In case you missed it yesterday, the New York Mets signing Todd Frazier to a two-year/$17M deal, and I have to say … I am at least relieved. I had feared that, behind the scenes, there may have been a total and complete breakdown in discussions between players and teams given all of the unrest, and signings were going to stop entirely. But that’s clearly not the case.
- This deal still presents some problems, though, as Frazier is getting a whole lot less than he was projected before the offseason began:
Todd Frazier salary breakdown with #Mets, per source: $8M in 2018, $9M in 2019.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 6, 2018
- As you can see he’s getting just $8.5M in AAV over the next two years, but was expected to get between $10-12 million per year over the next *three to four* years. Presumably, then, on a two-year deal he should’ve (or would’ve in other years) gotten something like $14-$16M per season if the projections were right. He got barely half of that. If you were looking for the first really clear signal of a depressed market, this is it.
- Elsewhere, the Texas Rangers signed former Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh to a one-year $2.75M deal with a $250K buyout/$4.5M club option for the 2019 season. Fortunately, this deal doesn’t strike me as too far off (especially if that option is picked up), because Oh, 35, is not only getting up there in age, but was also pretty bad last season (after previously being VERY good in 2016). In his second Major League season, Oh raised a 1.92 ERA and 2.13 FIP (2016) to a 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP. His strikeout rate dropped 12.4 percentage points and his fly ball rate skyrocketed. Frankly, he was pretty bad, but the Rangers are probably betting they can change something and turn him back into a valuable bullpen piece.
- There weren’t many rumors connecting Oh back to the Cardinals, but that was at least a possibility as they continue to look for bullpen help. Alex Reyes might join the pen at some point this season, but I still wouldn’t take someone like Greg Holland off the table for the Cardinals, especially since it’s looking like he’s going to get a very small contract at this point (and is attached to draft pick compensation).
- At FanGraphs, Travis Sawchik writes that this is the slowest offseason ever (gasp!). Last season, 65 players signed in February, which was the greatest number since 2009, but this February has a chance to blow that out of the water … unless the signings actually happen in March. In any case, as you can imagine (and then visualize with a useful graph in the post), the 2017-18 offseason is the slowest by offseason signing percentage of all time.
- In a broader discussion of this winter’s labor strife at The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal drops an interesting bit of knowledge, “As I’ve written previously, the players have only themselves to blame for signing off on a collective bargaining agreement that enabled the owners to clamp down on free agency – not so much on players such as Yu Darvish and Eric Hosmer, who will get deals close to or at market value, but on those like Logan Morrison and Jon Jay of the middle class ….” Rosenthal’s overall point is well-taken and you should read his whole piece, but did you catch the little salient bit in there? Darvish is still expected to get a deal close to market value, which is not necessarily widely considered a lock given that there’s only been one big market team in on his sweepstakes (the Cubs), and they’ve reportedly been holding at four years. So is this suggesting that the Cubs already have and/or will up there offer to something closer to 5-6 years and $25M (“market value”)? I’m not sure, but I’d keep that in mind as we approach what should hopefully be a conclusion. This week, right? Sure, totally. Definitely. Mmm hmm.
- For what it’s worth, Jerry Crasnick (ESPN) says that all four of J.D. Martinez, Jake Arrieta, Hosmer, and Darvish are still free agents because “the gap between their expectations and the money that clubs are willing to spend is so pronounced.” In other words, the Frazier deal is probably not an outlier at this moment. But in case you’re wondering, many of those guys, unlike Frazier, might be more than willing to remain free agents well into the spring, because the rumored “Free Agent Spring Training” idea is apparently still on the board (heck, even if things started shaking loose today, there’d STILL be a ton of free agents unsigned by the time pitchers and catchers report in a week). I really have no idea where this is going.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore recently discussed the possibility of re-signing both Eric Hosmer (who’s been a focus for them all winter) and Mike Moustakas in an interview with Soren Petro of 810 AM The Program, but adds that Hosmer remains the priority: “We have options at third. I wouldn’t say absolutely not [to Moustakas]. We want to make it clear that Hos is the player that fits us for the future. I want to get through the Hosmer negotiations before we work on Moustakas. … Moustakas had some expectations that were a little different, places he wanted to play.” For what it’s worth, the Royals are thought to have the largest offer on the table for Hosmer, even larger than the 7-year, $140+ million deal the Padres have put out there, and Moore seems to believe there’s still a strong chance he can get him.
- Moustakas, meanwhile, could still make sense for the Cardinals, though their remaining intentions in the free agent market are either nonexistent or have been severely downplayed in the last several weeks. And now that the Mets have signed Frazier, Moustakas will not likely be heading to New York … unless he winds up with the Yankees on a sweetheart deal.