Sport MLB's top free agents on display in the World Series – and they all have the same agent
World Series storylines to keep an eye on
The 2019 World Series gets underway on Tuesday, Oct. 22, with the Houston Astros taking on the Washington Nationals. Here are the storylines to track entering the World Series. Nationals' long layoff After sweeping the Cardinals, the Nats will have had a full week of rest between Game 4 of the NLCS and Game 1 of the World Series. While the rest could be good for players on the mend, like Victor Robles, the worry is that Washington will lose momentum after such a long layoff. Meanwhile, the Astros enjoyed only two days of rest between Game 6 of the ALCS and the World Series.
HOUSTON — There may not a soul who with more at stake in this World Series.
But he's not swinging a bat, throwing a ball or even managing a game.
He instead is watching from his Southern California home, insisting there is no rooting interest for either team.
But no matter who wins this World Series, with Game 6 on Tuesday between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, he will be the biggest winner of all.
It's super-agent Scott Boras. And he just so happens to represent the biggest stars in this World Series.
Russian woman convicted by U.S. of being agent returns home
Russian national Maria Butina, who was jailed in the United States in April after admitting to working as a Russian agent, arrived in Moscow on Saturday, greeted by her father and Russian journalists who handed her flowers. Butina pleaded guilty in December last year to one count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for Russia by infiltrating a gun rights group and influencing U.S. conservative activists and Republicans. Her case further strained the U.S.-Russian relations, prompting Moscow to accuse Washington of forcing Butina, a 30-year-old Masters student, to confess to what it described as ridiculous charges.
“I’ve had prominent players playing in the World Series before,’’ Boras tells USA TODAY Sports, “but nothing quite like this."
The top position player eligible for free agency and in line for payday over $250 million, is third baseman Anthony Rendon.
He is represented by Boras.
The best pitcher eligible for free agency, and will almost certainly be provided the richest contract for a pitcher in history, perhaps even earning more than Rendon, is Astros starter Gerrit Cole.
He is represented by Boras.
Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals' starting pitcher in Game 6, has an opt-out clause and can declare free agency.
He is represented by Boras.
“I think we’re about to make Scott richer than he already is,’’ Rendon said.
Report: Stephen Strasburg's opt-out deadline creates awkward timing with World Series parade
Stephen Strasburg's opt-out deadline is noon Saturday, two hours before the Washington Nationals' World Series parade.If World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg opts out of his contract, as he is expected to, it will be have to be by noon Saturday — two hours before the Washington Nationals' championship parade kicks off in the nation's capital, according to MLB.com.
Boras represents nine players on the 40-man roster on both teams, including NLCS MVP Jose Altuve of the Astros and 21-year-old sensation Juan Soto of the Nationals, has had a major impact in these teams’ success.
And may have even a greater influence for their future.
If the Nationals are going to make return trip to the World Series, they desperately could use Rendon.
They Natsfor about $210 million for before the playoffs.
Sorry, Boras says, not good enough.
The Nats desperately want Strasburg to stay, and co-anchor the rotation with Max Scherzer, another Boras client. Strasburg has four years and $100 million remaining on his contract, with $40 million deferred without interest. They have three days after the World Series to extend or re-work Strasburg’s contract, or he could opt out and test the free-agent waters for the first time in his career.
Stephen Strasburg opts out of contract with Nationals. What now?
The World Series MVP is opting out of the four years remaining on his old contract, becoming one of the top free agents in baseball this winter.This was mostly a formality for the postseason hero, who becomes one of the top players on the market this winter.
“Stephen Strasburg has had an amazing season,’’ Boras says, “but he has yet to make that decision. I haven’t even talked to Stephen or [wife] Rachel about it. I haven’t even addressed it. When the season ends, we will sit down and talk and see what he wants to do.’’
And if Strasburg doesn’t want to opt out now, he can change his mind a year from now, Boras reminds everyone, with another opt-out after 2020.
“It’s a camel option,’’ he says, “there are two humps to it.’’
The Astros would love to keep their prized pitching corps together for another World Series run.
Well, unless they’re ready to shell out at least $240 million, and perhaps as much as $275 million, Cole will be taking his talents elsewhere.
So, yes, Boras is going to be quite a popular man this winter, with a stable of free agents whose postseason performances only enhanced their value.
Cole, who has lost only one start since May 22, continued his fabulous postseason run bywith a three-hitter over seven innings. He went 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA in the postseason, and saved the Astros’ season with a brilliant Game 5 performance in the AL Division Series clincher against the Tampa Bay Rays. He will finish first or second in Cy Young voting after going 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts in 212 ⅓ innings during the regular season.
MLB Free Agent Reliever Market Already Shrinking
The New York Yankees locked up Aroldis Chapman on Saturday, agreeing to a one-year extension with the hurler, who will now be with the club through the 2022 campaign. His signing has made the MLB free agent market in terms of relievers that much more bereft of depth. The top dogs remaining on the market include Dellin Betances, Will Harris, Daniel Hudson and Will Smith. The rest of the bunch is staggeringly bleak. With Aroldis Chapman staying in New York, the already-thin relief market this winter gets even more shallow.
