Ken Rosenthal on Braves relationship with Scott Boras

MLB: OCT 10 NL Division Series Braves Practice

Spring Training is beginning for teams across the country, yet there are still a multitude of free agents left on the market. This is something that has become problematic for baseball. Most leagues have set days and deadlines that expedite the process. Baseball does not, allowing it to drag on for as long as the players and agents desire. In most instances, deals are reached in a reasonable amount of time, but when it comes to Scott Boras clients, you can expect them to push as close to the start of the season as possible in hopes of landing the biggest deal they can. Of all the remaining free agents, the top four left on the market are represented by Scott Boras — Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Cody Bellinger, and Matt Chapman.

As Ken Rosenthal for The Athletic recently pointed out, those are two of the primary reasons why the Braves don’t often jive with Scott Boras clients. They currently have no players represented by Boras on their roster. That doesn’t mean they have never had any, or will never pursue one in the future, because they very much will. But players hire Boras for one reason: to get them the most money possible in free agency.

The Braves don’t pay sticker price for anything… ever. They let a future first-ballot Hall of Famer in Freddie Freeman walk out the door over a sixth season. They never budged off their $100 million offer for Dansby Swanson, who inked a $177 million contract with the Cubs, and many expect the same to transpire with upcoming free agent Max Fried.

Scott Boras lives for free agency; Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t. The biggest contract he’s ever handed out as a general manager of the Braves to a free agent was to Marcell Ozuna for $65 million over four years, but as Ken Rosenthal points out, it’s not like Anthopoulos is afraid to spend for the right players.

“First baseman Freddie Freeman would have topped Ozuna’s deal if he had agreed to a five-year, $140 million offer (he wound up signing with the Dodgers for six years and $162 million, including $57 million deferred),” writes Rosenthal. “Right-hander Aaron Nola also would have topped it, if he had signed with the Braves rather than returning to the Phillies for seven years and $172 million.”

“Rather than award hefty long-term contracts to free agents, Anthopoulos prefers extensions for players acquired in trades (Matt Olson, Sean Murphy), signed as international amateurs (Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies) and chosen in the draft (Austin Riley, Spencer Strider, Michael Harris II). The highest salary in any of those extensions is $22 million.”

The narrative that the Braves are cheap is a lazy one. A few years ago, a suggestion like that may have carried some weight, but not anymore. This is a team that’s well over the luxury tax for the second season in a row, and there are no signs that payroll will go down in the future. However, just because Alex Anthopoulos has more money to spend doesn’t mean he should change his philosophy when it comes to handing out contracts.

The Braves are in the position they are in today — winners of six straight division titles and a World Series with the brightest future in the league — because of Alex Anthopoulos’ emphasis on value. Similarly, Scott Boras is regarded as the game’s best agent for players because of his emphasis on the value of his clients. They are two of the best at what they do in the world, except on opposite sides of the spectrum.

The Braves are not against bringing on Boras clients, but the instances where it makes sense for both parties are few and far between. That’s not going to change as long as Alex Anthopoulos is the general manager in Atlanta.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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