BOSTON (CBS) — If you’re hoping the Red Sox lock up either Xander Bogaerts or Jackie Bradley Jr. before they hit free agency, you may be disappointed. They are both represented by baseball’s monolithic super-agent, Scott Boras, and he is suggesting that he will take his clients to the open market.
CSNNE’s Evan Drellich spoke with Boras for his Baseball Show podcast, which was released on Thursday. When asked whether there’s been progress in any discussions with the Red Sox on potential contract extensions for Bogaerts or Bradley, Boras didn’t get into specifics – but he did explain his policy with impending free agents.
As has been Boras’ M.O. for much of his career, his policy suggests that pre-free agency extensions are unlikely for the Red Sox’ two young stars.
When explaining his policy with his clients’ free agency, he brought up a unique case in Nationals righty Stephen Strasburg. The 28-year-old signed a seven-year, $175 million extension with the Nats a year ago, which came as a surprise because it happened before he became a free agent. Strasburg’s deal averages $25 million per season, but based on recent deals for David Price and Zack Greinke, he very well could have gotten over $30 million annually on the open market.
In so many words, Boras said that players who sign extensions before free agency are usually underpaid.
“We have a rather extensive process of information that we give our clients about their options and choices, the market potentials and their performance,” said Boras. “So it’s something where with each proposal, we certainly let the athlete evaluate it and we always stay in communications with the teams about their intentions. And that process sometimes delivers the fruit of an agreement, and often it does not. Because the system has a track record whereby a lot of players who sign contracts prior to free agency have a value component that is, more often than not after a consideration by the player, not of the value he would receive by waiting.”
It’s no shock that the likelihood is Bogaerts and Bradley will hit free agency when their contracts run out after the 2019 and 2020 seasons, respectively. The Red Sox’ top target for an extension may be Mookie Betts, anyway. The right fielder is not represented by Boras, but is arguably the top baseball talent represented by TLA, which also represents the Astros’ Carlos Correa and the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner.
The idea that Bogaerts and Bradley will become free agents isn’t terribly surprising. But it’s another strong indication that it’s imperative for the Red Sox to win now, while their talented young core is still intact.