Boras sulking

Be skeptical of “Team X is wary of Scott Boras” articles

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During free agency season you often hear a lot of sentences with the clause ” . . . but he’s a Scott Boras client, so . . .”  And it’s a good point to make for free agents, because negotiations with Scott Boras are different. They take longer for one thing, because he almost always advises his client to hold out as long as they can. And of course they’re high dollar deals because Boras represents many of the top players.  MLB Trade Rumors has a separate page listing Boras clients for cryin’ out loud. There’s a reason you have to consider his guys differently than you consider others.

But such concerns can be overstated.  I think Ken Rosenthal overstates them a bit this morning:

Much as certain teams prefer to avoid Boras, it’s difficult when he represents many of the best players. Moreno abruptly pulled out of the Mark Teixeira negotiations with Boras in Dec. 2008, withdrawing an eight-year, $160 million free-agent offer. But now he might have no choice but to re-engage . . . the Angels will need to be awfully creative if they intend to retool while shunning Boras’ clients.

Did the Angels ever “shun” Boras?  Yes, the Teixeira negotiations ended poorly, but I don’t recall anything coming out of that, publicly at least, that suggested the ill will of that experience would result in the Angels shunning Boras or his clients. As Rosenthal himself notes, Jered Weaver and Kendry Morales are both Boras clients. A team deals with an agent at times other than when the contract is up, so they likely have at least some working relationship with the guy. And he’s a season ticket holder too, as anyone who gets distracted by his Borasian visage in those pricey seats behind home plate during Angels games knows full well.

The only team I can ever recall simply swearing off Boras clients is the Braves following Greg Maddux’s decision to accept arbitration prior to the 2003 season, and I think even they have softened their stance since John Schuerholz moved upstairs to become team president.  Really, I don’t think any team can practically shun the guy. He represents too many players. Eventually he’ll have someone that each and every team either has or wants.

Yadier Molina gets cast removed from surgically-repaired thumb

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Norm Hall/Getty Images North America
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Yadier Molina underwent surgery to repair a ligament tear in his right thumb shortly after the Cardinals were eliminated from the NLDS by the Cubs, and then he needed a followup procedure two months later.

It’s been an offseason of rest and rehab for the seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glover, though he’s about ready to ramp up the intensity of workouts with the beginning of spring training approaching …

Brayan Pena was signed to a two-year, $5 million free agent contract this winter to provide more reliable depth behind the plate. He’ll be the Cardinals’ starter at catcher come Opening Day if Yadi isn’t quite ready.

Molina started a whopping 131 games behind the plate in 2015.

Jose Fernandez wants $30 million a year, Marlins don’t plan on paying

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Rob Foldy/Getty Images North America
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You’ve heard the stories by now. Jose Fernandez does not get along with Marlins management and is doubtful to sign a long-term contract with the team.

There’s still time for those relationships to be repaired — Fernandez can’t become a free agent until after the 2018 season — but we also have a monetary issue at play.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes Sunday that the Marlins are “under the impression” Fernandez and his representatives want $30 million per year on a long-term deal, a figure the Marlins “have no plans to meet.”

If the Marlins won’t pay, Fernandez and his reps will seek that number when the ace right-hander reaches free agency. That could be the same offseason Bryce Harper tries for $500 million.

A friend of Fernandez told Jackson that the 23-year-old native of Cuba was upset about some of the trades the Marlins made last summer and the removal of pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. You probably heard talk of Miami shopping Fernandez this winter, but the asking price was predictably sky-high.

Fernandez has been limited to 19 starts over the last two years because of Tommy John surgery and a biceps injury, but he boasts a stellar 2.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 10.5 K/9 in 289 career major league frames. He will make $2.8 million in 2016 and carries two more years of arbitration eligibility.

If he can put together a run of 30-start, 200-inning seasons, Fernandez will get that $30 million per year and probably much more.

Michael Brantley’s timetable off shoulder surgery is “hazy”

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Kirk Irwin/Getty Images North America
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Paul Hoynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer has an in-depth look at how the Indians will manage their outfield during the early part of the 2016 season, in the absence of star Michael Brantley.

Brantley underwent labrum surgery on his right shoulder this past November and has not picked up a bat all winter. “In the off-season people know I love to hit,” Brantley acknowledged to Hoynes late last week. ”I hit a lot. It’s just been a change in my timetable.”

Hoynes says the projected date for Brantley’s 2016 debut is “hazy,” guessing that it might happen around late April or early May if everything continues to go smoothly. Shoulders can be tricky, for hitters and pitchers.

Rajai Davis, Abraham Almonte, and Lonnie Chisenhall figure to make up Cleveland’s primary starting outfield while Brantley is finishing his rehabilitation. Collin Cowgill and Joey Butler could also be in the mix. It’s a lacking group, tasked with replacing one of the most productive players in baseball.

Brantley, 28, has slashed .319/.382/.494 over the last two seasons, tallying 35 home runs, 90 doubles, 181 RBI, and 38 stolen bases in 293 games.

Could the talented Tribe be in for another slow start?

Shouldn’t this club be spending more money?

Jose Bautista had a courtside view of Saturday night’s epic NBA Slam Dunk Contest

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic put on a tremendous show in Saturday night’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest up in Toronto, Canada. The stars were out to see it at the Air Canada Centre, and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista had one of the very best views in the house. Check out this video he posted to Instagram of LaVine’s final dunk, a between-the-legs jam from just inside the free throw line …

Its a wrap!!! #BackToBack #SlamDunk #Champion @zachlavine8 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

A video posted by Jose Bautista (@joeybats19) on

That is Toronto’s very own Drake going wild in the pink jacket. Gordon probably had the best individual dunk of the night, though, if we’re being really real …

Back to your regularly scheduled baseball programming. Pitchers and catchers report Friday.