Rendon has put on a clinic in the postseason, hitting .308 with seven extra-base hits and nine RBI, while being a human highlight reel in the field.
“Everybody is calling me and telling me what a great baseball player he is,’’ Boras said. “I saw him play his freshman year at Rice. I know he was going to be a great baseball player.
“Now, everybody is understanding this guy is an MVP-type player. He hits for average. He hits home runs. He’s a great baserunner. His defense is unbelievable. And his baseball IQ is off the charts.
“What more could you want?’’
Strasburg went 18-6 with a 3.52 ERA and career-high 251 strikeouts during the regular season, and has a 5-2 career postseason record and 1.34 ERA, with 64 strikeouts in 47 innings. He kept their season alive in Game 5 of the Division Series against the Dodgers and won Game 2 of the World Series.
“To be dominant in the postseason, to win elimination games,’’ Boras says, “frankly, that greatness just adds to your resume, and makes you even more valuable. These guys that show they can do it, their pedigree is documented."
In other words, their stock price is soaring through the roof.
Boras has a stranglehold on this year’s free agent market. He also represents starters Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel, infielder Mike Moustakas, and outfielders Nick Castellanos and J.D. Martinez, if he opts out.
MLB free-agent predictions: Rankings, rumors for the top 10 players on the market
We’ll take a quick look at why 10 players will be attractive as free agents, a couple of places they might wind up and then a prediction. MORE: Every MLB team's most pressing free-agent need1. Anthony Rendon, 29, 3BThoughts: Rendon’s days as an overlooked star disappeared with his incredible postseason performance — .328 average, 1.003 OPS, three homers and 15 RBIs in 17 games — as the Nationals won the World Series. And that, on top of his incredible second-half performance — .336 average, 1.023 OPS, 14 homers, 64 RBIs in 71 games — has vaulted him to the top of SN’s list of top free agents.
Yet, for now, he’s focusing his attention on his star attractions in the World Series, even though he insists he’s staying neutral.
Still, while he may have no public rooting interest, Boras is more closely aligned with the Nats than any team in baseball.
When the Nationals had the first draft pick in the country in back-to-back years, they selected Strasburg and outfielder Bryce Harper, each represented by Boras.
When Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Nats, and outfielder Jayson Werth was their first big-free agent signing at $126 million in 2010, they were negotiated by Boras.
And when Harper rejected a 10-year, $300 million contract from the Nats, eventually signing for $330 million over 13 years with the Philadelphia Phillies, Boras pulled the strings.
Nats owner Ted Lerner’s relationship with Boras is legendary, and Boras and general manager Mike Rizzo are confidants.
“I’ve known Ted for a long time,’’ Boras says, “andand a great scout. He knows the character of players. He really gets it. And he’s not afraid to call us and ask about players in the draft.
“I still remember when they drafted Rendon. There were five teams that passed on him, and after they got him, I called Rizzo and said, 'How did you just get the best pick in the draft?’ I couldn’t believe it.’’
It was on Boras’ advice, he proudly says, why the Nationals were even able to land Strasburg and Harper with back-to-back No. 1 picks in 2009 and 2010.
“I remember Ted was interested in signing Mark Teixeira (after the 2008 season), and I said, 'You shouldn’t sign him,’ " Boras said. “'It doesn’t really work for him or you. It behooves you to do this slowly, and not win so much. You want to take advantage of some unique players coming out in those drafts.'
Border Patrol agent shoots, kills gunman who opened fire
A Border Patrol agent shot and killed gunman who opened fire about a mile from the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration officials said. "During the encounter, the subject produced a firearm and shot at the agent. The agent returned fire striking the subject," according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "The subject was transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
“The Lerners looked at the big picture, it allowed them to build a core, and then signing Scherzer really developed some algorithms for Ted.’’
It was no different than lending advice to the Astros when Jim Crane bought the franchise in 2011.
“When Jim became owner,’’ Boras says, “he flew to my office, sat down, and said, 'I want to build this thing right.’ "
And now, here are the Nats and Astros, the last teams standing.
Just one will be holding the World Series trophy but Boras, along with his clients, will be walking away with the riches.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
Related slideshow: Best of the 2019 World Series (Provided by imagn)
Paul Sullivan: Baseball's hot stove league could use an NBA-style spark after the slow pace of the last few offseasons .
When discussing teams' interest in free agent Bryce Harper last year at the general managers meetings, agent Scott Boras cautioned that many suitors would be playing it cool over the winter. © Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports“It’s not a regatta,” Boras said. “It’s a submarine race.” The submarine race finally ended more than three months later, during spring training, with Harper signing a record 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies.As baseball executives and agents gather again Monday at the 2019 GM meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz.
BEST MLB Free Agents for 2020 Season
BEST MLB Free Agents for 2020 Season An early look at the best available MLB free agents for the 2020 season in Major League Baseball. Who do you think is ...
Predicting Where Every MLB Free Agent Will Sign in 2019 Offseason
Where do you think every MLB Free Agent will sign in the 2019 Offseason? Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Craig Kimbrel, and Josh Donaldson are the Top ...