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Scott Boras Rumors
Scott Boras isn't generally in favor of pre-free agency extensions, but he ultimately lets his players decide for themselves, he tells Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. "I don’t think there’s any question that the reason a club offers a player guarantees when they don’t have to is they deem it to be beneficial to them — just by the nature that they offer them," says Boras. "So if the club is doing something beneficial for the club, obviously most likely it’s not beneficial to the player." Regardless, Boras' general stance doesn't mean he's not open to pre-free agency deals in certain situations — he himself cites the Carlos Gonzalez and Elvis Andrus deals, both of which he negotiated. The discussion comes in the context of questions about a potential extension for the Mets' Matt Harvey, but that doesn't sound particularly likely, given that Boras represents him and he turned down a substantial bonus offer after being drafted out of high school by the Angels. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- The Cubs, who have the second overall pick in the upcoming draft, will choose between four players: Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray, Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant, and UNC third baseman Colin Moran. MLB.com's Carrie Muskat notes that they'll get another chance to watch all except Appel, since Oklahoma, USD and UNC are all in the field of 64 for the NCAA Division I baseball championship. Just over 50% of you predict that Astros will select Gray with the first overall pick, which would leave the Cubs to choose from Appel, Bryant and Moran.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos characterizes this year's draft as "a down year" in a podcast interview with ESPN's Buster Olney. "It's just not nearly as deep. That being said, there's going to be a bunch of really good big-league players that come out of this draft," just as is the case every year, Anthopoulos says. Anthopoulos also notes the Blue Jays have had a difficult time figuring out who might fall to them with the No. 10 overall pick and who to select when the time comes. "There's really no clear-cut player with the players who are going to be remaining," he says.
- Cubs reliever Kevin Gregg isn't interested in talking about the trade deadline, Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago reports. "I almost look at it as a little disrespectful to the guys on the team that are here because this is a good product," says Gregg. "This isn’t like we’re getting our butts kicked on a daily basis and they’re looking to clean house. … To be looking at what the future holds in June or July is worthless to me." Gregg says he still hopes the Cubs will wind up in contention, although that possibility seems remote, given that the team is 13 games back in the NL Central and that the three teams ahead of them all have one of the best records in baseball so far this year.
- Second baseman Derek Dietrich, who was traded from the Rays to the Marlins last December for Yunel Escobar, is finding it strange to be at Tropicana Field as a visiting player, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. "It is a little weird being in this side of the clubhouse," says Dietrich. "The Rays do a great job in raising their players. They really prepare you to be a successful big leaguer. I definitely got better in their organization. I appreciate everything they did for me, giving me that first opportunity. But I'm happy to be here, and be with the Marlins." The Rays picked Dietrich in the second round of the 2010 Draft. He's hitting .237/.308/.424 in 59 at bats in his rookie season with Miami.
Roy Halladay's season (and Phillies tenure) could be ended by his upcoming shoulder surgery, and the veteran right-hander took it upon himself to apologize to Phillie fans before Friday's game. "You feel an obligation to the organization, to your teammates, to the fans to try to go out and pitch. Especially on a competitive team that sells out. For me, that was a big factor," Halladay told reporters (including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer). Halladay hopes to return to the mound in three months though it remains to been how the 36-year-old will respond to the surgery.
Here's the latest from around the division…
- The Marlins' policy against no-trade clauses isn't an insurmountable obstacle to the team's business, opines agent Scott Boras. "I think the no trade policy does affect franchise players. But the number of franchise players in free agency are pretty rare," Boras told reporters (including Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald). "The Marlins in my mind you've got a number of players who like the geographical dynamic of what Miami offers. You've got a footprint now. It's not a wish and a hope."
