As first noted by Larry Brown, the Giants have been installed as betting favorites for three of the top available free agents. According to SportsBetting.ag, San Francisco has even-money odds to sign Blake Snell and Matt Chapman, then they’re at +125 to get Cody Bellinger. There are, however, a few catches. First, all three are Scott Boras clients.
Under normal circumstances, that might mean nothing other than being unable to negotiate a team-friendly deal. But after what happened last year with Carlos Correa, the Giants may have to pay an even steeper premium to add players from Team Boras. You may recall that Correa was dressed in a suit in preparation for his introductory press conference after agreeing to a 13-year, $350 million deal when the Giants canceled it and voided the deal due to a medical issue.
Boras obviously isn’t going to cross any big spenders off the list of course, and he said earlier this month that the two sides have been engaged.
“We all understand the capacity to do it is there, and the desire, from our meetings with them, is there,” Boras told reporters at the Winter Meetings. “So we expect them to be very actively involved in the free-agent market.”
One big factor propelling the Giants’ odds is that they’re the team most likely to get desperate and overpay for at least one front-line player. Their nine-year, $360 million bid for Aaron Judge — also known as Arson — went for naught as the slugger chose to return to the Yankees. Farhan Zaidi, San Francisco’s president of baseball operations, said their proposal to Shohei Ohtani was “comparable if not identical to what he wound up agreeing to.”
This isn’t a situation in which Zaidi is shrugging his shoulders and disingenuously consoling fans by saying he tried. The Giants have been out there putting up legit massive offers and they’re being flat turned down. Well, except for the Correa thing, where they blew everyone away with that $350 million figure. If Bellinger and his fellow Boras Corp. clients really want to max out their value, Zaidi is probably their best bet.
But what if there’s more to it than that? Unless we’re talking about offers no other team would even consider making, fit will be a big factor. I mean, there has to be a reason players are turning the Giants down. Bellinger and the Cubs feel like a hand-in-glove pairing after the way things worked out last year, and it’s notable that players’ most recent teams aren’t listed on those aforementioned betting lines.
Had the Cubs been included, it’s almost certain they’d have the best odds to sign Bellinger. They’re third for Snell (+400), though things could shift there because the Red Sox (+300) are in second. In case you missed it, Boston just inked Lucas Giolito to a two-year deal and might not be as aggressive in adding another starter. That would also impact the Jordan Montgomery bidding, where Boston is viewed as the favorite (+125).
The Cubs, oddly enough, are way back in 14th there (+2200) despite some early rumblings that they’ve shown interest in the veteran lefty. The Cubs are also second for Chapman (+250) and fourth for Josh Hader (+1200), the lone non-Boras entry displayed.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating that betting lines aren’t necessarily about what a particular book believes will happen. While that’s certainly part of it, the real goal is to boost the money being wagered in order to increase profits. Taking a really pessimistic view of things would have us saying the Cubs are getting strong odds just to milk more suckers.
It doesn’t seem as though we’ll see much movement at the top of the market until the new year, which is both my belief and a half-hearted attempt at manifesting an immediate deal or three on the North Side.