Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the outspoken Scott Boras, there is no denying he is one of the most successful and influential agents in the history of sports. Boras’ skill in landing mega-bucks for his clients has been on full display this offseason – a winter he entered representing seven players from MLBTR’s top 50 list of free agents. He has since secured a staggering $1,077,500,000 in guarantees for those clients. That figure trumps the predicted total of $842MM that we predicted for those players when free agency commenced.
Let’s check in on the work Boras did this winter for his biggest clients, including the three players who were the game’s highest-ranked free agents when the market opened…
Gerrit Cole, RHP, Yankees (MLBTR prediction: eight years, $256MM; actual contract: nine years, $324MM)
- One year after Boras secured the richest contract ever for a free agent – Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $330MM pact – he almost surpassed it. In many ways, he did. Cole’s deal breezes past Harper’s in average annual value ($36MM), ranking first in baseball history in that category. And the 29-year-old Cole also owns the longest and largest contract a pitcher has ever signed.
Anthony Rendon, 3B, Angels (MLBTR prediction: seven years, $235MM; actual contract: seven years $245MM)
- Nothing surprising about the value of this contract for Rendon, who was far and away the No. 1-ranked position player in this free-agent class. Among hitters, only new teammate Mike Trout ($35.5MM per year) earns more on an annual basis than Rendon’s $35MM.
Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Nationals (MLBTR prediction: six years, $180MM; actual contract: seven years, $245MM)
- It wasn’t long ago there were questions as to whether Strasburg would opt out of the remaining four years and $100MM on his previous contract, making this payday especially impressive. Strasburg will turn 32 in June, and he owns a somewhat checkered injury history, yet the World Series MVP was still able to score $35MM per season. As they tend to do, the Nationals included deferrals in the deal (approximately $80MM), but those come with interest in this case, so they don’t impact the present-day value of the contract.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP, Blue Jays (MLBTR prediction: three years, $54MM; actual contract: four years, $80MM)
- On a per-inning basis, Ryu has been among the game’s premier pitchers last season, but he’s also a soon-to-be 33-year-old with a concerning injury history. But those factors didn’t stop Boras from crushing our Ryu projection and persuading a Toronto team that hasn’t finished .500 in a season since 2016 to splurge on the ex-Dodger.
Nick Castellanos, OF, Reds (MLBTR prediction: four years, $58MM; actual contract: four years, $64MM)
- There’s nothing eye-opening about the value of Castellanos’ pact, though it’s arguably a surprise relative to the way his market unfolded. The big-hitting, fielding-challenged 27-year-old went unsigned until late January, after all, and he netted his deal shortly after a similarly valuable outfielder (the Braves’ Marcell Ozuna) signed for three fewer years and $46MM less. Moreover, Boras convinced the Reds to throw in opt-out clauses after each of the next two seasons, which will give Castellanos the power to return to free agency in the near future if he’s so inclined.
Mike Moustakas, 3B, Reds (MLBTR prediction: two years, $20MM; actual contract: four years, $64MM)
- The other member of the Reds’ two-man $64MM club, Moustakas raked in more than triple what we forecast. That’s despite the fact that Moustakas entered this free-agency period coming off back-to-back offseasons in which he settled for relatively modest one-year guarantees. It’s also worth noting the 31-year-old wasn’t markedly more productive in 2019 than he was in either 2017 or ’18.
Dallas Keuchel, LHP, White Sox (MLBTR prediction: three years, $39MM; actual contract: three years, $55.5MM)
- Boras and Keuchel aimed too high in free agency last year, which is why the former AL Cy Young winner wound up without a job until the Braves added him for a $13MM commitment in June. Keuchel, 32, was more decent than great as a Brave, but he still managed to smash our predicted total this winter and get the multi-season guarantee he couldn’t find a year ago.