Scott Boras Winter Could Be Causing Cubs’ Offseasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder, which conveniently abbreviates to SAD, is a type of depression that often comes along in the winter months when shorter days and seemingly endless gloomy weather can trigger a chemical shift in the brain. Cubs fans are experiencing a more specific issue that comes when the front office fails to provide any sunshine in the way of big-league moves. In case you missed it earlier, the Cubs are the only team that has yet to sign or trade for a guaranteed MLB contract.

What Bruce Levine dubbed a “Scott Boras Winter” back in early December has blown into Chicago with flurries of puns and direct challenges to team leadership. A majority of the top remaining targets, many of whom have been linked to the Cubs either explicitly or circumstantially, are represented by the super-agent. Cody Bellinger is the biggest and most obvious of those, but his courtship may yet drag out even as his market appears to have shrunk to just one or two teams.

Jed Hoyer wasn’t about to jump the market and make a splash to bring Bellinger back, especially with his initial asking price reportedly sitting well north of $200 million. Boras isn’t about to settle for a “hometown” discount on his biggest client of the offseason, so the two sides remain at a stalemate despite many in and around the game believing a return to Chicago remains the best fit.

That dynamic may also be affecting the Cubs’ other moves, including at least one more that has seemed somewhat likely for a while, as Boras isn’t going to want Rhys Hoskins to sign before Bellinger. Not with the same team, anyway, since signing a first baseman would decrease the agent’s leverage against the team.

And while Matt Chapman may not directly influence Bellinger positionally, Boras could be planning to use the latter’s deal to aid the former. As the No. 7 overall free agent and second-highest position player available according to MLB Trade Rumors, Chapman stands to benefit from the resultant vacuum once Bellinger inks a deal. He might not want to wait that long, of course, but we’re sitting here three days from the new year with nary a peep about his potential landing spot(s).

The Cubs’ pitching pursuits may also be caught in a blustery swirl of puns because Boras represents both Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. Though it was initially believed that Yoshinobu Yamamoto‘s decision would spark the market for starters, his massive contract with the Dodgers broke the curve. Neither MLB veteran will be getting anything close to the largest-ever contract for a pitcher, which could have front offices pushing even harder for value without using Yamamoto as a comp.

Chris Cotillo of wrote that Boras “may be keen on taking his time” with Snell and Montgomery, especially with so much attention turning to the next tier of starters. Even though Cotillo is writing specifically about the Red Sox and their engagement with Shōta Imanaga, Lucas Giolito, James Paxton, and Yariel Rodriguez, we can safely say Craig Breslow isn’t the only interested party here.

This is where the whole “intelligent spending” thing can become both maddening and understandable, since wanting the Cubs to do something (anything!) is tempered by the logic of not overpaying for sub-elite players. Not that basically sitting out the offseason would be either advisable or excusable, mind you, I’m just saying there’s a point at which making moves for the sake of making moves is how you end up with [insert your least favorite recent signing here].

The reality of the situation is that the Cubs eventually have to sign players and that Boras represents all four of the top remaining free agents plus Paxton, Hoskins, and J.D. Martinez (all among the top 13 remaining). That’s a lot of juice, but Hoyer doesn’t like getting squeezed. So just make sure to stay bundled up and maybe consider buying a light therapy lamp, because this manmade polar Bortex may be sticking around for a while.

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