Why the Hot Stove is Cold…

Two words sum it up:Scott Boras, whose photo is to the right. I’m not trying to say anything bad about him, but…. it’s all his fault. See, Scott Boras has some of the best free agents in baseball in his stable and there are two major factors:

  1. Boras is asking the moon for some of his clients; and
  2. He has swindled many a GM in the past.

It is rumored that he is asking north of $200 million for Jake Arrietta and JD Martinez – I believe that both will get closer to $100 million than $200 million.  Scot Boras is a Master Salesman – he bring all the supporting documents, metrics and methodically puts on a sales pitch like a commissioned water treatment salesman at the kitchen sink with a seductive sales pitch!

You only have to look back and see how Boras boondoggled teams in the past. Case-in-point: Prince Fielder was a horrid runner and an ever worse fileder, but Boras convinced Mike Ilitch to pay $214 million for him, preying upon Ilitch’s desire to win a World Series before he died.

JD Martinez is also a horrid fielder, but Boras wants $200 million?  Arrietta is clearly on the down-side of his career and Boras wants $200 million. IT AIN’T HAPPENING!He also controls Eric Hosmer.  Those three free agents are the TOP ones and will set the market. It’s unlikely that any big names, including Yelich will move until that market is set.  This also impacts the trade market as GM wait and see where the pieces fall.

Right now, Borasss is waiting to see who blinks first. I have read on other boards where fans are calling for Andrew Friedman’s head due to his failure to get Giancarlo Stanton or sign any other expensive Free Agents.  These fans have their heads where the sun don’t shine, because when a teams signs a big name free agent to a big time contract, it almost always ends badly! It’s the path to losing… not winning!

  • Carl Crawfish
  • Prince Fielder
  • Pablo Sandoval
  • Josh Hamilton
  • Barry Zito
  • Albery Pujols
  • David Price
  • Zack Greinke
  • Johnny Cueto
  • Chris Davis
  • … there’s more.

I don’t understand fans who want to make these big free agent signings.  It almost always ends badly.  It’s truly insanity to do the same thing over-and-over and expect different results.  I am fine without Stanton, Arietta, Martinez and Darvish.  I hear that the Astros are close to getting Gerrit Cole.  OK, but I am fine with the team the Dodgers have.  Christain Yelich makes so much more sense tha Giancarlo Stanton but the Marlins are trying to get a King’s Ranson for him.  I’d love to see him in Blue… but first, someone has to blink!

Something to Consider

What if Walker Buehler is Lights Out in the Spring?  He’s another year removed from TJ.  I can see him pitching 150 innings.  I can also see him making the team out of Spring Training.  I’m not saying he will – I am saying he can! That’s a game-changer!


This article has 65 Comments

  1. Capitalism at work. Whatever the owners will bear. Boras gonna get his cut. At least the bargaining is fairly transparent. In these days of corruption at the highest levels as normal procedure, baseball seems almost refreshing in its business practices. Of course the owners are beside themselves having to pay such high amounts of money to people they consider little more than common cannon fodder. Riches are too valuable and precious to be trusted in the hands of the rich.

  2. Bore-ass has been a bane to the MLB since his, as I recall, first big splash with ARod. The man has single handedly made baseball the target of the ‘men playing kids sports for millions’ meme. Hard to believe there was a time in professional sports when playing ball was just a job. It did get to be a well paying one but up until the 80s, the salaries were rational. If you are one of the best at something, you should be paid well but not exorbitantly. Scott B took that idea and mutilated it to the tune of creating the age of 600 bucks a game for a family of 4. He truly is the Devil of the MLB.

    1. A-Rod’s 1st 10 year contract was for the 2001 season. However, before that, Boras made the Dodgers bid against themselves in 1999 for Kevin Brown. That was the first outrageous Boras contract I remember.

      1. I think people tend to forget that Kevin Brown was pretty darn good for the Dodgers 4 of his 5 years in LA. Yes, he was a giant d-bag, but looking back on it that deal wasn’t that bad for the Dodgers on the field at least.

