Any type of contract negotiation ultimately comes down to dollars and cents, but agent Scott Boras says he objects to Aaron Sanchez’s 2017 contract with the Toronto Blue Jays as a matter of principle.
The team renewed Sanchez’s contract at the major-league minimum of $535,000 this week. Considering Sanchez went 15-2 in 2016, leading the AL with a 3.00 ERA during an all-star season, earning the league-minimum doesn’t seem like a fair shake to many observers.
Boras described the renewal to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi as the “harshest treatment any team could provide a player” and expanded on his thoughts Friday.
“I look at processes like this where the function in representing the player is to make an informed response to really what’s going on league-wide,” Boras told Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Friday. “When you’re an athlete and you’ve worked really, really hard to get to the major leagues and you arrive in the major leagues and then you perform at a standard where you lead the league in ERA, you make an all-star team, you win a major post-season game, you become something that is tremendously valuable to a franchise at a very young age.
“Really, particularly in Aaron’s case you look league-wide and kind of say, ‘Who are my peers and what is the league doing with people like me and (who) perform like me and are in my similar service class?’”
The Blue Jays have a policy in place where if a player doesn’t accept a pre-arbitration raise offered to him, he gets renewed at the major-league minimum—which for 2017 is $535,000.
It’s a policy Boras doesn’t like, though a handful of other teams also use it.
“My job really is to make sure the team is aware what has happened,” Boras said. “There are certainly a couple players I had represented and another player that I’d seen that were similarly situated ... You understand that we have a collective bargaining agreement that puts the controls of these decisions at this time of a player’s career unilaterally in the club’s hands.”
“I certainly advocated for the Blue Jays to do what other clubs had done and certainly Aaron’s position was he didn’t want to seek anything different than what was the treatment of his performance peers,” Boras explained. “And we understood at this point in Aaron’s career that this was a request to accommodate him in a similar fashion to other teams in the league.
“We felt we had some good models around the league to use as examples. That’s really what you do for a player that does not have the right to go to arbitration.”
Boras said he holds the Blue Jays franchise to a high standard, being the only Canadian MLB franchise and a team with a massive fan base. The agent wants to see ownership take a strong look at what the franchise is capable of in baseball and perhaps change some of their policies.
“I wish that maybe the alterations to their system would be more advanced and more consistent with what the league does with these types of players,” he said.
As for discussing a potential long-term extension or bridge deal for Sanchez early in arbitration, Boras said he’s open for anything as long as Sanchez is.
“Our policy is we listen to our clients. Certainly our position with the Blue Jays is one where it’s an open door,” Boras added. “Anything that they would like to propose we’re open to reviewing it. I always think it’s a welcome opportunity to hear what your employer has to say about a player. That dialogue can certainly take place any time.”