MLB Notebook: Scott Boras claims interest is heating up around remaining free agents, Zack Wheeler and Phillies agree to contract extension, and more

Brett Holden
1 month ago

Scott Boras claims interest is heating up around Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery

A couple more Scott Boras clients could be close to signing new contracts as Boras claims pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell have received interest in recent days
Upwards of four teams have checked in on the two top pitchers still on the market over the past few weeks. Boras says the teams had not been active in conversations earlier in the offseason for the pitchers, but have engaged in discussions since the start of Spring Training.
Players represented by Boras have recently signed new deals that were nothing close to their expected value earlier in the winter. Cody Bellinger re-signed with the Cubs on an option-laced three-year, $80 million deal last week. Far from his $250 million valuation in November. Plus, Matt Chapman signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the San Francisco Giants. Far from the $150 million contract with the Blue Jays before the end of last season. 
Judging from those deals, Snell and Montgomery’s deals will likely not be what they were expecting when hitting the market this offseason. 
The Red Sox have been mentioned recently in conversations with Jordan Montgomery, while the Giants and Yankees have reportedly sent offers to Snell in recent weeks. But if these four teams have not taken a chomp at the pitchers before, who could they be?
The Orioles have already dipped into the pitching pool before Spring Training kicked off when they acquired Corbin Burnes from the Milwaukee Brewers. But, the O’s have been stung by a little bit of an injury bug. Both John Means and Kyle Bradish have hit the injured list with arm injuries. Plus, closer Felix Bautista underwent Tommy John in February and won’t be back until 2025. It was reported that the Orioles could get active in the free agent market again after the injuries were announced, even after the Burnes addition. 
The Mets have also seen one of their top pitchers, Kodai Senga, is expected to open the season on the IL as he strained a capsule in his shoulder at the start of camp. Senga would be one of three pitchers expected to start on the injured list for the Mets including Max Kranick and David Peterson. Even though it may seem the Mets are not in the pitching market, if the report of these teams not being involved prior, New York could be an interesting look.
Another team that has seemingly been in on everything has been the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal for the Dodgers would likely be a long shot considering they would need to move another player out to make room on their 40-man roster. Which, L.A. has already done numerous times this offseason after trading players like Victor Gonzalez, Manuel Margot, Michael Busch, and Yency Almonte. But the reason Los Angeles could be in on one of these pitchers, despite already bringing in Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow, is the potential return of Walker Buehler. Buehler has been recovering from his second Tommy John surgery and has not pitched in the MLB since June of 2022. Buehler is aiming for a mid-May return but it has been reported that Buehler has not fully completed his rehab and has been having some issues during his bullpens.
He’s still working through some things in his delivery. But he’ll get there,” said Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts.
Now, is it a long shot like I said? Absolutely. But if any team in the league could make a ‘why not’ type deal, it would be the Dodgers.
It has also been rumoured that the Phillies have poked at Snell in recent days. Philadelphia would be open to a short-term deal with the lefty, which could be an absolute steal for Boras’ client at this point.
Could this be another smokescreen thrown by the super-agent with his back against the wall to try and squeeze out more money from the teams already interested, probably. But, it will be interesting to see if any of these phantom teams do take a bite at these free fish.

Zack Wheeler agrees to a contract extension with the Phillies

Speaking of signing pitchers, the Phillies have locked up one of their own as Zack Wheeler has signed a three-year, $126 million extension through to the 2027 season. 
Wheeler’s deal will see him make $42 million a year, making the deal the fourth-highest average salary in baseball history. Wheeler spent his first five seasons in the MLB with the New York Mets before signing a five-year $118 million deal with Philly in 2019 and has made a home in the City of Brotherly Love.
Since joining Philadelphia, Wheeler has received Cy Young Award votes in three of his four seasons, including a second-place finish in 2021, MVP votes the same year, and an All-Star nod as well. 
However, this could be the final contract the 33-year-old signs in his career. 
I love competing. But I don’t want to play until I’m old-old.
The contract will take Wheeler to his 37th birthday and says he wants to be around his family when his contract is over. But, Wheeler’s mind is not in the future, it’s in the present. “But I’m definitely enjoying the moment here, enjoying every moment I take the mound. It’s special.”
Wheeler isn’t the only star that would like to stay in Philly. Bryce Harper has voiced his desire to stay on with the Phils long-term. Yes, Bryce Harper still has eight years on his deal still, but Harper wants to sign on with the Phillies into his 40s. Will he sign anytime soon, I don’t think it’s likely, but these two superstars may see what just happened this offseason and have opted to do whatever it takes to avoid the market anytime soon.

Quick Notes:

  • Nationals prospect Daylen Lile was taken to hospital after exiting Spring Training game with an injury. Lile was taken off the field on a stretcher after taking a fall attempting to catch a home run. Lile is out of the hospital and considered ‘day-to-day’ with a back contusion.
  • Bob Melvin changes anthem rules for the San Francisco Giants. Melvin will require every person in the dugout to line up along the foul line during the anthem. The rule is an alteration of the one implemented by Gabe Kapler where the Giants would not line up for the anthem after the mass shooting in Uvalde in 2022. 
  • Brandon Crawford said the Giants didn’t want him back. Despite wanting a reunion in San Francisco, Crawford says he was “not wanted back” by the team. Even going as far as pointing the finger at somebody “whose [opinion] matters.”


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