Boras: Matt Holliday = Mark Teixeira

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Just as the robin is the harbinger of spring, Scott Boras overselling his free agent clients in a distracting manner during the playoffs is the first sign of hot stove season:

Scott Boras threw out the ceremonial first pitch in free agency
today, comparing Matt Holliday to Mark Teixeira in the impact the agent
believes each player can have on a club.

“These guys are blue-collar superstars,” Boras said. “They don’t hit
50 home runs, but they’re complete players. They can give you something
without swinging a bat. . . .There are differences between hitters and complete players,” Boras said. “Matt Holliday is a complete player. “There is, frankly, no one like him in the market.”

Holliday is a nice player. He’s going to help whoever signs him.  He is not, however, some unique thing in the world and certainly not a player worthy of the Full Boras Treatment.

Jason Bay doesn’t have Holliday’s glove, but he’s kind of like him.  Johnny Damon isn’t going to produce near his level, but he’ll probably cost a fraction of Matt Holliday this year.  Matt Holliday is not the kind of player a team is going to want to be paying eight figures to six or seven years from now like Boras is going to demand that they do.  I’d argue that that goes for almost any corner player.

If you don’t believe me, ask the Cubs, who will be paying Alfonso Soriano until my kids are in grad school.

Yankees trade Sonny Gray to the Reds

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The deal was much talked about all weekend and now the deal is done: The Cincinnati Reds gave acquired starter Sonny Gray and lefty Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second base prospect Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

The key to making the deal happen: Gray agreeing to a a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The Reds will likewise hold a $12 million club option for 2023. The deal had been struck and a window granted through close of business today to get Gray to agree to the extension and, obviously, he has.

The Reds will get a pitcher coming off of a bad season in which he posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances. He was hammered particularly hard in Yankee Stadium but pitched better on the road. Great American Ballpark is not a great pitcher’s park itself but any change of scenery would be nice for Gray, who had become much unwanted and unloved in New York. In Cincinnati he has the assurance of a spot in the rotation and, even better for him, he will be reunited with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, who joined new manager David Bell’s Reds staff earlier this offseason. If he bounces back even a little bit, the Reds will have a useful starter at a below market price for four years. If he doesn’t, well, they haven’t exactly gone bankrupt taking the chance.

The Reds will also get Reiver Sanmartin, 22, who started in the Rangers system before being traded to the Yankees. He’s a soft-tosser who figures to be a reliever if he makes the big leagues. He played at four different levels last season, with one game at Double-A and the rest below that, posting a composite 2.80 ERA in 10 starts and 13 overall appearances while striking out 7.8 batters per nine.

The Yankees will get Shed Long, who is ranked as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. The 23-year old second baseman hit .261/.353/.412 at Double-A in 2018 and has hit very close to that overall line for his entire six-year minor league career. He strikes out a bit and may not stick at second base long term, shifting to a corner outfield slot perhaps, but he’s a legitimate prospect.

The Reds get another starter with some upside. The Yankees get rid of a problem and gain a prospect and a draft pick. Sonny Gray gets some job and financial security at a time when it is not at all clear what his future holds. Not a bad baseball trade.

UPDATE: Welp, the Yankees don’t have a prospect anymore. They just traded long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He’s 21 and batted .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 20 steals over 58 games in Short-Season ball in 2018. He’s ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, but now he’s New York bound.