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

Leave a comment

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?

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.