An MLB Offseason Like No Other: A Potential Lockout Looming

As of 11/30: As the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) between the MLB players and team owners expires at 11:59 PM on December 1st, a potential lockout is right around the corner if another CBA is not agreed upon before then. With this could come a halt of offseason moves –including trades, free agent signings, etc.– and a possible delay of the 2022 season. 

Negotiations between both sides are ongoing as of 11/30, but it is looking like there will be some sort of work stoppage, which would be the first since the players’ strike of 1994-1995. However, this lockout that is looming has not stopped the flurry of moves that trades and the free agent market have made so far. 

The day after the Braves  World Series victory, the first offseason move was made, that being the Cincinnati Reds trading catcher Tucker Barnhart to the Detroit Tigers. A week later, free agent Andrew Heaney who was acquired by the Yankees from the Los Angeles Angels at the trade deadline, signed a one-year, $8.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. See ya, Hean-dog! 

The next week, the first big free agent in Eduardo Rodriguez from the Boston Red Sox signed a five year, $77 million contract with the Detroit Tigers who have made their second big move as they are looking to improve their young and talented roster for the 2022 season. A second big pitching name who signed was Noah Syndergaard from the New York Mets, who signed a one year, $21 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Syndergaard, who’s thrown only 2 innings within the last two seasons, is looking to bring back a winning sense in LA behind their star players, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. 

A third big name pitcher, Justin Verlander, who underwent Tommy John surgery a little over a year ago has agreed on a deal with the Houston Astros. Verlander, who is turning 39 in February, signed a two year, $55 million contract with an opt out after 2022. With this being said, it is a big risk for the Astros paying him this money for a guy who is nearing an end to his career. He may not pitch the same as he did in his 34-36 year old seasons with the Astros especially after Tommy John, however he would still be the ace of their rotation. 

From November 22-27, pitchers Anthony DeSclafani resigned with the San Francisco Giants (three years, $36 million);Kendall Graveman from the Seattle Mariners signed a three year, $24 million contract with the Chicago White Sox; Steven Matz from the Toronto Blue Jays signed a four year, $44 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals; and Michael Wacha from the Tampa Bay Rays signed a one year, $7 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. 

On Black Friday, within a span of hours, the New York Mets signed outfielder, Starling Marte from the Oakland Athletics (four years, $78 million), outfielder Mark Canha from the Oakland Athletics (two years, $26.5 million) and infielder Eduardo Escobar from the Milwaukee Brewers (two years, $20 million). With these moves, the Mets clearly had a Black Friday shopping spree, remade their 2022 lineup and are looking to spend lots of money the rest of the offseason.  

Another team who is going big are the Seattle Mariners. They traded for Adam Frazier from the San Diego Padres for two minor league pitchers. Plus, they signed the 2021 American League Cy Young Award winner, Robbie Ray from the Toronto Blue Jays to a five year, $115 million contract. With the Mariners still looking for more options at third, options for them include Kris Bryant and Trevor Story, it is clear from their perspective they are making a push to the postseason which they almost had in the 2021 season. 

While the Blue Jays lost a key piece in Robbie Ray from their starting rotation, they added another one right back. They signed Kevin Gausman from the San Francisco Giants to a five year, $110 million contract. He will join starters Hyun Jin Ryu, Alek Manoah and the recently extended Jose Berrios in Toronto’s starting rotation. 

Yet another team who spent big money are the Texas Rangers who are going through a rebuild this offseason. They signed infielder Marcus Semien from the Toronto Blue Jays (seven years, $175 million); outfielder Kole Calhoun from the Arizona Diamondbacks (one year, $5.2 million); starting pitcher Jon Gray from the Colorado Rockies (four years, $56 million), and the biggest signing of the free agency so far; infielder Corey Seager (10 years, $325 million). 

Perhaps the second biggest move this offseason so far is Max Scherzer’s signing from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the New York Mets for $130 million over three years. Congrats to the Mets as they have the best 1-2 punch for their starting rotation with Jacob deGrom and now Max Scherzer. With Scherzer’s contract, he has passed Gerrit Cole in his annual salary which is $43.3 million a year. Even though Scherzer is 38, he has barely shown signs of decline with 2021 being one of his best seasons of his career between his time with the Washington Nationals and the Dodgers. 

Most recently, the signing of Javier Baez with the Tigers. His contract is for six years and worth $140 million. It wasn’t surprising that Detroit was going to go all out for a shortstop this winter, they had their eye on free agent Carlos Corra for a while but eventually settled with Javier Baez who came from the New York Mets. This is a huge upgrade for Detroit and their upcoming team filled with a roster of young players. 

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