Scott Boras says teams are more eager to talk about free agents this year

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Last year was the slowest offseason, free agent signing-wise, since the days of collusion in the 1980s. Agent Scott Boras suggested at the general manager meetings yesterday, however, that a thaw may be coming for the frozen hot stove:

“Clubs are wanting meetings and wanting to get in front of the players. They’re all telling me they want to make much earlier decisions. I did not hear any of that last year . . . “I think all of [his top clients] have the possibility of signing much earlier than that.”

He didn’t talk too much about why there has been a change in this regard — and no non-Boras agents have observed what he has, it seems — but one might think that the quality of Boras’ free agents this year — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg lead his stable of talent looking for new teams — has something to do with it. Last year he had Bryce Harper, who was obviously a blue-chipper, but he didn’t have a top pitcher like Cole and Strasburg. It could very well be that teams are more eager to move quickly on pitching talent.

We’ll see soon enough whether this is just a sense Boras has or whether teams actually will, in fact, move more quickly this hot stove season.

Cubs sign Jeremy Jeffress

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The Chicago Cubs have signed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to a one-year, $850,000 deal.

While Jeffress is coming off a bad year — due mostly to hip and shoulder problems — this is a surprisingly low figure for Jeffress, who was said to have had a “sizable market” last September, with the Mets, Phillies, Reds, and Rays all rumored to be in on him. It’s also worth noting that he is just a year removed from an excellent 1.29 ERA season with the Brewers. He is reported to be eligible for $200,000 in incentives, which could bring this deal closer to what a reliever of his caliber’s going rate might be.

As for the Cubs, they haven’t been particularly active this offseason — indeed, this is their first free agent acquisition — but I suppose we should give them credit for buying low on a guy who should probably be able to help their bullpen.