Top agent Scott Boras held the Red Sox up as something of a model franchise on Wednesday. Naturally, he would: they had the highest payroll in baseball, and won a world championship.
Boras lamented the noncompetitive nature of many other clubs, and would love nothing more than for the Red Sox to keep spending.
“I told John Henry, he does not look good in soccer shorts,” Boras said, referring to Henry and Co.'s stake in Liverpool. “So to [divest] him of that and devote all to the baseball wellbeing of his interests. The soccer coach was there with him."
"You have a proven commodity [with the Red Sox]. You have players that are in their mid-20s. You have a team winning when you have a whole group of players that are in their mid- and early 20s. It’s really a model that’s going to allow you a great amount of success if you can retain those players. I think that the baseball algorithms will demonstrate they’re in for a good run if they retain those players.”
But will they retain them all?
“I don’t know,” Boras said. “I was just getting champagne dust, so I have not talked to them at length about that yet.”
Doubtful. Not all of them. And a year from now, the likeliest outcome is that if Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez do sign long term deals here, they’ll have tested free agency first.
Two of the best Sox players entering potential walk years in 2019 are Boras clients. And virtually every factor suggests they’ll test the market, rather than ink new deals ahead of time.
When it comes to Martinez, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski essentially said as much himself Wednesday at the general managers’ meetings.
There are opt-outs in Martinez’s deal, which could go as long as five years. But he can also walk away after next season. And there are also protections for the Red Sox if Martinez has a specific health situation arise.
Redoing the deal now would mean guaranteeing more of the contract, and Dombrowski made that sound like an uncomfortable proposition for the Red Sox, despite how successful Martinez has been.
“He can choose to leave, it’s his opt out,” Dombrowski said Wednesday. “But the reason we put ‘em in there were medically oriented as we went through at the time.”
“That medical hasn’t changed,” Dombrowski noted.