Say what you will about Scott Boras – and you will – but he moves the needle. When baseball’s super-agent-iest super agent goes into his schtick, people listen, write, read, and react. As long as you receive the information with an understanding that Boras is, at all times, working, you can often find some interesting bits.
Boras met with the media yesterday at the GM Meetings – in a huge scrum, as he does – and you can read up on some of the Cubs-related things he discussed here, here, and here, among other places. I also think it’s worth reading about his feud with the Marlins over a variety of topics here (and I’m not sure he’s wrong on that one).
Some thoughts on Boras’s comments …
- I was actually surprised by his discussion of Jake Arrieta’s future. Given how incredibly awesome Arrieta was this year, given that he’s just two years away from free agency, and given that Boras tends to have his clients reach free agency, I was surprised that he wasn’t at all dismissive about the possibility of the Cubs and Arrieta getting together on an extension. I certainly wouldn’t call it likely, but it was interesting to see Boras discussing the matter in a way that made it seem plausible.
- However, as I’ve said before, I have trouble seeing an extension that makes sense both for the Cubs and for Arrieta, thanks to a handful of unique circumstances. For the Cubs, they’ve got Arrieta under control for his age 30 and 31 seasons at what amount to extremely nice team options (arbitration years two and three). How much money are they going to want to guarantee today for the privilege of securing Arrieta’s age 32, 33, 34, and, say, 35 seasons? Arrieta is probably still going to be a very good pitcher by then, but guaranteeing huge, free agent-level dollars two years in advance to a pitcher over 30 years old is rarely an advisable strategy. And, then, from Arrieta’s perspective, if the Cubs are going to guarantee only the salaries in, say, the next three or four years, is that really worth him giving up his age-32 shot at free agency? It’s certainly possible that he’s comfortable just locking down life-changing money right now, but it’s also possible he wants to bet on himself and make much, much more. I couldn’t blame him either way. It’s just a tricky situation with an older pitcher, who broke out late, and who is still under team control into his 30s. You don’t see it very often, which is why it’s hard to see a match coming. (Obligatory: I heart Jake Arrieta, and I think he’s all kinds of awesome. This isn’t about that. I’m very glad that the Cubs will have him, at a minimum, for the next two seasons.)
- Boras got into the Kris Bryant service time stuff from before the season – you’ll recall, he was incredibly vocal back then – and his stance seemed a little softer there, too. Sure, he chided the Cubs for not having Bryant break camp with the big league team, but his criticism this time around was more about the system as a whole (something we’ve discussed, and are in general agreement about, though I’ve yet to see a workable fix).
- Boras said that his other top young Cubs client, Addison Russell, should be ship-shape (hamstring) in time for Spring Training.
- The annual nudge directed at the Ricketts Family took the form of the team now being in a “championship phase” rather than a “rebuilding phase,” with the implication being that they should spend accordingly. As we know, Boras can keep saying it every year, but the way the Cubs spend their dollars will not be impacted.
- All in all, it appears to have been a fairly tame session (on Cubs topics, at least). Maybe he’ll load up and bring the real heat at the Winter Meetings.