Scott Boras Believes Teams Should Be Incentivized To Improve MLB Free Agency
Daniel Clark/USA TODAY Sports

A once-exciting free agent period for Major League has taken a turn for the worst in recent years. Top players are remaining unsigned well into the offseason and Spring Training, while others have been forced to settle for less salary due to a barren market.

This was especially evident last offseason when Bryce Harper and Manny Machado didn’t find homes until February. Despite this, the two superstars still managed to secure contracts that reached the $300 million threshold.

With Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon headlining another talented free agent class this winter, prominent agent Scott Boras offered a solution to what has become a growing problem for the sport.

He opined that MLB teams should be incentivized to sign free agents at an earlier date in order to accelerate the process, via Evan Drellich of The Athletic:

“They want to make the offseason more predictive as to when players sign, and the answer to do that is to provide incentive, not limitation, on the free-agent right,” Boras said Thursday. “A player has six years, he should determine when he signs, that should be his choice, because he’s earned that right. Any restriction, any limitation on that timeframe would restrict the right. Because some clubs make decisions in February they wouldn’t make in December. And there’s obviously a strong history for that.

“If their intended purpose is to promote early signings and make the free-agent hot stove active and take advantage of it, the answer is to provide incentives. My advice is that for the bottom 15 teams — those clubs that they talk about as the teams that are of economic disadvantage — we would give them more draft picks if they sign a free-agent player within a designated timeframe.

On the other side of it is, is that if you give a club that’s in the upper tier of economics, that you’re going to give them a designation where their luxury tax allocation, the player is exempt, or a percentage of the signing of that player is exempt from luxury tax. There’s no penalty. But those incentives go away if you don’t sign the players within that timeframe. And that will motivate teams to sign quicker. It will give them a reason not to wait and try to do trades first, because that’s what’s going on.”

The MLB Players Association recently rejected a proposal from MLB that would’ve established a deadline for teams to sign players to multi-year contracts this offseason.

MLBPA senior director of collective bargaining and legal Bruce Meyer was instrumental in turning down the offer, believing that accepting it would have taken leverage away from the free agents.

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