Scott Boras Leading Revival Of MLB Free-Agent Market This Offseason
The health of MLB's free agent market, and agent Scott Boras' "reputation as the ultimate master of its forces and nuances, were both at low points" last offseason, but by the end of this year's Winter Meetings, it was "clear everything has changed," according to Dave Sheinin of the WASHINGTON POST. The free agent market again is "robust and thriving this offseason," and Boras, who has been "responsible for some of the largest deals in history, has regained his magic touch." Boras this week has "already negotiated deals totaling more than half a billion dollars for two pitchers" -- the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg and Yankees' Gerrit Cole. Add in 3B Anthony Rendon's deal with the Angels and 2B/3B Mike Moustakas' deal with the Reds, and that "leaves Boras' ledger for this winter" at $878M in free agent contracts. Boras also has been the "beneficiary of a number of converging forces -- fielding an enviable stable of elite free agent clients at a time when several long-slumbering, big-market teams were ready to spend big again." Meanwhile, labor relations between MLB and the MLBPA have been tense with the upcoming expiration of the current CBA in '21, but given the "evident speed and aggression of this offseason's market, the heated rhetoric has cooled" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/13). In Chicago, Paul Sullivan writes the early mega-deals are a "breath of fresh air for baseball's hot stove, which was in danger of being extinguished by the slow-moving market" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/13). Boras said, "We've gone from 'The Big Chill' to 'It's a Wonderful Life'" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 12/12).
FLIPPING THE SCRIPT: In Boston, Peter Abraham notes 14 of the top 20 free agents have "already signed" with teams. This is "good for baseball on several fronts." The "slow-paced offseasons the last two winters infuriated fans, especially when compared to how quickly the NBA and NFL work in their offseasons." Transactions can be "entertainment and promotion, and baseball finally got in on that action this week" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/13). In N.Y., Tyler Kepner writes last year's Winter Meetings in Las Vegas were like an "extravagant party with an empty dance floor and a funeral dirge droning in the background." The lack of signings fueled "ominous speculation from players that owners were conspiring against them to destroy free agency." There are "no such whispers anymore" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/13). MLB Network's Dan O'Dowd said the offseason shows "how healthy our industry is" ("MLB Tonight." MLB Network, 12/12). MLB Net's Ken Rosenthal said Boras noted last year's Winter Meetings were a "slow burn, and he knew coming in this year it was fast and furious, and it has been" ("Hot Stove," MLB Network, 12/12).