Free agency is officially underway. Scott Boras has arrived.
Boras was on MLB Network Radio today and told the hosts that in his career as an agent, he has never seen more interest in a player than Adrian Beltre has this year.
Of course. Say what you will about Boras, his “pillow contract” plan to have Beltre sign with the Sox for a year worked like a charm. Whether it’s from the Sox or somebody else, the man is going to get paid.
In other news:
• Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, who has good sources with the Tigers, reports that they are making Victor Martinez a priority.
• Kevin Cash, who played 29 games for the Sox last season, signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers.
UPDATE, 7:44 p.m.: Here’s exactly what Boras said:
“I would have to say in my years of doing this I’ve never had so much interest in one player. I’m not sure that the media quite understands what Boston did for Adrian Beltre but I think his leadership has come to surface. We’ve had a number of teams contact us, vastly more than we ever expected, and we expected a good number, certainly. But there are teams wanting to move players to make room for him. Both these players (Beltre and Jayson Werth), the metrics are so good for the longevity of their performance with the positions they play.
“You can look at [Mike] Schmidt’s career, or George Brett’s career, or [Paul] Molitor’s career, all in the case of Beltre, and he’s performed at levels that are commensurate with them from [age] 25 to 31, and you would expect that those players’ performances at the third base position from 32 to 38 were also at very solid levels that you would expect from players of that ilk. So I think that the metrics are there to really illustrate that these are really good players and they are going to be really good players for a long time.”
Then came this exchange:
Casey Stern (the host of the show): Host/Casey Stern: “Obviously we know from Theo [Epstein] on down the line, the Red Sox were ecstatic with what Adrian did for them. We also know that the Red Sox have interest in Jayson Werth. Both clients, different situations. However, two holes for the Boston Red Sox. Any conversations ongoing, or planned, to talk about having both of those guys go to Fenway?”
Boras: “Well, I’m not going to address what specific teams are doing but I can tell you that there are a lot of teams who need an outfielder that has versatility to play center field [and] play right field. These are complete players. These are players with Gold Glove defensive abilities at their respective positions and they also give you middle of the lineup offense. And certainly in the marketplace we’ve got Carl Crawford, more of a lead-off hitter type who doesn’t have the power of a Jayson Werth. Over the last three years you have one that has 80 home runs and one that has 40. So they’re different types of players.
“So for clubs that are looking for a middle-of-the-lineup player that can play center field and play right field, certainly having a commodity like Werth available is something that in free agency we don’t normally get. We usually get a corner outfielder who can perform well but someone with that athletic versatility and speed is usually not something you get with that requisite power. And the same is true with Adrian’s case. I hear a lot of people talk about the Gold Glove voting, and the acumen, and you’ve got to remember that Boston’s infield is one of the most treacherous in the major leagues. I’ve watched a lot of third baseman for a long time and I’ve never seen one better than Adrian Beltre. And I think a lot of teams recognize that and then you add in his offensive exponential and his leadership. This is really a free agent market where you’ve got really three or four players that can make a substantial difference on a franchise.”