Scott Boras can't be serious

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When Scott Boras talks, people listen. Take the winter meetings, for instance.
He’s bombastic. He’s outrageous. And sometimes he’s very close to
pushing his luck. The Yankees recently acquired the younger and
more-athletic Curtis Granderson in a blockbuster three-team trade,
providing general manager Brian Cashman with some flexibility in
negotiations for veteran free agent outfielder Johnny Damon. You
wouldn’t know it if you talked to Boras.




According to the New York Daily News, Boras told the Yankees to “not bother” tendering an offer to Damon unless it was for at least three years and no less than the $13 million salary he earned in 2009.
Obviously, the Yankees have no intention of granted the 36-year-old
Damon a three-year contract, and Boras can’t realistically expect him
to find one in free agency. It’s a rather obvious stunt.




So far, the Yankees have told Boras
they would like to bring Damon back, but they’ve drawn the line at two
years at around $8 million per season. Bobby Abreu’s recent two-year,
$19 million contract with the Angels seems like a fair compromise of
terms, but if Boras keeps pushing it, the Bombers will have no
qualms about moving forward.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.