        1. Kevin Brown was a piece of work. He would never acknowledge anyone. Once in Cincinnati, I was sitting in the front row by the Dodgers Bullpen surrounded by RED and I was the only BLUE there. He looked at me once and I nodded – he just glared!

          1. I heard Vin chewed his ass for how he treated Nancy Bea after she played a song he didn’t like.

    2. Funny, game seems to be holding its own. I say give talent its due. If some useless POS CEO is getting 150 million a year then a hall of fame pitcher in his prime is worth 250 million a year.

  3. I don’t think Boras has all of the top free-agents though. This is more of a market correction. Owners are no longer going to overpay for players on the wrong side of 30 years old. Some teams are trying to re-set themselves under the soft cap/luxury tax and some are saving money for the big free-agent class of next year. Throw all that together with teams purposely tanking and that adds up to more than Scott Boras’ role in this. Sure, he has guys like JD Martinez and I’m sure he’s trying to milk one more year on his contract, but there is a lot more going on this year that is causing a lot less movement so far.

    1. Boras may not have all of the top players as clients, but he does have 4 of the top 6-7-8. Jake Arrieta, JD Martinez, Eric Hosmer, and Greg Holland. I think he has some other lesser talented clients as well. While I agree that Yu Darvish is not waiting for Arrieta to sign, but Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb are…and further down Andrew Cashner. Lorenzo Cain and Jay Bruce are probably waiting to see what JD Martinez gets. Maybe there is some trickle down to Carlos Gomez and Carlos Gonzalez. Relief pitchers were the pick of the FA market, so I would agree that no reliever is waiting on Holland. Holland will probably sign for the first team that will give him a 4 year guaranteed contract. Hosmer is a little different to me, and I do think this is Boras who is trying to create a market for him. Boston has said no…the Cardinals have said no…the Yankees said no, leaving the Padres and Royals, two of the more frugal teams bidding for him. This one is classic Scott Boras.
      Teams can certainly sign the next level FA players, but chances are there is going to be an overpay like the Phillies did with Carlos Santana, and the Cubs did with Tyler Chatwood . Even though most consider Chatwood’s contract was over market, I do like the deal for the Cubs. The teams are waiting just as much as the player. If some team wants to sign Cobb for 5 years at $100M, he will sign. But what team wants to spend that kind of money on Cobb if nobody will sign Arrieta for more than $110M. The market could also be set by Darvish who is not represented by Boras, but he does not appear to be in any hurry.
      Jay Bruce is said to want to play for the Giants, but the Giants have luxury tax issues. He is said to be wanting a 4 year deal north of a $16M AAV. Bruce would be short-sighted if he did not wait to see what JDM gets unless he gets an offer that is a considerable overpay. The Giants are not going to overpay with their financial/luxury tax issues.
      But I agree with you Hawkeye that it is more than Boras, and I agree that next year’s free agent class does have an impact on this year. I also think that this year’s group is really not that great and not deserving of these 5-7 contracts with $20M — $25M. But this is most of these player’s last chance for a big contract, and they want to maximize it. I also think that the loss of the draft pick for those who declined the qualifying offer is a factor. Most teams are now recognizing that long term sustainability must come through the draft. Teams are not going to give up a high pick to live with what will eventually become an anchor contract.
      This year would be a fantastic case study for some enthusiastic journalist to really get into. There are a myriad of reasons. I just hope that agents do not get so frustrated that they start to cry collusion.

