If the Orioles are serious about keeping Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, they know they’re going to have to deal with Scott Boras.
They’ve dealt with Boras countless times before, and will again. Zach Britton is also a Boras client.
They signed another Boras player, Chris Parmelee to a minor league deal in January.
Boras is baseball’s most powerful agent, and one of the most hard to predict.
Yes, he has lots of top shelf clients, but he has some “while I’m in the office” guys, too. “Dan, while I’m in the office, let’s talk about Chris Parmelee.”
Boras almost always takes his players to the free agent market and generally disdains signing younger players to deals that take away free agent years, but does make exceptions.
Jered Weaver re-signed with the Angels, Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez signed a seven-year extension after his first full season in the majors, and Elvis Andrus inked an eight-year extension with Texas.
Sometimes Boras strikes quickly. Jayson Werth signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Nationals as the 2010 Winter Meetings were getting underway.
Jacoby Ellsbury got a seven-year, $153 million contract with the Yankees before the 2013 Winter Meetings.
Often, he waits, and that’s where the problem lies.
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Let’s assume the Orioles tender qualifying offers to Chen, Davis and Wieters, and they’re rejected. The Orioles at least have extra draft choices next June.
But, if they’re serious about those players, they have to deal with Boras’ timetable.
In late Dec. 2008, he signed Mark Teixeira, who is no longer a client, to an eight-year, $180 million with the Yankees. The Orioles were on the fringes of that deal.
He may want even more for Davis, and he and the slugger may be willing to wait.
Prince Fielder didn’t sign his nine-year, $214 million contract with Detroit until Jan. 24, 2012, and this year, Max Scherzer’s seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals wasn’t done until Jan. 19.
If the Orioles seriously want to re-sign any of the Boras clients, they’ll have to try and make a preemptive offer quickly—or at least one early in free agent season.
This year’s Winter Meetings begin on Dec. 7 in Nashville, and Boras’ scrum with reporters is always a highlight. He compares his clients with baseball royalty and once complimented Dan Duquette’s hair during a discussion on Orioles free agents.
He uses the meetings to gin up interest in his players, but the Orioles need to have at least some of their deals done by then.
On Dec. 12, the team will hold FanFest. Season ticket holders will pepper Duquette and Buck Showalter with questions about free agents, and they’ll want answers.
Usually FanFest is held in late January, and often the team is relatively set by then. It won’t be this time.
The Orioles can’t risk more fan discontent by not making at least one major move by FanFest. Ideally, they’d be able to trot a new or re-signed player or two out to get some love from the fans.
They can't wait until mid-January because if they aren't going to sign those Boras clients, they'll have to look for replacements.
This time, the Orioles have to deal with Boras, who has had clients with qualifying offers wait even into the regular season to sign.
They can’t wait this year—even if Boras can.
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