Few things are as certain this time of year as too much Christmas music, not enough peppermint chocolate chip milkshakes, and the Scott Boras binders.
Famously crafted for (at least) his highest end clients, super agent Scott Boras puts together massive binders of information and sales pitches to provide to teams. I’m not sure how much the whole enterprise is really about selling the team on the client as opposed to selling the client on the agent, but, hey, you gotta do something.
This year, among his other clients, Boras is pitching outgoing Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta haaaaaard:
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 12, 2017
While a $200 million ask on Jake Arrieta right now is, on its face, absurd, you can understand why Boras is doing it this way. As Crasnick’s article notes, Boras has had a great deal of success in recent years taking these kinds of pitches about premium players directly to owners.
Among the selling points on Arrieta are his limited big league workload and healthy postseason experience, both of which are legitimate credits. They ignore Arrieta’s recent decline in velocity, frequent battles with command troubles, declining peripherals, and age (32 in March), but it’s not like you’d expect an agent to point that stuff out. Apparently the comp Boras plans on pushing is Justin Verlander, who received a $180 million extension from the Tigers back in 2013.
From where the Cubs sit, you can be assured that they aren’t in the market for a $200 million 32-year-old starting pitcher. I don’t doubt that there’s still affection for Arrieta, and he demonstrated for a very long stretch this season that he can still be in the upper tier of starting pitchers. A reunion would be welcomed – as Theo Epstein noted last night – but my sense remains that the Cubs are not going to be aggressive pursuers. Rather, they will lie in wait, and if their rotation doesn’t otherwise get sorted out first, they could pounce if the market just isn’t there for Arrieta. I don’t expect either of those things to happen.
Of course, the longer Boras holds out for a $200 million level contract, though, it’s possible Arrieta could be on the market for a while. My guess is they’re starting high, as all free agents do, and will ultimately work their way down from seven years and $200 million to something closer to five or six years, and $120 to $140 million.