Boras holds court as teams plot winter plans
Agent offers updates on clients Ellsbury, Drew, Choo at GM Meetings
ORLANDO, Fla. -- With three of the top free agents on his list of clients, this figures to be a busy offseason for Scott Boras. But the high-profile agent said this week has more or less been business as usual.
"The standard general managers meeting in the dark hallways of a hotel," Boras quipped in his session with the media. "Met with a good number of teams, some before we got here and many here."
Standing in the lobby of the JW Marriott Grande Lakes, Boras fielded questions about many of his clients, the activity of several teams and how the overall market is taking shape. But mostly, Boras sang the praises of his free agents, particularly Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew. The one thing he couldn't say, however, is how soon they'll sign.
"I think every free agent wants to get their deal done yesterday," Boras said. "There's kind of a tide that works in this process, and every once in a while you have clubs that make quicker decisions than others, and a lot of that has to do with exhausting trade possbilities, along with their plan and design with their owners. Really, it has to do a lot with the math the teams have to do to make the strike. Historically, there's always a few that jump quicker. But for the most part, a lot of teams respond to the pursuit of the player when they know that pursuit of the player has a timetable."
Boras represents, among others, three of the bigger names available on the open market: Ellsbury, Drew and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. He declined to specify how many teams are in pursuit of Ellsbury, arguably the best available player behind second baseman Robinson Cano.
Boras said he has spoken with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington about Ellsbury and Drew, both of whom were on Boston's World Series championship squad this year, and hopes to continue that dialogue as the offseason progresses. But both players have been linked through Hot Stove rumors to several other clubs as well.
Boras said he's still in the process of collecting information for Ellsbury and getting a feel for how many teams are truly interested. Once that part of the process is over, he'll present it to the 30-year-old center fielder and let him decide what his preferences are and how they'll shape his final decision.
A report from CBSSports.com said Boras is seeking a deal for Ellsbury similar to the one the Red Sox gave outfielder Carl Crawford before the 2011 season: seven years and $142 million. Crawford's production has decreased since signing that deal, but Boras said he isn't worried about how that bit of recent history might affect his client.
"I think older contracts are usually just that: older ones," he said. "Because the revenues have changed, the markets have changed. I think if the markets had gone down, then you would probably be looking at something different.''
Boras also touted Drew, calling the 30-year-old a "top-five defensive player" who can also hit for power. One of the more interesting subplots of Boras' conversations with the Red Sox, however, is that he also represents Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, Boston's likely replacements for Ellsbury and Drew if they leave.
"I think Xander Bogaerts is a guy who can play shortstop and is going to have a career with a big bat," Boras said. "I think with outfielders it's a little bit easier, because I think that everybody knows that Jackie can play all three positions. Really, those decisions are made by teams. ... But I'm sure [the Red Sox will] keep us abreast of it as they go through."