Panic and urgency consume Thanksgiving weekend when it comes to Major League Baseball
As lockout threatens Major League Baseball, current collective agreement set to expire at 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 1st, the flurry of activity over Thanksgiving weekend was a combination of panic and urgency. The New York Mets’ $ 124.5 million spending madness on three ballers set a very different tone from the start of the week when free agent pitcher Steven Matz changed his mind at the last minute when it came to a return to Flushing. He decided to sign a four-year, $ 44 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Mets owner Steve Cohen was furious at the way Matz’s agent Rob Martin had handled the case. However, Cohen is still a big winner as Starling Marte will patrol the central Mets field on a four-year, $ 78 million contract.
The Seattle Mariners weren’t tired of the tryptophan and acquired All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier in a trade with the San Diego Padres. Even the Tampa Bay Rays stepped into the action by signing two-time AHL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to a one-year, $ 8 million contract according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman. Also, let’s not forget that the Rays have finalized shortstop Wander Franco’s 11-year, $ 182 million contract extension. The Miami Marlins have officially entered the free agent frenzy according to Craig Mish and Jeff Passan as they agree to a four-year, $ 53 million contract with outfielder Avisail Garcia.
Free agent shortstops continue to grab the headlines. Robert Murray and Jeff Passan were the first to report that the Texas Rangers signed a seven-year, $ 175 million contract with Marcus Semien. After settling for a one-year, $ 18 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays last season, Semien is finally securing a long-term contract thanks to an assist from his new agent, Scott Boras. Rumors are circulating around Javier Baez and possible contract negotiations with the Detroit Tigers. Even after an expensive weekend, there is still hope that Baez will bring any offer he receives to the Mets to see if it is equal or surpassed in length and value.
The Minnesota Twins have made it clear what they think about center fielder Byron Buxton. According to Ken Rosenthal, Jon Paul Morosi and Mark Feinsand, the Twins have agreed to a seven-year, $ 100 million contract for Buxton, which includes a $ 1 million signing bonus as well as performance bonuses associated with earning the MVP award and home plate appearances. . Buxton’s long injury history is well known as it is a bold and risky move for the Twins.
There is no shortage of prominent starting free agent launchers in the market at different points in their careers. Robbie Ray and Kevin Gausman will likely order nine-figure contracts. Ray has just completed a one-year, $ 8 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as a bonus of $ 150,000 for winning the Cy Young Award of the American League according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. He is the last starting pitcher to reject a qualifying offer and remains a free agent. Under the expiring collective agreement, the Blue Jays will receive compensation in the form of a draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B in next year’s draft if Ray signs with another ball club.
Half a dozen baseball clubs are rumored to be actively pursuing Gausman as he is on the verge of making a final decision. Last offseason, he accepted a one-year, $ 18.9 million qualifying offer from the San Francisco Giants. Gausman bet on himself and has had a career season. In 33 starts, he struck out 227 batters in 192 innings while forming his first all-star team.
Max Scherzer stands out among the free agent starting pitchers. The age-defying right-hander still exudes dominance with a streak of nastiness that separates him from nearly every pitching player in the game. During his season at the age of 36, Scherzer made 30 starts for the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers while striking out 236 batters in 179.1 innings. He led Major League Baseball with a tiny 0.864 walks and hits per inning pitched (WHIP) while posting a 2.46 earned-run average (ERA) according to Baseball-Reference. Three-time winner of the Cy Young Award, Scherzer became the 19e member of the illustrious 3,000 strikeout club last September.
Scherzer just completed a seven-year, $ 210 million contract, which is considered one of the best independent agent contract signings in recent memory. It was also one of the most complex in terms of structure. In Scherzer’s 30- to 36-year-old seasons, he started 200 regular season baseball games while striking out 1,699 batters in 1,297.1 innings. In addition to winning a world championship with the Nationals in 2019, Scherzer has won two National League Cy Young Awards and finished in the top five in votes in six of the past seven seasons.
Scherzer’s free agency could eventually end before the expiration of the current collective agreement. Four baseball clubs are rumored to be legitimate contenders for his services: Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and San Francisco Giants. The Mets will likely have a hard time securing Scherzer’s services as there is a rumor that he prefers to play for a West Coast baseball club. There are also three other factors that Scherzer is considering as well: a multi-year contract, playing for a championship-caliber ball club, and an average annual value of $ 35 million.
There have only been 10 pitchers to win three Cy Young Awards. Scherzer not only accomplished this feat, but he is also one of six pitchers to win the prestigious award in both leagues. It’s also worth noting that seven pitchers won a Cy Young Award after their 36-year season. Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens have both accomplished this remarkable feat on two separate occasions. Clemens is the oldest Cy Young Award winner during his season at 41 with the Houston Astros in 2004.
The aggressiveness of the baseball clubs over Thanksgiving weekend was an adrenaline rush for Major League Baseball and its fans. Whether it’s a panic or an emergency, expect more high-profile deals to be made before a potential foreclosure temporarily ends the “Hot Stove” season. Don’t be surprised if starting pitchers Kevin Gausman and Max Scherzer wrap up their brief period of free will in hours instead of days.
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