The Washington Nationals have a great relationship with baseball super agent Scott Boras. This is well-known and well-documented across baseball. When a front office has a great relationship with the best agent in baseball, it means the Nats will regularly have a shot at the big guys.
A recent article by The Washington Post's Tom Boswell raises some interesting points. However, he suggests that prospect Anthony Rendon could take over for Ryan Zimmerman, leaving the Nats’ franchise player out of the mix in 2014.
I suggest this isn’t even close to the likeliest scenario. In the article, Boswell suggests a “Boras-client second baseman to be named later” could end up in the 8-hole. If the Nats are committed to Zimmerman, and I think they will be if he shows he can remain healthy this season, why not fill the second base gap with Rendon as that Boras client?
It’s more than reasonable to argue that Scott Boras would rather have Ryan Zimmerman in the lineup than not have him there, despite the fact that his agent works for a rival agency. Zimmerman is one of the best third baseman in all of baseball when healthy, and he would certainly make the team around him better. Zimm put up 2.3 WAR last season even though he missed 60 games. In the two seasons prior, he put up WARs over 5, despite missing 40 games in 2010. His plate discipline and ability to scortch the baseball allows players around him to see better pitches and help the team. With Zimmerman, Prince Fielder, and Bryce Harper at the core of the lineup, you can make a legitimate argument that you have one of the best 3-4-5’s in baseball.
If the nightmare ends soon, and the Nats do sign Prince Fielder, the team will have an overwhelming number of Boras clients, including Fielder, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Danny Espinosa, Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer, and Brian Goodwin. As Boswell says, with this list, 7 of the 9 Opening Day 2014 starters could be Boras clients if Zimmerman isn't extended. However, if you make that 6 out of 9, the team is still overwhelmingly Boras-centered, and you have a player that makes the team much, much better.
Not to mention, it is Boras's job to ensure that his guys sign for the most money possible, and not just the ones already playing for the Nats. If Zimmerman signs an extension with the Nats, it keeps him off of the open market at free agent time. That frees up a ton more money, he will easily command more than $150 million, for Boras’s other clients.
So, it’s entirely possible that Scott Boras is dying to see Ryan Zimmerman finish his career with the Nationals just as much as Nats fans are, because he’s stacking his clients around Zimmerman to make them even more valuable.