For the first time in weeks, I thought the MLB hot stove was about to heat up. Pirates ace Gerrit Cole has been traded to the Houston Astros, or so I thought. It turns out that this was just a ‘false rumor’ or something along those lines.
This was a bummer. This move would have surpassed Wade Davis to the Rockies as the biggest move of the offseason. Sure, Gerrit Cole will more than likely get traded within the next few days, but it’s still all speculation. We can’t avoid the fact that the MLB offseason is progressing at a snail’s pace. JD Martinez, Eric Hosmer, and Jake Arrieta are just some of the top free agents still on the market. I thought for sure the Giancarlo Stanton trade would loosen things up back in December, but clearly I was wrong. If I had to guess what is causing this free agency back-up, I would say committment is the biggest issue. Big league clubs aren’t as willing as they used to to hand out large deals over an extended period of times. Gone are the days of ten-year deals, in my opinion. Josh Hamilton, Pablo Sandoval, and even Albert Pujols come to mind. I know that they did not sign ten-year deals, but the clubs they signed with certainly did not get a positive return on investment.
Although the clubs are leaning more towards short-term deals, it remains to be seen if players and their agents will ever accept it. As an agent, I’m fairly certain you want to get the most value out of your client, and that’s what Scott Boras specializes in. Because of this, you have guys like JD Martinez and Eric Hosmer who remain unsigned. There have been rumors that both are seeking deals where their AAV would exceed $20 million dollars, that’s not the problem. The problem is the length of the contract. Given the fact Martinez is already 30 years old, I’m certain there’s a consensus around Major League Baseball that he is not worth a seven or eight year deal, which appears to be what Boras, his agent, wants.
There are several factors that go into a player and his agent wanting a long deal, but baseball may be ushering in a new era where that is a rare occasion. You have your once in a generation talent like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado who are going to get deals that last 10+ years, but what about the rest? Is it worth it for the Red Sox to pay JD Martinez north of $20 million dollars a year into his age 37 season? Probably not. If Martinez and Boras were accepting of a three or four-year deal, then he would have been signed weeks ago, the same with Eric Hosmer. All I know is, the market is messed up and this may be the start of something new in baseball.