The hot stove is fully underway and the monopoly money is flowing like Niagara Falls as the winter meetings slowly come to an end here. You want to know the biggest winner of the free agent war so far? It’s Scott Boras who is currently in line to rake in over $1Billion yes that’s a “B” for his clients in just a few months. In a very short time he has finalized $324 million for Garrit Cole, $245 million for Stephen Strasburg, $245 million for Anthony Rendon, and $64 Million for Mike Moustakas. That’s $878 million dollars and it’s only the first few days of the winter meetings. He still has Hyun-jin Ryu, Dallas Keuchel, and Nick Castellanos waiting in the wings all who will require multiyear potentially $100M+ deals. Must be nice right? Especially considering he probably gets 10% of the over $1 Billion for a few months work. Pretty nice end of the year bonus right there I think you could do a few things with that.
I have always been on the players side when it comes to money and contracts, nobody can ever know what these guys go through and the work and dedication it takes to be a professional athlete and if someone is willing to pay you an insane amount of money then whose fault is that and who would ever turn that down? I never understood the fans who yell at players during games claiming “you overpaid bum!!” Not their fault, your management offered it so who are they to push back and be all “Sorry sir, my knee has really been bothering me and I feel like my body is breaking down shortly you may want to reconsider or take off a 0”. That is all beside the point but what I find most disturbing about the state of free agent contracts in the MLB is that teams are currently forced to sign players into their late 30’s. Now tell me how many athletes, especially baseball players, excel and remain productive as a 37-39 year old? These days probably none and you are signing guys to $30+M a year contracts through those ages. You are not only forced to do so, or you aren’t getting the top free agents, but you are also forced to knowingly be paying someone for All-Star production when it’s nearly physically impossible to be doing so. This is exactly why Tampa is Tampa, Oakland is Oakland, Kansas City is Kansas City, and Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh. These small market teams refuse to sign big free agents to lengthy contracts so in turn big free agents don’t even think about going there. These teams focus primarily on analytics, signing mid-level veterans, and building a farm system. Essentially the only chance these teams have to win the World Series is if they hit several out of the park home runs through development and drafting. The closest comparison is the Houston Astros who developed Bregman, Springer, Correa, Altuve, and McCullers, amongst a few others on their run in 2017. What pushed them from good to great though? Getting a big name player via trade in Justin Verlander and then subsequently extending him. In essence they are a combination of a great system and some big name Free Agents.
I think overall these bloated contracts are starting to taper back a bit and I don’t disagree with any of the recent signings but have fun paying Strasburg $35M when he’s 36, 37, and 38 Cole $36M during those same years and Rendon $35M per year when he can’t play 3rd anymore and is DH’ing or playing first at 37 years old. I guess the thought is if they help you win a World Series now you can live with those end of the contract years? We shall see.