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How Did Scott Boras Ruin His Clients' Offseason?

Scott Boras; CC by License 2.0

This MLB offseason was one of the most dragged out in the sport’s recent history. The signings and trades were seemingly all dependent on Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yammamoto’s decisions. Once they signed, fans expected the rest of the high-profile players to sign in the following weeks. This was far from the truth. Scott Boras, the agent representing the four of the top free agents of the 2023-2024 offseason, was on a mission to get his guys the best deals possible, even if this meant waiting until the regular season started in one player’s case. 

Boras’ guys all signed deals which were very far from what they originally sought going into the offseason. The players below are both starting pitchers, and they were both seeking something close to the mega-contracts baseball has seen signed more in recent years. As an agent, Boras is known for being tough and always securing the desired deals for his players. However, this offseason was the opposite, and Boras came away with fewer clients than he started with because of his tactics. 

Of all of the players in the Boras Four, Blake Snell should have been the most likely to sign early in the offseason. Snell took home his second Cy Young award after the 2023 season, joining a small list of pitchers that have won the award in both leagues. Everyone expected teams to be salivating over the idea of adding a pitcher like Snell to their rotation. However, despite taking home the hardware, Snell’s suitors were far from abundant. The reports were that Boras and Snell were looking for a long-term, high-AAV contract for the lefty. Many teams were not ready to pull the trigger on a deal like this, as Snell would be 31 years old when the 2024 regular season would start. 

Eventually, the Giants were the club to sign Snell, but that long-term deal that he and Boras were looking for was far from what he actually ended up signing for. Blake inked a two-year, $62 million deal with a 2025 player option. Snell was signed 10 days before the season opener, giving him almost zero spring training work with the club. His signing was also very consistent with how the Giants like to sign these high-profile free agents: high AAV, short-term, and with an opt-out. 

In mid-February, it was reported that Snell received an offer of six years, $150 million from the Yankees. After turning this offer down, Snell and Boras had to settle with the deal they got with the Giants. Job security is up in the air for Snell’s future, and he very well could turn into another Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander, and keep signing one or two-year deals for the rest of his career. 

The Boras way of getting Snell a deal may end up costing Blake Snell serious money in the next few seasons. Blake Snell is known for having a slow start to the season. His ERA in March/April in his career is 4.00. In May and June, it’s 4.39 and 4.40 respectively. He always figures it out as the season progresses, but the slow start is something that teams are going to have to deal with in Snell. Because Boras was only able to get a deal signed for Snell 10 days before the season started, Snell was not fully able to prepare for the workload and adrenaline of a regular-season game in the MLB. This seemingly worsened Snell’s slow-start quality, as he currently rocks an 11.57 ERA in 11.2 innings with the Giants. Next season, if Snell opts out of his deal with the Giants, teams are going to look at the start he got off to in 2024. No team can say that these stats are positive, and they weigh heavily in any team’s decision to dish out more money to Blake. Snell’s best chances to sign a long-term deal were in this most recent offseason, and it will be exponentially more difficult to accomplish this in the following years. Boras certainly didn’t help by being a stickler about money and years when negotiating.

Scott Boras severely let Jordan Montgomery down in the offseason. Two days before the Diamondbacks started their season, Montgomery signed a one-year, $25 million deal with a vesting option for the 2025 season. With this deal coming even later than Snell’s, the Diamondbacks were forced to start Montgomery in AAA with the Reno Aces for two starts. Monty had to be able to ease into game situations in order to avoid injury. Especially with the amount of starting pitchers going down with UCL ligament injuries this season, the D-Backs had to be very careful with their new acquisition. 

Reportedly, Montgomery was seeking a seven-year deal going into the offseason. He proved himself in the postseason in 2023, as he was a very big part of the Texas Rangers’ World Series team. In five starts with the Rangers in the postseason, Montgomery pitched 31 innings with a 2.90 ERA with just five walks allowed. He was able to induce a ton of soft contact to collect outs in October last season, evident by his very low 4.94 K/9 compared to his stellar ERA numbers. In his one start this season with the Diamondbacks, he allowed just one earned run in six innings against the Giants. It appears as if Montgomery is ready to hit the ground running with his new club. 

Clearly, Montgomery did not sign that seven-year deal that he and Boras wanted. He looks to prove himself as a consistent, middle-rotation guy in 2024 in hopes of a longer-term signing next year (or the year after depending on his option). Like Snell, Montgomery is pitching as a 31-year-old, so signing long-term will be difficult next season. However, to ensure Boras’ tactics don’t inhibit his ability to sign his desired deal, Montgomery dropped Boras as his agent. This certainly proves that Montgomery was upset at the way Boras represented him. No pitcher with numbers as proven as Montgomery’s should have to start the year in AAA, and it seems that Montgomery fully agrees with that. 

Scott Boras is going to keep losing clients if he has any more offseasons like he just did in 2023-2024. Matt Chapman and Cody Bellinger are two, non-starting pitcher examples of how Boras was unable to get his players the deals they wanted. Both Chapman and Bellinger signed for much shorter time and less money than they wanted. With Snell and Montgomery, Boras’ tactics failed much more clearly. Pay attention to how both of these pitchers’ seasons go in 2024. Depending on their performances, we could see more and more guys drop the Boras Corporation as their representative group in favor of other, more proactive agencies. 


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