MLB freelance winners and losers: Which teams were productive before the baseball league was locked down?

Just after midnight on Thursday, MLB owners have locked the players. Baseball’s 9th shutdown means hot stove operations will stop. The lockdown has led to very – very – busy few days though, especially in free agency. Currently, 25 of the top 50 freelancers have signed on, including five of the top eight.

With that in mind, let’s declare some winners and losers for the pre-lock free rush, shall we?


NS Mets. Steve Cohen’s team completely turned their season back on in a 72-hour period or so. The conversation a few weeks ago revolved around their inability to get qualified candidates to interview for their job as president of baseball operations. Now we are all talking about an added huge spending free agent Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, and Starling Marte into formation and pairing Jacob deGrom with Max Scherzer. The Mets are far from finished (they still need the help of a bullpen and a deep-rooted starter), although over the past few days they have clearly been the winners.

Max Scherzer. Three years and 130 million dollars. That’s the contract. With $43.3 million, Scherzer wiped out By Gerrit Cole A record average annual value of $36 million (among all players, not just pitchers), and remember Scherzer was a senior board member in MLB Players Association. He just passed the paycheck on to the others. It was a victory for the union and certainly a point of pride for Scherzer. Bottom line, sign a deal that pays you $130 million over three years and you’re a winner.

NS Rangers. Are they good enough to do post-season in 2022? Perhaps not with that pitcher, but Rangers took steps – big steps – to improve. They overhauled their midfield with Marcus Semien and Corey Seagerand more talent Jon Gray to the rotation. Texas has a recent track record of helping veteran pitchers level up (Kyle Gibson, Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, etc) and I’m curious to see what they do with Grey. Why sign Semien and Seager now when you’re not ready to compete? Because they won’t be available next year, that’s why. Rangers have lost 102 games in 2021 and haven’t reached post-season since 2016. It was time to stop pushing and start taking those steps over the weekend.

Robbie Ray: A year ago, Ray led the walking baseball team (45 in 51 2/3 innings!) and had an ERA of 6.62, while also having to settle on a one-year $8 million contract to “prove yourself” . Prove to yourself that he did. Ray won the AL Cy Young award this season despite calling three different ballparks home and pitching in a division with three other teams claiming 90 wins, and he was rewarded with a five-year contract. worth 115 million dollars with descendants Mariners. Here also say hello to Semien. Like Ray, he signed a one-year “prove yourself” contract with Blue jay, had a successful season and cashed in on a hefty contract. If these two are not winners, I don’t know who is.

Fan. Speaking as a fan, these past few days have been the most exciting, most energetic time for free agency in quite a while. There is a notable signing of seemingly hourly signings, and much of the spending is done by teams that have missed out on the 2021 post-season (Mariners, Mets, Rangers, etc.). Those are not the usual doubts buying all the top players. It’s the teams that try to overcome obstacles and be more competitive. I think the annual free agency contract term would be a terrible idea in general, but the artificial deadlines due to the soon expiring collective bargaining agreement are made in a few fun days on the kitchen oven.


NS Dodgers. Monday was a very bad day for the Dodgers. Seager signs with Rangers, Scherzer signs with Mets, and oh, by the way Max Muncy revealed that he had a torn elbow ligament that didn’t heal as quickly as he hoped. A triple bad news. The good news is that the Dodgers are still very, very good and have plenty of time to upgrade their roster before spring training. The bad news is that they just lost their best hitter and pitcher, and one of their top remaining players has a questionable elbow. Definitely a tough few days for Los Angeles.

NS Yankees. Is anyone sober in the Bronx? With all due respect to perfect Joely Rodríguez, the Yankees did not add to their roster this season. They have no shortfalls, no No 2 player, and there are questions in the catcher and in the midfield. However, the Yankees sat on the sidelines and not only watched most of the top free agents off the table, but also watched the Mets competitor take up most of the headlines. A phone call and Carlos Correa was a Yankee and their season started to look a lot better, but right now, woof woof. New York’s offseason has been indifferent, bordering on sloppiness.

Other teams were sidelined. Look at you Astros, Giant, Red Sox, and White Sox. All of these teams are contenders, and they haven’t done much more than make minor additions (Houston signed Hector Neris, the giant added Alex Cobb, etc) while the freelance market remains as vibrant as we’ve seen it. Other clubs also deserve to be named here (what are you doing, Phillies?), but competitive teams should be held to a higher standard. At best, those clubs have maintained the status quo. In some cases, they have gotten worse. MLB freelance winners and losers: Which teams were productive before the baseball league was locked down?


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