  4. The frigidity of the hot stove is multi-factoral:
    1 – The luxury tax is dissuading teams with money to spend it
    2 – The free agents who have received a qualifying offer have the additional problem of teams not wanting to lose draft choices
    3 – As in the NBA and the NFL, structural changes to the free agent system is keeping the “middle class” free agents from making money. Cheap FAs get signed and superduperstars will get paid, but the guys in the middle have a problem
    4 – Teams are getting smarter about long term guaranteed contracts. The length of the contract is the problem. Players want to get paid a premium for their unproductive years and teams don’t want to do that; players aren’t getting paid for their early productive years though
    5 – Teams that are “tanking” aren’t going to sign anyone either
    6 – Some teams are just cheap. Guys like Derek Jeter are going to get paid based on how much money the Fish make, so it’s better for him to have as close to a zero payroll as possible, since national TV money and revenue sharing will ensure that the Fish will make money even if no one goes to game

    1. All excellent points. #1 has got to be bulletin board material for the Player’s Union for the next CBA. When you take the Yankees and Dodgers out of the market, that will necessarily drive down the contracts. Does anyone really believe that if the luxury tax was not so punitive that JD Martinez would not be signed by Dombrowski and the Red Sox? Does anyone really believe that the Giants would not have signed Jay Bruce or Lorenzo Cain if not for the luxury tax?
      #6 is the most egregious factor in a bad ownership deal, and Manfred should have said no. Marlins fans are livid with Jeter, knowing that his compensation is based on “profit”. There are two ways to drive profit; increase revenue, decrease costs. Jeter recognizes that attendance is not going to generate a lot of revenue regardless of who is on the field. They have always been one of the worst attended teams in MLB. The only time the stadium was filled was when Jose Fernandez was pitching. Therefore they need to reduce costs. What is the greatest variable cost…player salaries. Stanton, Gordon, and Ozuna all had value that teams would be willing to take on the salaries (or most in the case of Stanton). None of Prado, Chen, Ziegler, or Tazawa have any value for teams to assume the salaries. So the Marlins are stuck with them.
      This is why I do not understand why Jeter is not calling the Dodgers to move Yelich. He could insist on Alvarez and Diaz for the future, and Joc and Thompson for 2018. This transaction will get the Marlins closer to the $90M payroll level Jeter was pushing for (within $3M). Mattingly loves Joc, and Thompson will get a chance to prove himself in a non-stress situation. He has no options remaining, so the Dodgers have to move him anyway. Joc will be able to re-establish himself as he will not be platooned, which is the best he can hope for in LA.

      1. Yelich makes too much sense for both teams. It needs to happen.

        I think there is a backroom deal for the Marlins to move somehow…

  5. Boras is doing his job for his clients and himself, if the owners and GM’s fall for the sats he gives them about his clients and what they are worth then that is their fault. Going forward the GM’s of today with the sats they have and believe in will not fall for his sideshow tricks. The wrong side of 30, strike one, 6 or 7-year contracts, strike 2, making the sats of the past as part of the players future, strike 3 and goodbye to the Scott Boras tell them what they want to hear. Maybe the rest of MLB is catching up to the thinking of Friedman and Zaidi.

    1. I am not a Boras fan, but I do agree that he is working for his client and not MLB. But Boras is not going away, and the Dodgers will need to find a way to work with him as Boras represents, Seager, Bellinger, and Urias.

      1. If I were a player, I would want Boras as my agent, but I am not, so I prefer to think of him as the Devil! I am fine with that!

        1. All this is true about Boras and like Mark said if I was a player I would want him for an agent. This though it seems his main weapon has been disarmed. In the past if he hit a logjam he would go around the GM and go to the owner. It seems the owners are leaving all the decisions to the baseball ops people

  6. Enjoy Seager, Bellinger, and Urias because they’ll only be Dodgers for a few years. FAZ will never give in to his demands for free agent contracts.

    1. Interesting thought. I had once suspected that the Dodgers would not spend big $$ on their own free agents but was pleasantly surprised when the brought Jansen and Turner back. If the deal is right and the team has a need then I suspect that the Braintrust will try to figure something out.

      The thing about being a fan is that you develop a love for some of the players on your team. The Braintrust likely doesn’t have the same visceral feeling about, say, Clayton Kershaw that we do as fans. I suspect that they probably won’t bring back everyone that we as fans hope that they do if the $$ isn’t right.

  7. Never once hast Scotty Boy ever been charged with assault… That being said I think he’s an a– h—…
    It was a pleasure watching Brown pitch for us!!! He must have read your blog M.T.

