Scott Boras is known for getting his players the big bucks, but doing so for one of his clients may have hurt another.
Boras’ star-studded roster includes James Paxton, whom the Boston Red Sox paid $10M this season to not throw a single big-league pitch. The Sox signed Paxton while he was recovering from April 2021 Tommy John surgery, so they always knew he’d miss a significant portion of the season. His recovery took longer than anticipated, and when he finally took the mound for a rehab start in Florida, he left the game with lat tightness after recording only two outs. Last week, the Sox found out that it’s a Grade 2 lat tear. Paxton’s season is over before it ever got started.
The second injury puts the Sox in an uncomfortable spot. The contract includes a pricy two-year club option, and if they don’t want to exercise it, Paxton can trigger his own one-year option. It’s hard to imagine him getting better offers in free agency, seeing as he’s thrown 21 2/3 innings combined since the end of the 2019 season, none since April of last year.
It’s one of several roster decisions the Sox likely regret, which doesn’t put them in an optimal frame of mind for the roster overhaul they have to maneuver this offseason. Nor does it set Boras up to get Xander Bogaerts the contract he wants from Boston.
An aggressive negotiator, Boras has a reputation for encouraging his clients to use their free agency to net the biggest contracts possible. However, Bogaerts has made it abundantly clear he wants to stay in Boston, so much so that he’s already gone against his agent’s advice in the past. In 2019, he approached the Sox about getting his contract extension done. His agent was visibly less-than-thrilled at the press conference announcing the team-friendly deal.
The Sox have and will continue to offer many explanations for why they haven’t already come to terms on a new extension with Bogaerts. None of the excuses should be acceptable. Bogaerts has proven himself for over a decade, both on the field and as a leader in the clubhouse. That he shares an agent with a signing who didn’t work out should have no bearing on what Bogaerts has done for this team.
Nothing and no one should stand in the way of the Sox figuring things out with Bogaerts.