Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: December 11, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

What a difference a year makes when it come to the baseball free agent market.

Last off season everything was Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. When will they sign, who will they sign with and how much will they sign for. This went on and on and on all through the off season. Machado and Harper dominated all of the off season of the off season news and it was the lead story on every show that discuss baseball. It was a gigantic dog and pony show, but we waited and waited to see who they’d sign with. When the winter meetings came around last year there was a lot of talk that this would be the time that something would get done and there would be something to report. Well as you know they where way, way off on that. In the end Machado signed with the San Diego Padres on February 21st while Harper didn’t sign with the Philadelphia Phillies until March 2nd.

Headed into this off season the two big free agents where pitchers, Steven Strasburg and Gerrit Cole. Just like last season there was a lot of talks about which teams would be in on trying to sign them and just how much either would end up getting. It seems as though everybody was getting ready to settle in for the long haul like last season. Well surprise it didn’t take that long.

On December 9th Strasburg officially re-signed with the Washington Nationals. Strasburg got a 7-year deal worth $245,000 million dollars. Strasburg’s salary is $35 million dollars a season, but there is some deferred money in his contract; so he’ll actually make $23,571,482 million dollars a season. There’s a total of $80 million dollars in deferred money in Strasburg’s contract which will be paid out from 2027 to 2029. The contract has a full no-trade clause, along with bonuses for winning the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove set at $100,000 each. There’s also a $100,000 for making the All-Star team. As far as Cy Young and MVP Strasburg will receive $500,000 for winning either award, $250,000 for finishing 2nd, $150,000 for finishing 3rd, $100,000 for finishing 4th and $75,000 for finishing 5th.

With Strasburg off of the board that left Cole out there as the top pitcher. Remember Zach Wheeler has already signed with the Philadelphia Phillies; so two of the top three rated free agent pitcher had been signed.

Well it didn’t take all that long for Cole to find a new team. Yesterday Cole agreed to a record setting 9-year $324 million dollar deal with the New York Yankees. This is the largest deal ever for a pitcher and the second best payday in the history of free agency. Since the deal was just agreed to there aren’t a lot of details available on it just yet. We do know that Cole will be paid $36 million dollars a season.

I have to tell you I always get a good laugh when I hear some expert on television start saying that so and so is going to sign with this team because it’s close to where he grew up. Well both Strasburg and Cole grew up in California. Strasburg was born in San Diego California and went to college at San Diego State Cole was born in Newport Beach California and went to college at the University of California. Most of the experts had Cole going back out west to either the Los Angeles Angels or the Los Angeles Dodgers with the possibility that the San Diego Padres could be an option. I believe that most of those same experts thought Washington was the front runner to bring Strasburg back, but there where a few that thought he’d land in San Diego with the Padres. You can throw Wheeler into this mix as well as the experts had him headed to Atlanta because he was born in Smyrna Georgia.

Now I’m sure there are some players out there who’d like to play closer to where they grew up, but it’s no where close to as many as they talked about this off season. In not sure why they didn’t factor winning into the equation more that where someone grew up, played high school or college baseball at. Maybe they’ll be smarter looking at the free agent market next off season.

With Strasburg, Cole and Wheeler off of the free agent market it looks like Madison Bumgarner is the top free agent pitcher now. There have been some reports that the Dodgers have shifted their focus to signing Bumgarner. There is also a rumor that the Chicago White Sox have interest in him.

After Bumgarner is signed it appears that teams will look at Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu to strengthen their starting rotations.

While the starting pitchers are finding big money and new teams in some cases the free agent market for the top position players hasn’t real heated up yet.

Anthony Rendon is considered the top position player on the free agent market and he’s been linked to quite a few teams. I did find it interesting that the Angels sent Zack Cozart to the San Francisco Giants in a trade yesterday. That opens up a spot at 3rd base for the Angels and you have to think that they’ll take a serious run at Rendon or possibly Josh Donaldson to fill to spot.

Most teams like the Angels seem to be focusing on Rendon, but once he signs look for those teams to quickly switch their focus to getting Donaldson. After that there seems to be a lot of interest in Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have said that they’re open to trading a star player and with a Rookie of the Year and MVP award on his resume Bryant fits that profile. Reports are the Phillies have kicked the tires on a deal for Bryant.

The problem right now in trading for Bryant is teams don’t know how long he’ll be under their control. Bryant currently has a grievance against the Cubs and Major League Baseball about his service time. If you remember Bryant like a lot of top young players in today’s game was kept at Triple-A for enough time to push his arbitration clock back a season. So it’s unknown right now if Bryant has one or two years left of arbitration. Teams may wait for that to be cleared up before they make a trade for him.

I’m happy to see the free agent market moving like it is and I hope it keeps going.

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