  8. You know Mark, it still amazes me that some Dodger fans think we missed the ship on Stanton. My son checks out alot of other sites and listens to sportstalk radio at times, and he had a great analogy. “You know pops, one thing I have noticed is there are a lot of just Dodger “Fans” out there, who don’t see the behind the scenes thinking of the front office, or how the market is set. They just want the shiniest jewel in the box, regardless of the consequences years down the line. I really think that all of us, you included, have really found out some interesting lessons from FAZ and how they think. One thing I have noticed, is they are PATIENT. It drives me friggin crazy sometimes, but they are right about 90% of the time on some of these deals, or even lack of deals. Then, BAM!!! They unload a bunch of salary on the Braves in return for Kemp, who trust me, already has about 10 or 12 scenarios played out for him by FAZ. Love watching how these guys work. Borass has met his match with FAZ. Aint’ gonna happen, cap’n. They won’t get suckered by him.

  9. This could be the off season that Boras is finally caught overplaying his hand. Then again the owners and GM’s never fail to amaze me with the silly contracts they agree to. There are a number of factors at play here as others have laid out well and Boras is not alone among agents trying to extract the most $$ for their clients. The easiest solution is for teams to not go beyond 3 to 4 years for guaranteed contracts and not agree to opt outs or full no trade clauses. There are only a handful of players worthy of that in each off season and NONE in my opinion are worthy of that this year. The fact the players like Lynn, Cobb and Cain turned down $17.4 M to test the market is mind boggling to me as none are worth that much $$, again IMO. Jay Bruce just signed for 3 years and $39 M to go back to the Mets and that’s about what I think those 3 will get, especially when they cost draft picks.

    It is still a ways off but the Dodgers could buy out some arbitration years of Cory and Cody and lock them up to a long term deal like the Angels did with Trout who would have been a free agent this season. When the time comes the team will spend to keep their own and Boras may blink.

    1. Because there are so many of the top free-agents left, Boras doesn’t have all of the leverage like when he waited out a deal for Prince Fielder. Spring Training is earlier this year. Someone will have to blink soon and this year, I believe it will be the players and their agents. Jay Bruce just signed with the Mets because he wasn’t getting what he wanted from SF.
      Alex Cobb has reportedly been offered 3/42 by the Cubs and he turned it down. I think the Cole deal to Houston is inevitably going to happen. Unlike some of the players, I think Darvish has the luxury to take his time because the teams the are interested in him aren’t going to be less interested in him at anytime soon.
      We all know the Dodgers are looking to shed money and will explore every scenario to do so which is why I didn’t make a big deal about Puig/Bradley trade. The Dodgers found a better way to cut salary this year. I do think they want to move some more and make a run at Darvish whether it be Ryu, or finding a way to move some of Kemp’s money. I’m not moving Grandal yet unless I get blown away by an offer.
      It sure seems like the Dodgers could work something out with Miami to send pospects along with Kemp and others for Yelich and Castro leaving the Dodgers able to sign Darvish, but Jeter may not be interested in adding a penny of payroll even if it nets them some top prospects.

      1. Agreed the players and their agents blink first. Cobb abd Lynn have had injury issues and Cain is at an age when OF’s start to lose a step or two. $17.4 M for 3 years would be $52 M but Cobb may regret turning the Cubs $42 M offer down. Their first choice would be to bring back Arrieta but Boras is playing hardball.

        I would love to see Starlin Castro who has said he wants out of Miami and they might take Forsythe. Yelich would be a great get but the Marlins want no part of Kemp, a 3rd team would be needed plus prospects. I would have no problem moving Joc, Alvaraz and others to get those 2.

        1. I thought of including Forsythe and getting Castro in return, but I just cannot do that to Logan, which is why I could never be a GM.

