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Wednesday Bantering: Sanchez/Boras, Bautista

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MLB: ALCS-Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Sanchez Hires Scott Boras

Although the Blue Jays have some holes to fill in their current roster, their 2021 payroll may have just gone up. At least, if they want to keep Aaron Sanchez around. On January 3, 2017 Sanchez changed agents and is now represented by super-agent Scott Boras, who polarizes baseball depending upon which side of the owners/players you side with. He’s often been described as the most hated man in baseball by owners and fans alike. I think it is safe to say that by the time Aaron Sanchez signs his next contract, Boras will not be a popular figure across Canada.

This may be noteworthy today, but really isn’t anything we have to worry about for a while. Aaron Sanchez is arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2018 and will reach free agency before the 2021 season. Boras has consistently advised his clients to test free agency so with this hiring, it probably becomes unlikely that the Blue Jays are able to lock up Sanchez prior to his free agent year.

If Sanchez continues his upward trajectory, the sky may be the limit for his next contract, especially with Boras representing him. In his first full season as a starter, Sanchez led the AL in ERA (3.00) and posted and impressive 4.8 bWAR, leading the Jays in that category and ranking 9th in the AL for pitchers.

Here are some notable deals negotiated by Boras over his years as a MLB agent:

  • 2015: Max Scherzer signs with Washington for 7 years, $210M
  • 2013: Shin Soo-Choo signs with Texas for 7 years, $130M
  • 2013: Jacoby Ellsbury signs with the New York Yankees for 7 years, $153M
  • 2013: Elvis Andrus extends with Texas for 8 years, $120M (opt outs after 2018 and 2019)
  • 2013: Michael Bourn signs with Cleveland for 4 years, $48M (Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro were in Cleveland at the time)
  • 2012: Prince Fielder signs with Detroit for 9 years, $214M
  • 2011: Rafael Soriano signs with New York Yankees for 3 years, $35M (significant as it gave Soriano opt outs after each year of the contract)
  • 2008: Mark Teixeira signs with New York Yankees for 8 years, $180M
  • 2007: Alex Rodriguez opts out of his 10 year, $252M deal with 3 years left and re-signs with the New York Yankees for 10 years, $275M
  • 1998: Kevin Brown signs with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 7 years, $105M (first to break the $100M barrier)
  • 1997: Greg Maddux signs with Atlanta for 5 years, $57.5M (first to break the $50M barrier)

There are of course many more deals involving Boras with established MLB players and he has been very active with amateur draftees. Wow, there are a lot of deals on that list that turned out very badly for the signing team.

Fortunately, there is a lot of time for us to wait and enjoy Aaron Sanchez as a Blue Jay before we really see what the impact of this decision will be on the franchise.

Signing Jose May “Salvage the Blue Jays’ Winter”

Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes that if the Blue Jays are able to re-sign Jose Bautista on a short-term deal, this offseason may just turn out to be a success. He basically sums up his point here, though I think the dollar figure he attaches to Bautista is a little high.

If the Jays can really get Bautista for something like $20-$25 million on a one-year deal, they’ll likely be better off than if they had re-signed Encarnacion and traded for Bruce (or someone of his ilk) to fill the hole in RF. The Jays were never going to bring back both of their star sluggers, so if they had landed Encarnacion at that $20 million a year price tag, the replacement outfielder would probably have ended up being roughly equal in price and value to Morales. Landing Bautista for something close to the Encarnacion salary for 2017, without the multi-year commitment on the more expensive player, would give the Jays similar expected performance without nearly as much long-term risk.

I believe that Jose Bautista will return to the Jays on a one-to-two year deal, perhaps with a player option on the second year. I do hope that the remaining pieces of the Jays’ roster will come together fairly soon. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb 14 and position players on Feb 17 so it really can’t be much longer, can it?