HELLO Ball Boys and Ball Girls. It's time for Tasty Talk.
Recently, Twenty-seven years of labor peace have ended for MLB. Meaning we have a long cold winter ahead of us. Nearly $1.7 billion was committed to free agents during November, smashing the prior record by 4x. Meaning, it's time for us to play "Justify the Contact."
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Now, let's jump into Justify that Contact for the SP signed pre-lockout. We will ignore recency bias as most MLB teams don't but look at a few metrics: Age, career WAR, career ERA/FIP, career W-L%, career 162 game average IP.
-Michael Wacha 1yr/$8mil- Bos
The former first-round pick of the Cardinals has suffered injury upon injury over the last four seasons, which has led him to bounce between 1-year deals in the AL East. At 30yo, a career 6.8WAR, with a 4.14ERA/4.07FIP, a career .568W-L% to go with a healthy season average of 182IP. The Redsox might luck into a solid #3. I'm going to Justify the Contract.
-Corey Kluber 1yr/$8mil- TB
The 10yr, 2x Cy Young, 3x All-Star finds himself on another 1 yr prove deal. At 35yo the asking price isn't too steep. I will say this is a solid deal after barely pitching for two seasons and making 16starts. We know the track record; Tampa is excellent for these deals. I am all for it. JUSTIFIED!
-Michael Lorenzen 1yr/$7mil- LAA
The fire burns HOT with Lorenzen and has been for his entire career. I love this deal because if any of these 1yr deals turn into the true proved it contract extension; it's this one. $7mil paid by the Angels to a guy who is out to prove EVERYONE wrong that he can be an SP. The Angels already have one excellent two-way player, and maybe Lorenzen takes a page from his book and learns. For those reasons alone, JUSTIFIED!
-Jordan Lyles 1yr/$7mil- Bal
I don't get it. $7mil for a guy with a career -2.5WAR, coming off a season where he posted a 5.15ERA in 32 appearances. The health was there, excellent. No one wants to play in Baltimore, so they are taking a flier on the 30yo with a career .406W-L% and 5.21ERA/4.72FIP. NOT JUSTIFIED!
-James Paxton 1yr/$6mil- Bos
Coming off another injury, big maple's reunion in Seattle did not go as planned. The now 33yo is just looking to keep the dream alive. A solid career 12.8WAR says he has done it and can be a winner. Paxton hasn't pitched in two seasons nearly, and at 33, the outlook isn't promising. The career .633W-L%, 3.59ERA/3.31FIP is all there for Paxton. The deal is a STEAL for the RedSox if he can get on the mound for 25+ starts. Also, counting in that he played for the Yankees and has experience with the AL East.
-Rich Hill 1yr/$5mil- Bos
Seventeen seasons, 41yo, and still making money and getting it done. He still made 30+ starts in 2021 at 40yo. I am a fan of the move here to Boston. The career .587W-L%, 3.80ERA/3.99FIP, and stability of 150IP in a season is all Boston needs from Hill to eat innings and take the Hill. Justified!
-Dylan Bundy 1yr/$4mil- Min
Yes another team, that not many guys want to play for because of the recent track record. Bundy is taking a prove-it deal to prove that the health is back and that he can make it through a season at 29yo. Through seven seasons, he owns a .447W-L%, 4.72ERA/4.69FIP, and 178IP if he can remain healthy. It should be enough for the contract, but they could have done better. NOT JUSTIFIED.
-Jose Quintana 1yr/$2mil- Pit
At 32, this is a desperate move that he hopes he gets a rotation role. That leads him to hope to prove enough value to land him on a contender—the career 23.7WAR is the best on this list. Quintana proved he can stay healthy in 2021 and still play. The Pirates needed a veteran in the rotation, and Quintana average 196IP in a season with a .509W-L% and 3.84ERA/3.68FIP. I think this will be a sneaky good move that lands Quintana on a contender at the deadline. JUSTIFIED!
Still Available worth noting:
Tyler Anderson, Matthew Boyd, Trevor Cahill, Zach Davies, Danny Duffy, Mike Fiers, Mike Foltynewicz, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Yusei Kikuchi, Kwang-Hyun Kim, Wade LeBlanc, Michael Pineda, Carlos Rodon, Drew Smyly, Hyeon-Jong Yang.
Brett Anderson, Chris Archer, Jake Arrieta, Johnny Cueto, JA Happ, Matt Harvey, Jakob Junis, John Lester, Martin Perez, Vince Velasquez.
Thanks for reading!