On Wednesday, during Major League Baseball's annual General Manager Meetings, agent Scott Boras held what is essentially a press conference with reporters. He usually has his big showing on this front in the lobby of a hotel at the Winter Meetings, so consider this one a warm-up act.
Remember, Boras likes to use puns and he's always going to pump up the value on his clients. He's exceptional at what he does, landing mega-contracts for many of his players. He's had misses, but for the most part, he's as good as it gets at making money for his guys.
Here are some takeaways and, again, remember he's coming at this from the player side.
Strong market for starting pitchers
Unsurprisingly, starting pitchers are in high demand this offseason. A good number of teams, especially those with deep pockets, are expected to pursue rotation help with several clubs trying to land at least two MLB-caliber starting pitchers.
The free agent starting pitchers who move the needle are Aaron Nola, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, Eduardo Rodríguez, Marcus Stroman, Jordan Montgomery, Sonny Gray and Lucas Giolito, but there are plenty of others. Also, the trade market could include some big names like Shane Bieber, Corbin Burnes and Dylan Cease.
Sure enough, Boras told reporters that he's had seven teams tell him they want at least two starters (via Chelsea Janes).
Red Sox to be aggressive?
The Red Sox won the World Series in 2018 and were in the ALCS in 2021. They followed that up with back-to-back 78-win, last-place seasons. Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom was fired late in the season. It seems like they want to ramp things up instead of looking mediocre or sub-par, which would mean a busy offseason.
By Boras' calculation, the Red Sox intend to be aggressive in improving this season (via Pete Abraham).
On Mets-Alonso extension talks
The Mets are interested in talking extension with first baseman Pete Alonso, . Boras worked his Alonso's nickname, "Polar Bear," and said (via Evan Drellich), "when it comes to the polar bear, we're not in contract hibernation."
Helpful (please note sarcasm).
No extension talks for Altuve, Bregman yet
The Houston Astros made the ALCS for the seventh straight season in 2023, missing out on their fifth AL pennant by just one game. The foundation of that group has been second baseman Jose Altuve and third baseman Alex Bregman. Both Altuve and Bregman signed what turned out to be club-friendly extensions years ago, both of which are expiring after the 2024 season.
Boras said that the Astros have shown interest in extending both beyond 2024, but there haven't been specific contractual discussions to this point (via Chandler Rome).
Weird comment on Snell
"In the pitching autobahn, it's pretty much Mach Snell," Boras said (via Fabian Ardaya).
Apparently, in German "macht schnell" means things like "hurry up" or "make it quick."
Blake Snell last season was 14-9 with a 2.25 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 234 strikeouts in 180 innings. He's likely to win his second Cy Young and join Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay and Max Scherzer as pitchers to win the award in each league. He's now a free agent.
So, sure, Mach Snell.
A Full Belli
Regarding Cody Bellinger's demise with the Dodgers and then rebuilding of his value on a one-year deal, Boras offered up that "Chicago got the comforts of a full belly (Belli)," and "will have to loosen their belts to keep him." (via Jesse Rogers)
Bellinger, 28, won MVP in 2019, but from 2020-22 with the Dodgers, he hit .203/.272/.376 (76 OPS+). Last season for the Cubs, he hit .307/.356/.525 (133 OPS+) with 29 doubles, 26 home runs, 97 RBI, 95 runs, 20 stolen bases and 4.4 WAR. The MVP season will likely always be an outlier year for Bellinger, but getting a solid 4-5 WAR season, annually, moving forward for a bit is a reasonable bet.
That is to say, by all means, loosen your belts, teams needing a big bat that can also handle center field quite well but also fill in at first base if need be.