What a weekend! Let’s take stock. Before we start, remember that all 30 teams (even the Pirates) are working overtime to sign free agents before the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on Wednesday 1 December. This article will probably be out of date before you read it.
As usual, the free-agent starting pitching market is thin on the ground, and even thinner since the weekend, with Kevin Gausman signing with the Blue Jays and Jon Gray coming to an agreement with the Texas Rangers.
Gausman’s five-year, $110 million contract is less than the market expected and apparently lower than the offer made by the Mets.
Instead of choosing New York and their erratic tweeter-in-chief, Steve Cohen, Gausman opted for a whole different country. I was musing about how much money the Mets would have needed to offer to secure the services of the 30-year-old starter when a wise woman calmly suggested:
“Maybe guys are starting to see [Blue Jays] as contenders.”
I’m unsure whether this is more of a comment on the Blue Jays potential or the Mets failings, but I like it.
Another starter to sign a multi-year deal was Jon Gray, formerly of the Colorado Rockies and now of the Texas Rangers. The right-hander is one of those rare pitchers whose results were better at Coors than on the road. It will be interesting to see whether Gray can step up consistency now that altitude won’t be messing with half of his starts.
With Eduardo Rodríguez already off of the market after signing a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers – which looks like a steal for Detroit – the main free-agent starters are Robbie Ray, Max Scherzer and Marcus Stroman.
STOP PRESS: I predicted the article would be out of date before you read it, but in fact, it became dated while I was still writing it.
This looks like great business for both Scherzer and the Mets. New GM, Billy Eppler is not hanging about in spending Steve Cohen’s money. Scherzer joins new signings Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha.
Before Mad Max rudely interrupted my flow, I was planning to transition from the Rangers signing of Jon Gray with something like… The hot Texas November continued with the Rangers snapping up Marcus Semien, the first of the five elite free-agent shortstops to sign.
With 45 home runs – which is more in a single season than Miguel Cabrera ever achieved – Semien was probably the most underrated hitter of 2021. He broke the 100 mark for both runs and RBI while offering up elite defensive metrics.
The seven-year, $175 million deal shows everyone that the Rangers mean business. And it will be fascinating to see how the mega-deal secured by a 31-year-old will impact the contract needed to get the 20-something shortstops to sign.
Marlins fans had their sights on a splash to acquire Nick Castellanos or possibly a reunion with Starling Marte, but instead, they will see Avisaíl García in south Florida after he agreed a four year, $53 million deal. In his 30 starts from 8 July, García posted 1.046 OPS with the Brewers. On his day, he is one of the top-20 hitters in the game.
This looks like yet another shrewd move by the Marlins, and I’m sure won’t be their last.
TOP 10 REMAINING FREE AGENTS (and predicted contracts)
- Carlos Correa (Ten years, $345 million)
- Corey Seager (Ten years, $330 million)
- Kris Bryant (Seven years, $190 million)
- Freddie Freeman (Six years, $180 million)
- Robbie Ray (Five years, $132 million)
- Nick Castellanos (Five years, $125 million)
- Trevor Story (Six years, $120 million)
- Marcus Stroman (Five years, $120 million)
- Javier Baez (Five years, $105 million)
- Kyle Schwarber (Four years, $76 million)
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