Despite Dave Dombrowski’s trading frenzy over the past two years, the Sox have managed to keep a fairly young and fresh roster at the major league level. Gone are the likes of Yoan Moncada, Manuel Margot, and Michael Kopech, but the team still holds on to young superstar talents in Bogaerts, Betts, Bradley, and Benintendi. The issue is paying all these top players while retaining large contracts such as Chris Sale. The issue: Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are represented by the “most hated man in baseball”. That man would be Scott Boras.
As it stands, Xander is under team control until 2020. As for Bradley, he has a year on Bogaerts, entering free agency in 2021. Scott Boras will not stand down and take less money just to satisfy winning. Bogaerts currently earns $4,500,000 per year, which ranks him #11 in salary for MLB shortstops. (I expect him to jump up to the highest paid of current top players.) If we look at similar deals of shortstops signed at 26-27 years old, we see Troy Tulowitzki earning almost $16,000,000 a year. Another comparable is Elvis Andrus, who earns $15,000,000 a year over a span of an 8 year deal. But Bogaerts will demand even more. As top players are gaining close to $25,000,000 per year, he will want to be at the top of the pay scale. Figure in his age at free agency and his talent, other teams will certainly break the bank and jump into the bidding.
Scott Boras’ Effect on Bradley and the Young Sox
As seen before, Scott Boras will push for the max deal possible; maxing out players at $24,000,000. Some of these players haven’t lived up to their figures, for example Jacoby Ellsbury. The problem isn’t the contracts dished out, but the effect it has on other players. As the pay scales rise for certain positions, other players try to match their deals with comparable talent. If Bradley gets the money he wants, then Betts will earn even more. Think of this as a Malcolm Butler situation. For the common Pats fan, you know the story of Butler. An undrafted free agent turned Super Bowl hero, Butler is still paid as if he was a 3rd string cornerback. The same goes for Betts. He is near the bottom of the Sox payroll, and like Butler, most certainly would like to be paid in the top echelon of positional players. The ripple effect may not stop. Bradley gets his cash, Betts wants his, Benny wants his. The question will be: who will lose out?