Near the end of a unique offseason, no agent in the baseball industry claims a larger share of unsigned free agents than Scott Boras.And Boras suggested to MLB.com on Wednesday that some of his star clients won't need to wait much longer to receive new contracts, with the 2018 Major
Near the end of a unique offseason, no agent in the baseball industry claims a larger share of unsigned free agents than Scott Boras.
And Boras suggested to MLB.com on Wednesday that some of his star clients won't need to wait much longer to receive new contracts, with the 2018 Major League regular season now only three weeks away.
When asked if deals were imminent for Jacob Arrieta, Mike Moustakas, Greg Holland or Carlos Gonzalez, Boras replied, "We're closer to deals than we were two weeks ago. Some of those things are only a phone call away."
Moustakas, in particular, has been the subject of industry speculation in recent days, with some baseball observers wondering if he will remain unsigned beyond Opening Day. Boras downplayed that possibility, saying, "Moose is an All-Star third baseman with near 40 home runs in the prime of his career. We expect clubs with winning goals to sign him."
Moustakas, 29, hit 38 home runs for the Royals last year, a franchise record. Although it remains possible that he could return to Kansas City, the Royals have indicated that they'd like to avoid multiyear commitments to free agents and instead focus on rebuilding their farm system.
While Boras declined to speak on the record about interest from specific teams, a separate source said the White Sox have had dialogue with him regarding Moustakas and Gonzalez during the offseason. The White Sox are emerging from a rebuild and are likely to increase their payroll in the coming years; the addition of Moustakas and/or Gonzalez could improve the team's 2018 performance and make the club more appealing for free agents during the '18-19 offseason.
Similar logic applies to the Phillies, who have shown interest in Arrieta and are considering the possibility of adding as many as two free-agent starters. With the Majors' lowest 2018 payroll -- for the moment, at least -- they have the flexibility to do so.
The five right-handers who comprise the Phils' projected rotation -- Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vincent Velasquez, Nick Pivetta and Ben Lively -- have two attributes in common: all have at least one Minor League option remaining, according to RosterResource.com, and none has thrown more than 200 innings in a Major League season.
Arrieta, who has averaged just under 200 regular-season innings over the past three years, would add playoff experience to a team that could reasonably return to the postseason in 2019 or '20. And because the aforementioned right-handers have Minor League options left, the Phillies could add Arrieta without losing organizational depth.
The Brewers and Nationals are among the other teams showing interest in Arrieta, sources say, while MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported on Thursday that the Padres have had internal discussions about the right-hander. The Angels have spoken with Boras about Holland, who led the National League with 41 saves last year.
Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for MLB.com.