Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Maybe Scott Boras Was Right?
By Ian Hunter
Who ever thought Scott Boras would be the voice of reason in a situation involving free agents? I can't believe I'm saying this, but maybe he's right.
The Toronto Blue Jays and Scott Boras don't exactly have the best history, but the two find themselves at a crossroads; Boras has clients that are still unsigned, and the Blue Jays have needs on their roster.
After comments made earlier this week to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Boras appeared on both the Fan 590 and TSN Radio and backtracked a bit on his remarks that took the organization to task for being inactive this offseason.
He may have ulterior motives, but Scott Boras actually provided some solutions for the Blue Jays and offered many valid points during his interviews with Jeff Blair and Bryan Hayes. Perhaps the Blue Jays should pounce on the remaining free agents.
Who ever guessed Scott Boras would use anything other than strong-arm tactics to get his players signed? It's almost as if Boras has the Blue Jays best interest at heart ... almost. He did what agents do best, and that's create a sell job for their clients.
Unique Opportunity to Draft a Protected Pick
When ever are the Blue Jays going to get a chance like this to sign a free agent without having to give up a pick? That's the main point Scott Boras hammered home during these interviews.
The Blue Jays are in a very unique position where they finished in the bottom 10 last year, and hopefully that won't happen again this year. If you're a team like the Blue Jays designed to compete now, ideally you don't want to be in that position two years in a row.
So not only could the Blue Jays still sign an Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales, but their first two picks are protected regardless.
Unless Alex Anthopoulos covets a 49th overall pick as much as a first rounder, this offseason would have been the opportune time to improve the Blue Jays via free agency. Because odds are they won't get this opportunity again for a very long time.
Backloading Contracts Allows for Financial Flexibility
Not surprisingly, Scott Boras advocated towards the Blue Jays back-loading contracts. Heck, money is money ... whether it's all up front or it comes at the end of a contract.
His clients get paid either way, but structuring a contract with incremental value could prove beneficial for the Blue Jays.
Payroll is dropping close to $40 million in 2015 with $96.2 million on the books next year, and close to $70 million in 2016 with only $27.6 million on the books for 2016. As a comparison, the Yankees nearly have $160 million committed to their 2016 payroll.
The Blue Jays payroll commitments next year and beyond are actually in okay shape, so taking on another one or two contracts wouldn't push them into luxury tax territory, if that's what Alex Anthopoulos and company are truly worried about.
Sign Drew to Play Second Base
Scott Boras reiterated that the Blue Jays don't have any prominent second base prospects in their system, which is absolutely true. There aren't any on the horizon, which is perhaps why the Blue Jays experimented with Brett Lawrie at second for a brief period last year.
Boras also stated Stephen Drew would be willing to play second base, but it came with a caveat; only if the Blue Jays made it a long-term position for him. Key phrase there ... "long-term". So does that mean 3-4 years?
I'd be okay with the Blue Jays going with Stephen Drew at second base in the foreseeable future, because there really is nobody coming down the pipeline in regards to second baseman. Shoring up the position would certainly be a wise decision.
Trade Lind for Pitching, sign Morales
He also suggested the Blue Jays could improve their roster by trading Adam Lind for starting pitching and subsequently sign his client, Kendrys Morales to DH. Lind is under contract for $7 million this season, so one assumes Morales could be had for around that mark.
Scott Boras hinted that some teams see Adam Lind as a desirable asset because of his years of control, but truthfully I don't know what he'd fetch in return. The Blue Jays certainly couldn't trade Lind to the Pirates in exchange for Gerrit Cole.
If flipping Adam Lind nets the Blue Jays any sort of starting pitching whatsoever and they signed Kendrys Morales, they'd already have improved at 1B/DH and they'd have a starting pitcher to boot.
Lind and Morales are relatively the same player, with the difference being Morales can hit lefties and Adam Lind can't. Kendrys Morales is also a switch-hitter and hits from both sides of the plate equally well. Surprisingly, both players are also the same age.
Boras also mentioned signing Drew and Morales would net the Blue Jays a draft pick after the fact, so long as those players stay on the roster the entire season and the Blue Jays extend them a qualifying offer.
Image courtesy of Kirby Lee-USA Today Sports