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Major League Baseball’s first work stoppage since 1994-1995 was made official on Thursday, as the collective bargaining agreement expired on Wednesday night. Owners voted unanimously to impose a lockout in order to pressure players to forgo some rights and benefits; as a result, all transactions, trades, and signings have been locked out until a new agreement can be reached. No contact of any kind between teams and players will take place for the time being; in addition, likenesses of active players have been scrubbed from MLB.com, as well as the stories written about them.
Coming down to the wire was a common theme this week; a flurry of transactions took place leading up to the expiration of the CBA. Though minor league transactions may continue as usual, we may be subjected to weeks, perhaps months of negotiations before major league transactions resume. Including a handful of buzzer beaters made on Wednesday night, here’s a recap of some of the notable moves made this past week.
Corey Seager inked to a monster deal by Texas
The Rangers have been the ballclub to open their pocketbooks in order to make a competitive push, including Seager’s 10-year, $325 million contract. The 27-year-old former Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star will certainly have the next decade to solidify his star status over the next decade. He slashed a robust .306/.394/.521 for the Dodgers in 2021, with 16 home runs, 22 doubles and 57 RBI across 409 plate appearances.
Rangers fortify second base via Marcus Semien
The contracts are bigger and bolder in Texas - to the tune of seven years, and $175 million. The Rangers have now revamped their middle infield with Seager, and now Marcus Semien to cover second base. Semien was a highly coveted free agent, and gets his payday in Texas after a wildly successful 2021 with the Toronto Blue Jays. He touted a .873 OPS with 45 home runs, 102 RBI, 15 stolen bases, and 115 runs scored over 724 plate appearances, in 162 games.
Dodgers bring back utility man Chris Taylor
With Corey Seager’s departure, Chris Taylor will have an opportunity to emerge in a crucial role for the Dodgers. Taylor’s four-year, $60 million contract also includes a fifth-year option, bringing it to a possible $73 million. The first-time 2021 All-Star slashed a robust .254/.344/.438 last season, including 92 runs scored, 20 round trippers, 25 doubles, 73 RBI and 13 stolen bases across 582 plate appearances.
Brewers trade Jackie Bradley Jr. to the Red Sox for Hunter Renfroe
Renfroe should do very well in Milwaukee - the 29-year-old outfielder had a 31 homer season, across 572 plate appearances with the Red Sox, and will be a much-needed power bat in the Brewers lineup. On the flip side of the deal, Jackie Bradley Jr. is a fantastic defender, but is coming off a rather horrendous season at the plate - he slashed .163/.236/.261 with 39 runs scored, six home runs, 29 RBI and seven stolen bases across 428 plate appearances last season.
The Stro Show arrives in Chicago - Cubs sign Marcus Stroman
Stroman’s three-year, $71 million contract contains an opt-out after the 2023 season and $2 million bumps for 160 innings in 2022 and 2023. The 30-year-old was one of the top remaining free agent starting pitchers, and racked up an impressive 3.02 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 158/44 K/BB ratio across 179 innings in 33 starts with the Mets last season. He’ll wear number 0, the first player in Cubs franchise history to do so.
More Roar: Tigers sign Javier Báez
Baez’s six-year, $140 million contract includes an opt-out after two seasons and a partial no-trade clause. At Comerica Park, Baez has a career .382/.405/.676 triple-slash line with 3 home runs (13-for-34). The 28-year-old hit .265/.319/.494 with 31 home runs and 18 stolen bases across 547 plate appearances between the Mets and Cubs last season.
Extended: Byron Buxton sticks around the Twin Cities
The Twins locked up Buxton to a $100 million extension, as he was set to hit free agency in 2023. When healthy, Buxton is absolutely unstoppable; last year, he posted a .306/.358/.647 line with 19 home runs, 32 RBI, nine stolen bases, and 50 runs scored in 254 plate appearances over 61 games. If he remains healthy, the 28-year-old could certainly emerge as a superstar for Minnesota. The deal also includes a no-trade clause.
Max to the Mets, Mets to the Max: Scherzer to New York
The three-year, $130 million contract carries a record $43.33 million average annual salary, and an opt-out after the second season. The veteran right-hander and three-time Cy Young award winner was traded mid-season from the Nationals to the Dodgers, and pitched a robust 2.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 236/36 K/BB ratio in 179 1/3 innings over 30 starts in 2021, between the two ball clubs.
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Robbie goes West: Mariners ink Ray
Ray nabbed a five-year, $115 million contract after winning the 2021 American League Cy Young Award. His numbers were proof in the pudding: he earned a dominating 2.84 ERA, 1.045 WHIP, and 248/52 K/BB ratio in 193 1/3 innings over 32 starts with the Blue Jays. The 30-year-old should settle in nicely as Seattle’s new ace pitcher.
Kevin goes East: Blue Jays acquire Gausman
Gausman will help fill the void left by the departing Robbie Ray. The 30-year-old right-hander finished sixth in the 2021 National League Cy Young Award balloting after notching 227 strikeouts and a 2.81 ERA in 192 innings pitched over 33 starts for the Giants. Gausman joins a juggernaut of a Blue Jays rotation, alongside Jose Berrios, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Manoah. Gausman’s deal is for five years, and $110 million.
Wander Stays Put: Rays sign Franco to an 11-year, $182 million contract extension
Franco had many wonderful accomplishments in 2021, including a historic 43-game on-base streak from July 25 through September 29. Franco’s massive multi-year extension is the largest contract in Tampa Bay’s 24-year franchise history, and the largest in major league history for a player with less than a year of service time. The 20-year-old superstar is set up for a repeat campaign after slashing .288/.347/.463 including seven homers and two steals across 308 plate appearances. The contract is good through the 2032 season with a club option for 2033, and is worth a maximum of $223 million, with incentives.
Diamondbacks signed RHP Keynan Middleton to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. … Jon Heyman of MLB Network notes that the paperwork for free agent right-hander Nick Martínez's reported four-year, $20 million deal with the Padres did not get filed before the lockout began Wednesday at midnight. … White Sox signed RHP Yacksel Ríos to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. … Lewis Brinson has elected free agency after being designated for assignment by the Marlins. … Diamondbacks re-signed INF Jake Hager to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. … Reds signed C/INF Andrew Knapp to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. … A last minute deal made right at the buzzer: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Orioles and free agent right-hander Jordan Lyles have agreed to a one-year, $7 million contract. … Diamondbacks signed INF Jeison Guzman to a minor league contract.