interest in Rogers, and the Mariners have been among other clubs reportedly interested in the 43-year-old southpaw as well.
Rogers told MLB.com in an e-mail Thursday evening that he still hoped to re-sign with the Tigers. It was his first comments regarding his situation with Detroit since he declared for free agency two weeks ago. His previous contact with Detroit reporters had come through Boras.
"I would prefer not to discuss negotiations publicly," Rogers wrote Thursday. "I will say that I still hope to be in a Tiger uniform in 2008. Thanks for your understanding and patience during this process."
The Tigers didn't want to speculate on how Friday's move will affect their negotiations. They didn't know of the change until they received the e-mail. By all appearances, however, it's expected to ease the way toward a deal that would return Rogers to Detroit.
In the rare previous instances of prominent players representing themselves, they usually do so to finalize a contract with a particular club, not shop themselves around to other clubs. A-Rod is one such case; another is current Tigers slugger Gary Sheffield, a former Boras client who negotiated his free-agent contract with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner four years ago. Justin Verlander finalized his first professional contract through his father, a union negotiator who stepped in to help save his son's negotiations after previous talks reached an impasse.
Rogers' talks presumably now will go directly from player to team. Dombrowski was on his way to a speaking engagement Friday evening, according to a team spokesperson, and could only confirm being notified of the change. Rogers was not available for comment.
Phone messages left with Boras on Friday evening were not returned.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.