  10. In almost every one of Boras’ negotiations, he does not involve the client. He also does not like to have his clients sign extensions beyond the 1st year of free agency. The only one I remember where the client got involved was with Stephen Strasburg who insisted he wanted to resign with the Nats and before he became a free agent. Boras knows that players get emotionally involved and that could create a negative negotiation scenario so he insists that clients stay out of the negotiation process. Boras agreed, but built in 2 opt out clauses for Strasburg.
    I am in the middle of reading “The Big Chair”, and Chapter 5 is about the negotiations between the Cubs and Greg Maddux’s before his walk year and then when he became a free agent. Boras would meet with Cubs’ management (including Ned Colletti), but always without Maddux. The Cubs made what they believed was a very fair offer and Boras told them that it was a non-starter even though it was just below what Clemens and Gooden were making who were the two best pitchers in the game at the time. The offer was later increased to be more than both Clemens and Gooden and was also turned down. Boras wanted to make a statement with Maddux. Not just to get Maddux to get the best contract (financially) he could get, but also to show other potential clients what he could do.
    Cubs ownership told Colletti that the case was closed and they have moved on from Maddux. Even when Colletti learned that Maddux would accept the last offer the Cubs made so he could stay in Chicago, the Cubs told Colletti the case was closed and to never bring it up again. Maddux signed with the Braves for 5 years and $28M after Boras turned down the Cubs non-starter offer of 5 years $28M all the while Maddux professed to have wanted to stay in Chicago.
    Boras represents his clients extremely well and gets the best financial deal they can get, but not necessarily the best deal from the player’s standpoint. Boras is a Class A egotist whose self importance is just much of an influencing criteria as anything else.

    1. Boras is a Class A egotist whose self importance is just much of an influencing criteria as anything else.

      That simple sentence summed up Scott Boras better than anything I have ever read!

      Dang! I wished I could write like that!

  11. OK, the Marlins need to unload salary… but they could use a draw… a draw like Matt Kemp.

    So here’s the deal:

    Dodgers Trade:
    Matt Kemp: $21.5 mil in 2018 and $21.5 mil in 2019;
    Joc Pederson: $2 mil in 2018;
    Will Smith
    Dustin May

    to the Marlins for:

    Christain Yelich – $7 mil in 2018, $9.7 mil in 2019, $12.5 mil in 2020, $14 mil in 2021
    Wei-Yin Chen – $10 mil in 2018, $20 mil in 2019, $22 mil in 2020
    Martin Prado – $13.5 mil in 2018, $15 mil in 2019

    The Marlins save $7 million in salary in 2018, $22 mil in 2019, $24 mil in 2020 and $14 mil in 2021

    Maybe Prado and Chen can provide something…

  12. I don’t think Kemp would be a draw anywhere, but with Miami maybe just a painful reminder of what they lost.

  13. If the Dodgers want Yelich they can make the trade happen but it will cost 4 or 5 players that Jeter will not ask for but more likely demand, why not he doesn’t have to trade Yelich and if he does he must get as much as he can. Thompson, I don’t see him as any help just more reason for Miami fans to stay away. Pederson, maybe but not sure Jeter sees him as much help, so he goes most likely after Verdugo and Alverez to start the conversation and see if the Dodgers are still listing. If they are then why not go after Will Smith, Toles, and another high ranking pitching prospect. It will take something like that to get Yelich.

    1. Jeter does not care how much help any player gives them. It will have zero impact on attendance. His only concern is profit, which makes his compensation go up. They want to get below $90M in payroll for 2018 because they have a $50M check from Disney to get them to a profit. They want their payroll less in 2019.
      The Dodgers do not need Yelich, but he does make them better. FAZ is in the driver’s seat, not Jeter. If they do trade Yelich, the Marlins will have zero players who have any ML experience in the OF which is why Trayce Thompson would help them until their prospects better develop and can take over. Joc would take over CF and Mattingly loves Joc. Alvarez and Diaz are Cuban born players close to ML (probably 2019 for both), and could benefit attendance in Miami, certainly in excess of their cost.
      If the Marlins want more, walk away. No reason to overpay.

  14. If Jeter is looking for something like I posted the Dodgers will walk away because there is absolutely no reason to overpay. We disagree on Thompson and Pederson, especially Thompson.