- The Marlins' injury problems have forced the team to promote prospects like Jose Fernandez, Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna to the Major Leagues earlier than expected, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes. "I don't know if it messes up the plan," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "You've got to do what you've got to do….Right now, we're so buckled by the amount of injuries to key players. I don't know if we've taken a step back to say, 'OK, is this going to mess up the master plan?' We're trying to make sure Red [manager Mike Redmond] has 25 guys every day, which has been tough."
- Edwin Jackson picked up his first win of the season in the Cubs' 8-2 victory over the Nationals today. Jackson told James Wagner of the Washington Post that he was interested in returning to the Nats last year but the team passed on negotiations after he turned down their one-year qualifying offer. Jackson ended up finding long-term security in the form of a four-year, $52MM deal with the Cubs.
- With Brian McCann back from the DL and Evan Gattis hitting well, the Braves could look to trade catcher Gerald Laird, speculates MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Since this could be McCann's last season in Atlanta, however, Bowman thinks the Braves will keep Laird as a veteran mentor to Gattis in 2014.
- Some other items about the Phillies, Nationals and Mets were covered earlier today by MLBTR's Jeff Todd in an edition of National League Notes.
Agent Scott Boras is likely to advise top prospect Kris Bryant as the 2013 draft approaches, according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter). With right-hander Mark Appel and left-hander Sean Manaea also in tow, Boras has three clients likely to come off of the board within the first ten picks.
All three are said to be in the mix for the Astros' No. 1 pick along with Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray and Georgia high school outfielders Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows. However, the Georgia products might be at a disadvantage as Houston is said to be leaning more towards college players.
Bryant, a third baseman/outfielder out of the University of San Diego, currently leads the nation in homers and has turned heads with his power. Manaea has impressed scouts as well, but a hip issue has caused trouble for him as of late. Appel, meanwhile, is entering the draft yet again after being unable to reach agreement with the Pirates, who nabbed him with the No. 8 pick last year.
Kyle Lohse's long winter ended yesterday, as the 34-year-old righty signed a three-year, $33MM deal with the Brewers. According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Lohse will receive $4MM in 2013, with $7MM deferred in 2016-18, and $11MM salaries in '14 and '15. The players' union values the Lohse deal at $31.95MM over three years, factoring in the deferred money, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Brewers also had to surrender the 17th overall pick in the June draft, while the Cardinals gained the 28th for their loss. Lohse has been throwing bullpens and simulated games, and will begin the season on the Brewers' active roster. Let's check out some Lohse reactions and links:
- Olney doesn't think the Lohse signing made sense for the Brewers, as the loss of the draft pick means they are "drifting into more talent debt." The Brewers "pushed forward at a time when it really needed to take a step back," writes Olney.
- Keith Law, also at ESPN, feels the contract is "pretty reasonable relative to market values for starters of his caliber." Law also feels the Brewers are "sliding out of contender status," but notes that the contract seems tradeable later on. Lohse did not receive a no-trade clause, noted Rosenthal.
- Agent Scott Boras "doesn't lose, even if he didn't exactly win" on the Lohse deal, writes Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs. Lohse should have gotten a higher average annual value, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but he's not convinced the new draft pick compensation system needs an overhaul.
- "When you have a system that does not reward performance, you know we have something corrupt in the major league process," Boras told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Boras says baseball should remove the financial motivation for teams to lose, as the worst teams receive the largest pools of draft dollars. The current system allows bad teams to make up ground on the good ones, which wasn't possible before, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said on Law's podcast a few weeks ago. Is it fair, though, that the Astros have significantly more draft dollars to spend than the Nationals? It's good for parity, though teams don't necessarily lose because of their market size.
- "Losing the first-round pick is tough, but that's a decision we had to make," GM Doug Melvin told reporters including Haudricourt.
Baseball’s most prominent agent says the integrity of the sport has been damaged by its collective bargaining agreement. MLB’s top labor executive says the system works, even though one prominent player remains jobless. Within a telling piece at USA Today, Bob Nightengale reports that agent Scott Boras and MLB executive VP Rob Manfred are at odds over the current CBA.
