Is Scott Boras Falling Off, Or Will He Get to Have the Last Laugh?

It has been an embarrassingly bad offseason for Scott Boras, with so many of his top clients signing deals for less than we expected.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 25: National League MVP Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Sports Agent Scott Boras poses for a photo during the 97th annual New York Baseball Writers' Dinner on January 25, 2020 Sheraton New York in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

When the offseason began, if someone would have set an over/under on how much money Blake Snell, Cody Bellinger and Matt Chapman would make combined, the line might have been set at around $500 million. Snell and Bellinger were each supposed to clear $200 million and Chapman was at least expected to receive a nine-figure deal.

Yet here we are at the end of the offseason and those three did not even combine to make $200 million between them.

Instead of signing lucrative long-term deals, Bellinger, Snell and Chapman were all forced to high AAV short-term deals, with opt-outs that will allow them to test the free agent market again next offseason if they post a strong 2024 campaign.

All three of those free agents are represented by Scott Boras, who has been under a lot of scrutiny as of late because of these lackluster deals. At 71 years old, and having four decades spent in the game, many are wondering if Boras’ tactics have gone stale with his top free agents.

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It is fair to question whether Boras has been asking for too much on his free agents, and if he even has their best interest in mind with how he has been representing them.

Will we look back at this offseason as the beginning of the end for Boras in his monopoly over the top talent in Major League Baseball?

Let’s look at this from all sides to see what went wrong with this free agent class.

Scott Boras Tactics Falling on Deaf Ears?

Earlier this offseason, I wrote an article and did a video for our YouTube channel on how Scott Boras controlled this free agent market, and would in turn dictate the pace of the offseason. Boy have I have ever been more disappointed to have hit the nail on the head!

This offseason we watched the free agent market grind to a painfully slow halt, with the top players on the market sitting out there well into spring training as they waited for some great deal that would never come.

Boras sets an extremely high bar on his clients and when that price isn’t being met in the market, his strategy is always to hold and wait it out until he gets the deal he wants. This year, that strategy seems to have blown up in his face because the market never developed for his top free agents.

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While Bellinger, Chapman and Snell have all signed for less than we would have anticipated, that could be as much about the market speaking on these specific players as it does indicate some conspiracy that teams are refusing to negotiate deals with Boras.

Last offseason, Boras struck an 11-year, $280 million deal for Xander Bogaerts that was widely considered a greater deal than expected. Carlos Rodon signed a six-year, $162 million deal, after taking one of those patented opt-out prove-it deal with the Giants a year prior.

If not for Carlos Correa’s ankle, he would have signed a contract worth more than $300 million and Boras negotiated such a deal twice in the same offseason.

Then in this year’s free agency, we saw Boras take advantage of the healthy market for 25-year-old Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee and turn it into a six-year, $113 million deal, which far exceeded most expectations.

Even looking further down the free agent market, Rhys Hoskins’ two-year, $34 million deal was pretty good value coming off a torn ACL, and Sean Manaea did very well on his two-year, $28 million deal.

In a weak free agent class, it is true that Boras had some of the top players available, but where he went wrong is believing that teams would pay a premium for them because of the lack of other options. Instead, teams clearly did not trust this crop of Boras free agents.

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Just a Bad Free Agent Class

Did Scott Boras misplay his hand this offseason? Without a shadow of a doubt.

If Matt Chapman really had a nine-figure deal on the table with the Blue Jays prior to hitting free agency, that was clearly a mistake to not have accepted it in retrospect. If the Yankees really offered Snell $150 million over six years, Boras should have jumped on that offer.

Boras may be clinging to the past where the top player at a position (Chapman) and a player coming off winning a prominent award (Snell the reigning Cy Young) automatically get paid at top dollar. This however ignores the context of each of their free agent cases, as well as Bellinger’s.

After a hot start last season, Chapman put together a really rough stretch over the final five months, where he barely hit over the Mendoza line (.205/.298/.361) with a 84 wRC+.

Snell was amazing in winning his second Cy Young, but had four years prior where he failed to eclipse 130 innings pitched. Bellinger had a great bounce back in 2023, but was non-tendered just a year prior after two seasons where he was a well-below average hitter.

We still don’t know what Jordan Montgomery’s contract will end up being. What we do know however is that because of how well he pitched in the playoffs, Boras thought his client was worth ace-money in a league that still widely views him as a really great No. 3, over a No. 1 or No. 2 starter.

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Whatever his deal ends up being, it will likely be less than market value or another short-term high AAV contract with an opt-out.

While you could blame teams for not being as aggressive to spend, it is also Boras’ job to understand the market that is there for his players and not make such gross miscalculations.

If he was more reasonable with his demands, each of these guys could have landed longer term deal with more guaranteed money. However, no one was going to pony up and pay guys with this level of inconsistent track records high-AAV deals that spanned more than a couple seasons.

Ultimately what happened was both an error in judgement on Boras’ side of not properly valuing his talent, but also a reflection of the talent he was shopping. While this offseason turned into a dud for Boras, there is always next year. This in lies where Boras always has the last laugh. Because next year’s free agent class is absolutely loaded for Boras.

Boras Will Be on Top Again Soon

Next year’s free agent class for Scott Boras includes Juan Soto, Corbin Burnes, Pete Alonso and Alex Bregman. Similar to this year that is four of the top free agents of the class all represented by Boras. The difference however is that the 2025 class is far better than this year’s free agent crop.

Soto will hit free agency at 26 years old and barring a flop of a season, will be entering the market as one of the absolute best hitters in all of baseball. The starting point in Soto’s negotiations will be at least $500 million, and the bidding could stretch far beyond that.

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Corbin Burnes is a Cy Young who has been a consistent inning-eater. If he puts up a big 2024 campaign with the Baltimore Orioles, a $200+ million contract should be within reach.

Alonso has been the best run producer in baseball since his debut, leading the league in both home runs and RBIs during that span. Bregman is a two-time World Series champion, who has consistently been one of the best third basemen in baseball.

The difference between this year’s class and next year’s is that the upcoming free agents have been far-more consistent in their careers. Not to mention, if anyone from this year’s crop puts up another strong season, they will hit the market again after exercising their opt-outs in better standing to get that long-term deal.

As long as Boras continues to represent the best players in the game, he will always get more cracks at his players receiving top deals in the sport. If next year’s class is a repeat of what we saw this winter, we can begin to have dialogue about Boras being over the hill.

But considering the fact that his 2025 free agents should easily clear one billion dollars in free agent commitments, there is every chance that Boras will get the last laugh after all.

Ultimately as long as the top players continue to trust Boras with their careers and hire him to be their agent, he will always remain supremely relevant in the game.

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