The quiet off-season has heated up for a while due to “Hamgu-ryeong Ohtani,” but it is having a quiet time again.
The Major League Baseball, which is entering the new year, is now about a month away from the convocation of its spring camp. Now is the time when both players and teams are starting to slowly take steps toward the new season. Korean leaguers including Kim Ha-sung and Bae Ji-hwan have already left for the U.S. for early preparation.
However, the FA market remains dormant. Special FA players such as Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (LAD) have found a new team, but there are still a lot of players left. Ryu Hyun-jin is one of them.
Among the big players left in the FA market, there are many players managed by Scott Boras, a big agent. Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Cody Bellinger, and Matt Chapman, the biggest fish in the Tuta market, all belong to Boras Corporation. Ryu Hyun-jin, J.D. Martinez, Rhys Hoskins, Joey Gallo, and James Paxton are also Boras’ customers.
One of the reasons for the delay in contracts for players with Boras Corporation is Boras’ tendency. Boras tends to sign the “most expensive players” among his players and then proceed with the contracts of the rest of the players. For example, a team that can pay Snell a large amount of money does not actively pursue Ryu Hyun-jin’s contract until Snell’s contract is completed in order to prevent him from leaving the Snell recruitment race.
However, time is not on the player’s side. FA players cannot play this season without their team, but a club can proceed with this season without its own team. Clubs plan to open this season with the players they currently own, in case no player under negotiation joins the team. Negotiations will continue, but in the end, it is the players who are under pressure from the deadline. If the contract is delayed, the size of the contract could decrease. With the spring camp convocation approaching little by little, the turning point of the offseason is already over early. It is time for players to become increasingly nervous.
MLB Trade Rumors pointed to Boras’ “late contract” report card after 2010 on Jan. 23 (Korea time). Did agent Boras, dubbed the devil, sign a big contract in February-March (or later)? I looked back on his report card for the rest of the offseason except for March 2022, when many contracts were made in March due to the lockout.
The biggest contract Boras signed in February-March since 2010 was Bryce Harper’s in March 2019. Harper signed a 13-year, 330-million-dollar contract with the Philadelphia Phillies at the time. Harper, who was the ‘special express’, was a player who could be free from the passage of time to some extent. However, Harper signed a 13-year, 330-million-dollar contract at the time, even though a 14-year, 420-million-dollar contract was expected.
Except for Harper, there were only two contracts totaling more than $100 million. It is a five-year, $110 million contract between J.D. Martinez and the Boston Red Sox signed in February 2018, and an eight-year, $144 million contract between Eric Hosmer and the San Diego Padres. When the offseason began that year, Martinez was expected to sign a six-year, $150 million contract, and Hosmer was expected to sign a six-year, $132 million contract. Both players signed smaller-than-initial contracts.
Besides players who signed big contracts worth more than $100 million, most others signed smaller-than-expected contracts early in the offseason. These were Austin Jackson (March 2016), Matt Wieters (February 2017), Carlos Gomez, Tony Watson (February 2018), Greg Holland, Carlos Gonzalez (March 2018), James Paxton (February 2021) and Jurickson Profar (March 2023).
In particular, the report cards of the players who remained in the market late after rejecting the qualifying offer (QO) were disastrous. Mike Moustakus turned down the Kansas City Royals’ $17.4 million QO after the 2017 season and was evaluated as capable of winning a five-year, $85 million contract, but remained in Kansas City in March 2018 with a one-year, $6.5 million contract.
The Mustacers, who normally opened the season, were on the better side. In 2014, Steven Drew rejected Boston’s $14.1 million QO, but it wasn’t until May that he remained for a year and $10.1 million to start the season. That same year, Kendriss Morales also joined the season with a $12 million single-year contract with the Minnesota Twins in June, when the penalty for losing the draft pick disappeared after rejecting the Seattle Mariners’ QO. Dallas Keuchel turned down a $17.9 million QO from the Houston Astros after the end of the 2018 season and was expected to sign a four-year, $82 million contract, but he became an FA MIA and only joined the Atlanta Braves in June 2019 on a one-year, $13 million contract. 라바카지노
This winter, the FA market had the biggest fish ever called Ohtani, but overall it is considered a “holy year.” And clubs are increasingly trying to spend their money more safely. Recently, few clubs rush in just looking at the “name value.” Snell, who Boras wants to sign as the top priority among the remaining players, won the Cy Young Award last year, but it is said that there is a big gap between the market and players.
Time does not wait. Attention is focusing on what fate many Boras customers, who are still independent, will face in the offseason.