Bo­ras says free agency fi­nally has be­gun

Chicago Sun-Times - - CUBS BEAT - BY GOR­DON WITTENMYER Staff Re­porter

MESA, Ariz. — What kind of im­pact will the Cubs’ sign­ing of Yu Darvish have on the slow­est free- agent mar­ket in his­tory?

Whether the six- year, $ 126 mil­lion deal serves as the first sig­nif­i­cant sign­post for the mar­ket, or whether its tim­ing sets off a chain re­ac­tion as camps open, ac­tiv­ity fi­nally seems to be in­creas­ing.

“Free agency’s be­gun,” agent Scott Bo­ras said Wed­nes­day. He rep­re­sents most of the high­est- profile free agents who re­main un­signed, in­clud­ing for­mer Cubs right- han­der Jake Ar­ri­eta, closer Greg Hol­land, out­fielder J. D. Martinez, first base­man Eric Hos­mer and third base­man Mike Mous­takas.

“For all my clients, the phone has been more akin to what you would ex­pect for free agency in De­cem­ber,” Bo­ras said. “It’s been more like that in the last week.”

He wouldn’t com­ment on his ex­pec­ta­tions re­gard­ing time­lines or con­tracts for those clients.

A hand­ful of smaller deals have been done since Darvish, in­clud­ing pitcher Bud Norris with the Car­di­nals on Mon­day and catcher Chris Ste­wart with the Braves on Wed­nes­day.

An es­ti­mated 30 to 40 free agents are at­tend­ing a closed spring camp run through the play- ers’ union in Braden­ton, Florida.

None of Bo­ras’ clients are there, pre­fer­ring to stay on per­sonal train­ing pro­grams started months ago and de­signed to keep pace with spring prep work.

Florida tragedy hits home

The lat­est Amer­i­can high school shoot­ing, which claimed at least 17 lives, hap­pened at the Park­land, Florida, high school that Cubs first base­man An­thony Rizzo and his brother at­tended.

Dozens of stu­dents and adults were shot at Stone­man Dou­glas High School by a for­mer stu­dent, po­lice said.

Rizzo, who worked out at the Cubs’ com­plex ear­lier in the day, later tweeted:

“Park­land and Coral Springs please stay strong! This is out of con­trol and our coun­try is in des­per­ate need for change. I hope in this dark­est of times back home this brings every­one to­gether and we can find love. You’re all in my prayers.”

T- shirts to can­vas

Man­ager Joe Mad­don’s lat­est foray into in­spi­ra­tional slo­gans and themes in­volves the un­veil­ing of art with a mes­sage. He com­mis­sioned Florida artist Ja­son Skel­don to cre­ate six paint­ings with base­ball- re­lated thoughts through lenses of such clas­sic artists as Sal­vador Dali and Michelan­gelo.

“Just small, sim­ple, direct mes­sages that a guy can hold onto,” said Mad­don, who plans to use the paint­ings to help pro­mote the arts among stu­dents in Chicago “and be­yond” and to even­tu­ally auc­tion the paint­ings to ben­e­fit his char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion.

In one paint­ing he shared with the team Wed­nes­day, Dali is wear­ing a catcher’s mask, and among the scrawled mes­sages in the frame is a para­phrased Dali quote: “Have no fear of per­fec­tion. You will never reach it.”

| GOR­DON WITTENMYER

Joe Mad­don is using art for in­spi­ra­tion, such as this piece based on Sal­vador Dali’s work.

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