Boras argues that the basic agreement encourages teams to finish with poor records. The clubs that finish with the worst records are able to spend more freely on amateur players.
"The integrity of the game has been compromised,'' Boras told Nightengale. "What baseball has done, it has created a dynamic where draft dollars are affecting the Major Leaguers. Teams are constructing clubs to be non-competitive, like Houston and Miami, so they can position themselves where they can get more draft dollars. Clubs are trying to finish last to create more draft dollars. And this dramatically affects the Wild Card and Major League standings.''
Kyle Lohse, the top unsigned free agent, has suggested in recent months that the new draft pick compensation rules have limited his leverage (latest Lohse rumors here). His agent agrees. Boras argues that draft dollars are "the latest currency" for MLB general managers.
“And the best way to earn draft dollars is to sabotage your Major League team and finish last,'' he said.
In the past teams didn’t mind surrendering a first round draft pick to sign a prominent player, Boras said. The clubs could simply spend over-slot on players in later rounds, a practice that is no longer permitted in the same way.
“Now, you've taken away the structure of the scouting and developing,” Boras said. “They have stolen our youth. They have kidnapped our children in this system.''
Manfred explained that the agreement won’t be changed to accommodate one player.
"It is important to focus on all the changes to the system of draft choice compensation,'' Manfred told Nightengale. "A large number of players were freed from the burden of compensation completely, and those players undoubtedly received better contracts as a result. We have not heard anyone raising questions as to whether the system is working for those players.”
Manfred points out that with the exception of Lohse the nine players who declined qualifying offers obtained substantial contracts.
"The fact that one Scott Boras client has not signed does not convince me that the system is broken,'' Manfred said.
Agent Larry Reynolds represents B.J. Upton, another player who hit free agency after declining his former team’s qualifying offer. Reynolds told Nightengale it would be “misleading” to suggest that draft pick compensation is the lone variable that determines a free agent’s value.
GM Brian Cashman announced yesterday that the Yankees extended a "significant offer" to Robinson Cano. Agent Scott Boras responded, stating that discussions will remain confidential and suggesting that talks will end if they become a distraction. It sounds as though the sides intend to limit leaks for now, but we’ll pass on any Cano-related updates here…
- Cano told reporters this morning that he wants to "focus on baseball," but he acknowledged that contract talks are "never" going to be off of his mind completely, Dave D'Alessandro of the Star-Ledger reports.
- Cano didn't say whether he had declined the Yankees' offer, Dave Waldstein of the New York Times reports. In fact, Cano didn’t even confirm that he had received an offer.
- There’s some disagreement as to whether the Yankees made Cano an official offer, Buster Olney said on ESPN.com’s Baseball Tonight podcast. Some of Olney’s sources say it was more a discussion of concepts and comparables. It’s still early, yet the sides are talking about some “really big numbers,” according to Olney. It’s possible the Yankees would offer $27-28MM per season on a seven-year deal. The club would probably prefer to avoid a ten-year commitment in Olney’s view.
"We are very excited about having Jose," said Boras. "He has the potential to be a future ace." Fernandez, the Marlins' top pick in the 2011 draft, had 10.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 with a 1.75 ERA in 134 innings for Class-A Greensboro and Advanced-A Jupiter in 2012.
For agency info on over 1,700 players, take a look at MLBTR's Agency Database.
In the first of a six-week series at MLB Trade Rumors, B.J. Rains spoke with Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday on his agent Scott Boras and why he picked him and the relationship the two have.
Here is what Holliday had to say about Boras:
"I signed with Scott Boras after my first year in the big leagues in 2004. My brother had him as an agent so I was familiar with him and interviewed him when I interviewed a bunch of agents while trying to decide after the 2004 season.
