To Scott Boras, the free agent market is a one way street

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A revealing quote from Scott Boras in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  When asked about the timetable for Matt Holliday signing somewhere:

“The acquisition of a franchise talent is not about a wristwatch. That’s about all I can tell you. It’s not a
particular time. It’s about the club recognizing the benefit of having
that player and how they’ll be dramatically impacted by the loss of
that player. When that realization takes place, when there is recognition of the
player’s place in the market, then you have an
agreement.”

Note the lack of any comment about the player recognizing the benefit of playing for any particular club. No realization on the part of the player about his place in the market.  No mention on what happens if the club fails to agree with Boras’ assessment of where that place really is, in which case his client could be left out in the cold.  How long will Johnny Damon be waiting?  If the Cardinals follow through on their earlier statements about wanting to have some certainty on Holliday one way or the other by Christmas, how long will he be waiting?

Of course you can’t argue with the historical effectiveness of such an approach.
In the aggregate, Boras has been wildly successful by advancing this
teams-come-to-the-player philosophy.  Indeed, Boras’ approach has fundamentally changed the free agent market, and he almost always reaches a near top-of-the-market deal.

But in recent years the free agent market seems to have changed itself.  Will Boras adapt? Or will he, as Bill Madden of the New York Daily News thinks, end up leaving his two biggest free agent clients scrambling for work as spring training approaches?

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.