Today, super agent Scott Boras held his annual Winter Meetings address, and it was a site to behold.
Does any other non-player draw a crowd like this:
Annual Scott Boras address to begin shortly. Joy pic.twitter.com/2wG1xEbBHg
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) December 12, 2018
As expected, Boras was fairly cryptic throughout the event, but we were able to glean a little bit of information with respect to Bryce Harper from his comments. For example, the one everyone is talking about: “This is not a race where every car is labeled.” Obviously, you would expect any player’s agent to say something like that, because the promise of mystery teams usually skates alongside rising prices. But in this case, it feels like it could be more accurate than usual. After all, even the teams we more or less *know* to be interested in Harper, are, like, also “not”:
- Phillies: Were in before, but just signed Andrew McCutchen and prefer Manny Machado.
- Nationals: Were in before, but signed Patrick Corbin to a massive deal and ownership has since shied away from saying an offer is still on the table.
- Yankees: Very adamant that they do not want *any* outfielder, and prefer Manny Machado (though Boras wasn’t ready to rule them out).
- Cubs: Literally have no money (or something like that).
- White Sox: Want a seat at the table, but also like Machado and don’t consider themselves favorites for either.
- Dodgers: Have become more interested lately, but seem determined to shed some salary and/or outfielders before making such a move.
I could argue that none of those race cars has an obvious label on them, aside from, perhaps, the White Sox, and we can guess that they’re probably not Harper’s first choice. But the real question is “Is anything getting close?”
Well, Boras mentioned that they have “had meetings and conversations with clubs,” but added that they could be just a few meetings away from a finale … or a few weeks, which obviously doesn’t help much, but is par for the course with respect to Boras.
He did go on to say that both he and Harper have met with every team they need to by now, adding only that they’re in the process of negotiating with the teams that are actually in. Unfortunately, he didn’t mention who those teams were, but that’s not particularly surprising, either. If this is all true, mind you, you could guess that those teams listed above are the likely finalists (for now). But, again, Boras loves to play things slowly, because he knows things can change.
All of which leads into one of the strangest comments of the day:
Boras was asked about what he thinks of the Cubs' financial issues this winter and he said he won't talk about individual team's finances.
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) December 12, 2018
On the surface, those unfamiliar with Boras might not find anything odd with that statement. Those who’ve been here before, however, are going to be rightly confused. This is far from the first time Boras has gotten that sort of question before. In fact, it happens all the time about all kinds of teams. And you know what he almost always says? Who, Team X? They have TONS of money to spend and should be spending it on my free agent and lots of other free agents this winter! Basically, every time. Usually, he wraps it in some kind of barely-accessible metaphor. So his silence here was … well it was observed by us and relayed to you. That’s all I can really conjure, because it’s odd.
As for the pitches, themselves, Boras said that Harper will not be making individual team meetings, but instead has met with clubs in Vegas or Boras’ offices in L.A. That’s sure to keep things especially quiet and does vibe with his sneaky as a “submarine” comments from earlier this winter. He also said that Harper has received information regarding every team’s minor league system, presumably to better understand each team’s future outlook. The Cubs’ Minor League system probably wouldn’t match up to most in a report like that, but they do have a core of young players at the big league level that everyone knows about. I wouldn’t be too concerned about Harper *not* choosing the Cubs *because* of their farm system.
There was also this, but I have no idea what it means (or if it was just part of a joke or something):
Boras said teams have been creative in pitches to Harper, including…”very graphic pictures” (?)
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) December 12, 2018
So there you have it: Boras and Harper know who’s in play and who’s not, they have met with everyone they need to by now (though we may not know everyone involved), there’ll be no individual team visits, Harper is receiving Minor League info on each team, and they’re willing to wait weeks to iron this thing out. Oh, and he has “no comment” regarding the Cubs finances. For whatever reason.