I went to California to meet with Scott and Mike Fiore (works for Boras) and Steve Odgers (a training guru employed by Boras) and some of their people and saw their facility and I just felt like to me, in doing the research and looking into all of the possible agents, I felt like it was a good fit. I felt like they did a fantastic job. They had research capabilities and staff and they had an institution in California for working out and longevity of careers and it just felt like they had all of their bases covered. Scott had a lot of experience as a player and obviously his resume as an agent spoke for itself and the players he’s had.
You want an agent that you can trust that they know what they are doing. I think for me, he’s somebody that has your best interest in negotiating your contract and he also has people on staff that can help you with your game and not just your contract. They offered a lot of services outside of here. They have a psychologist on staff, people who are doing research for arbitration cases years in advance. They have a research team, a marketing team, a sports nutrition team. I just felt it wasn’t just about negotiating your contract. They offered a lot more.
Also the personal relationship with somebody that you enjoy sitting down and talking to them. Scott is as accessible as you want him to be. I could call him right now. He’s got a lot of clients and people say they don’t hear from Scott but he’ll give you as much or as little attention as you want. I’m not a high maintenance guy, I don’t need to talk to him a lot, but if I need anything, I can call him anytime. I talk to Mike Fiore once a week, but like I said, Scott is as accessible as you want him to be.
I see him from time to time. Whenever we play in L.A. I’ll have lunch or dinner with him. If I wanted him to come to St. Louis he’d come anytime I want. It’s just one of those things where again, I don’t need a lot of maintenance.
Scott has been better than I hoped he would be. I’ve really enjoyed it, not only what he’s offered me as an agent but just getting to know him as a person and the father and husband that he is and all the wisdom that he has that I’ve enjoyed from not just baseball but all walks of life.
I laugh a lot of times when people have opinions of Scott. They couldn’t be further from the truth, the majority of them. I enjoy spending time with him and I think he’s really fun to be around and really good at what he does. I don’t have a negative thing to say about him."
The Phillies have been a playoff contender for the better part of the past half decade, but time and a decline in talent may mean the window of opportunity is quickly closing at Citizens Bank Park, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. "A lot of it will depend on how people perform, on how the young players perform," Amaro said. "At some point we're going to be filtering some young players onto this club and we need to find out who needs to be those guys to keep us going, to keep us afloat." Here's the latest news from around the National League.
- Scott Boras believes the market is heating up for his unsigned clients like Kyle Lohse and Jose Valverde thanks to the start of Spring Training, says Adam Berry of MLB.com. "Like most free agents with that kind of ability, I think you get all kinds of calls. Frankly the calls increase during Spring Training rather than decrease because the need level of each club is more evident," Boras said. "These are ownership decisions at this point. The talent is there.
- Walt Weiss must put his stamp on every aspect of his squad as he enters the 2013 season as the Rockies first-year manager, writes Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post. Renck points to Todd Helton as the starting point with his declining skills, inability to play a full season and the lingering DUI arrest that must be addressed by the veteran first baseman in front of the team.
- John Mozeliak's contract extension from the Cardinals stems from his linear integration model that has paid dividends in the form of victories at the Major League level, says Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I think he’s got a real sense of how to make a decision and a recommendation and not panicking into doing something that is good for the moment,” Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said.
For the last few weeks many of the details related to Michael Bourn's free agency have remained unknown. Which teams are interested other than the Mets? Could the Mets sign Bourn without surrendering the 11th overall draft pick this June? Would they commit more than $40MM? What we do know is that the Mets are interested in signing Bourn to a multiyear deal and that they intend to keep their draft pick. Here are today’s Bourn-related rumors, with the most recent updates up top:
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson stated in an online chat with fans that the Mets would like to sign Bourn. “For us, he would be a very nice fit,” Alderson said. “I think we’re still in the mix, but I couldn’t really predict anything at this point” (video link with text via Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog.com).
- Cerrone hears from people connected to the team that the Mets are thinking three years and around $40MM for Bourn. Agent Scott Boras is still seeking at least four years and $15MM per season, according to Cerrone.