Contract Talks

Scott Boras is Mad, But Aaron Sanchez Will Be Fine

It’s been barely two months since Scott Boras started representing Aaron Sanchez, but the most powerful agent in baseball is already making noise for his client.

By now, you’ve probably seen on Sportsnet or heard on TSN about Boras’ displeasure in how the Blue Jays renewed Sanchez’ contract at the league minimum salary. Sanchez earns $535,000 this upcoming season, but Boras Corp was hoping he’d make much more.

Were this any other agent, we probably wouldn’t have heard anything. “Aaron Sanchez renewed at league minimum” would’ve been the headline and everyone would’ve moved on. But the profile of Scott Boras has made this into a newsworthy story.



Surely, this is the first of many brash statements yet to come from Scott Boras in relation to Aaron Sanchez. To me, it sounded like Boras declared to the Blue Jay organization; “you’ll pay for this”.

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This isn’t just “Sanchez pitched his butt off last year, so he should get a raise”. The CBA is designed in a way which can allow MLB teams to pay players the league minimum until they reach arbitration. Some teams don’t adhere to that rule, other teams like the Blue Jays have a “policy” in place.

Despite Aaron Sanchez’ phenomenal season in 2016, if the Jays were to suddenly bump his pay for 2017, the club would have to do that for everyone. Evidently, the organization isn’t ready to ditch that philosophy yet.

As far as I’m concerned, the system is in place to encourage teams to pay the league minimum until a player reaches arbitration. Raises are optional and aren’t mandated; regardless of how well a player performs in the prior season.

It would be nice for the Blue Jays to offer Aaron Sanchez some sort of a raise – not only as a reward for his stellar 2016 season – but for agreeing to be sent to the minors last year and missing out on some of his big league salary.

If teams can get away with paying the league minimum, they're going to do it every single time. So why would Boras expect the Jays to pay Sanchez any more than they have to?Click To Tweet

In that vacuum, I can see why Scott Boras would be upset. Aaron Sanchez “took one for the team” last year and he was repaid for his selflessness with a measly salary increase?

However, this situation is hardly unique to Aaron Sanchez or the Toronto Blue Jays. This is the way it’s always been. This is the way the Blue Jays have always operated. It’s the way they’ll continue to operate.

If Boras should be upset with anyone, it’s the CBA and how teams are permitted to pay players the league minimum until they hit arbitration. That’s why I think this may have just been a power play by Boras – standing up for his clients and prompting discussion about this whole process.



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Aaron Sanchez may miss out on a little bit of salary now, but he’ll probably make up for it (and then some) when he goes to arbitration or hits free agency. One way or another, Sanchez will get paid.

$500,000 may seem like a lot of money right now (for someone who’s making $535,000), but when the time comes for a contract extension, Aaron Sanchez will get that money back – and then some.

Sanchez may take a bit of a haircut now, but he can easily make up the difference down the road. Hopefully, he’ll stay healthy enough to make it all the way through arbitration, perhaps even to free agency – and that’s when Sanchez will be handsomely rewarded.

Baseball is weird like that; even if you put forth an MVP-calibre or Cy Young-worthy season in your pre-arbitration years, you don’t immediately reap the benefits. The reward only comes years down the road when arbiters look at those benchmarks.

After all, the process worked out well for Aaron Sanchez’ old friend, Marcus Stroman. After Stroman’s second year of service time, his salary jumped from $515,900 to $3.4 million. Aaron Sanchez can expect a similar bump in pay next year, if not a heck of a lot more.

If teams can get away with paying a player the league minimum, they’re going to do it every single time. As ideological as it would be to reward players on merit, anyone below three years of service time doesn’t get that benefit.

I hate to say it, but young players like Aaron Sanchez don’t have very much leverage in this scenario. Until they reach salary arbitration, they’re at the mercy of the team they’re dealing with. Sometimes those teams are generous, other times they aren’t.

If the shoe were on the other foot and it was Boras Corp in control of this financial situation, you can believe they’d go for the maximum amount possible and not settle for a penny less.

So why would Scott Boras expect the Blue Jays to pay Aaron Sanchez any more than they have to?

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez “mine” incident. He’ll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.




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