  15. Houston Mitchell and La sports writer for the Dodgers says there was a radio interview in Texas with Clayton Kershaw stating that he might opt out after 2018 and sign with Texas or Houston.

    1. Clayton never said anything like that. Houston Mitchell wrote this:
      I am thoroughly andirrationallyconvinced that he will opt out and sign with Texas or Houston after the 2018 season.

      Now, while it is possible he will opt out and sign, he never said that or even alluded to that.

  16. I just read that Cody Bellinger has put on 15 pounds of muscle through conditioning and nutrition.


  17. This post got me to thinking more about Scott Boras. He has had some memorable contracts. While he does a great job for his client, that is not always the case for the teams. Some have worked out for the
    Jacoby Ellsbury – 7 years $153M – This has not turned out well at all for the Yankees.
    Shin Soo Choo – 7 years $130M – 2015 has been the only good year in the contract thus far. I think the Rangers would like to give this one back.
    Max Scherzer – 7 years $210M – Back to back CY Awards. Nationals have to be happy how this one has turned out.
    Elvis Andrus – 8 years $120M – 2015 not so good, 2016 and 2017 much better – So far the Rangers cannot complain. We will see what happens in the next five years.
    Chris Davis – 7 years $161M – This is going to be problem contract throughout. Peter Angelos deserves this. He has had 2 good years in his career, and he gets this contract.
    Ian Kennedy – 5 years $70M – Nobody is knocking on the Royals door to take Ian Kennedy with this contract.
    Wei-Yin Chen – 5 years $80 – What were the Marlins thinking?
    Adrian Beltre – 2 years $36M – He is still producing at 38. He needs about a 1 WAR in 2018 to for this contract to value out. I think he does that and MORE.
    Stephen Strasburg – 7 years $175M – Still early, but this looks like it could be a very good deal. He is 29 and has 2 opt out years (after 20109 & 2020). Right now, neither party is complaining.
    Out of the nine, Scherzer, Strasburg, and Beltre seem to be good deals for the team. Andrus is still a wait and see, and Ellsbury, Choo, Davis, Kennedy, Chen are not good deals for their teams. Teams need to be very skeptical when dealing with Boras.

    1. Old friends update from MLB Trade Rumors

      “The Athletics have settled with righty Chris Hatcher for $2.15MM, Nightengale tweets, which is just $100K short of his projection“

      1. That leaves only Wood and Joc. So far they are only $530K above what MLB Trade Rumors projected.

  18. Mark; Read your first post and finally understood why you came to my house while I was considering water softener system—- you smooth seller. Seems to me that the major reason that the market for free agents this year is because everyone is so concerned about what might be available next year in free agency.

  19. MLB Network this morning talked about AZ and Machado possibilities. Said now was the window for making that trade due to the Dodgers only getting better and Goldy and Pollock in their primes. Also, if they arn’t able to re-sign Goldy in three years it will be because of Greinke’s contract.
    Not that I want to see Machado with AZ but because AZ might have an interest in trading Greinke, I wonder if the Dodgers could be involved in a three team trade. Greinke has 4 more years on his contract averaging $34.5M annually. So, Kemp and Ryu to AZ, Greinke to LA, Grandal to Orioles, Machado to AZ, players from AZ to Orioles.
    If that idea didn’t drive you crazy, this one will–Kiebert Ruiz for Realmuto.

  20. I saw video of Kemp working out at Dodger Stadium with the veterans then a photo of him with Kenley and someone else at the Lakers game. Kemp looked fat in the photo.

    1. To me it looks as if Matts swing isn’t as fluid, nor does it accelerate as quickly as it did in his younger days.

  21. If that idea didn’t drive you crazy, this one will–Kiebert Ruiz for Realmuto.

    Realmuto isRealgood, but Kaybear just might beRealspecial. NO! … and I would not blink. He’s the most untouchable prospect on the roster to me.

  22. I hear the D-Bags are pushing hard for Machado. That would improve the Bags a lot. It should also empty their farm system. Do it, Kendrick!

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