Cubs News: Scott Boras’ disappointing offseason
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

Cubs News: Scott Boras’ disappointing offseason

by - Staff Writer -

There was a time when any baseball executive or fan could tell you about Scott Boras. “He’s the best agent in baseball,” they might say. “He gets the most for his players on the market,” they might say. “His players never sign extensions; they always go to free agency.”

However, this offseason was a pitiful one for Boras Corp.

You can fast-forward a few off-seasons ago when Scott Boras’ client Bryce Harper stretched out his free agency to March and signed a 13-year, 330 million-dollar deal. Stephen Strasburg signed a 7-year, 245 million-dollar deal, and Anthony Rendon got the same. What about Kris Bryant signing a seven-year, 182-million-dollar contract? Or Xander Bogaerts signing an 11-year, $280 million mega deal last offseason. Max Scherzer is making over $40 million per year.

The point is, yes, Boras has been widely successful in squeezing the most out of the market for his clients.

Many expected that trend to continue, as Boras had high-name clients on the market this season. Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, JD Martinez, and Rhys Hoskins highlighted this group.

Besides Hoskins, who was recovering from an injury all of 2023, the rest of the group was coming off of extreme success. Snell was the NL Cy Young winner, Bellinger revived his career and won Most Improved Player, Montgomery helped pitch the Texas Rangers to a World Series, JD Martinez produced a 30 homer, 100 RBI season, and Matt Chapman won another Gold Glove at third base.

The industry was not crazy to expect these Boras clients to clean up via free agency, but that wasn’t the case.

The off-season awaited the first and biggest domino to fall: Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani signed a record 10-year, 700 million-dollar contract with nearly all the money deferred. The record deal he signed seemed to point toward some record spending in 2024, which was music to Boras’ ears—but did not come to fruition.

Snell, coming off arguably the best season of his career, was seeking a contract north of $250 million. Reports say He denied deals in the range of 160-180 million, holding out for the $200 million plus that Boras is known to get. Instead, He settled for a two-year, 62 million-dollar contract and had to wait until late in the off-season to sign it.

Bellinger was similar. The former NL MVP revived his career in Chicago, and he thought he would be rewarded with a contract of at least $200 million. Bellinger has had some injuries and struggles that teams are reasonably concerned about. Still, he had to wait until deep February just to get a 3-year, $80 million, $80 million contract with multiple opt-outs from the Cubs.

Chapman reportedly was looking for 150 million. He is an aging player but still an excellent defender and a strong power hitter at third base. Chapman outlasted the aforementioned on the market and settled for 54 million across three years with the Giants — structured similarly to Bellinger’s contract.

Then there’s Jordan Montgomery, coming off one of his best seasons ever, including a dominant postseason that led the Rangers to their first World Series Championship. Montgomery is in his 30s, but that performance mixed with Boras as his agent was anticipated to net him at least 150-200 million. Instead, Montgomery signed for just one year and 25 million dollars.

Finally, JD Martinez is deep into his MLB career, but after a 30 homer, 100 RBI campaign, the thought was Martinez would be able to have a market to potentially get him a contract near 100 million with an average annual value somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 million dollars. Martinez signed with the New York Mets for a one-year contract worth just 12 million dollars.

Five players that Boras expected to get somewhere near 900 million combined ended up with 233 million dollars. All of the contracts are for three years or less and have opt-outs attached. It's definitely not what was expected.

While some of these deals give Boras’ clients high average annual values, there is no long-term security for these big-named players.

Is this MLB, in a way blacklisting Scott Boras and his ability to squeeze the market to his clients’ advantage, or was it a specifically weird offseason for these players?

Is MLB trending away from 10+ year mega deals after seeing how the first batch has played out?

We won’t get answers to some of these questions, but we know that Scott Boras had a disappointing offseason by his standards.

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