Welcome to ‘Marty’s Musings’, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the happenings in the baseball world. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the news and notes throughout the game, and highlighting this week’s key pitching matchups.
Where to begin...last week several of the top free agents came off the board as both Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole signed mega-deals. The Indians traded Corey Kluber, much to the chagrin of Indians fans everywhere, and Madison Bumgarner found a new home in the NL West.
News & Notes
245 - Million dollar resigning deal that the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg agreed to early last week. The $35 average annual value deal (with some money deferred) broke both David Price and Zach Greinke’s records for total money and yearly average money, and made news around baseball. Last week I wrote about the rarity of the ‘Franchise Player’ and how this type of deal is good for all parties involved, especially the fans.
9 - Year, $324 million contract that Gerrit Cole and the Yankees agreed, just days after Strasburg inked his long-term deal. Cole is coming off an amazing year, in which he K’d 326 batters, leading the AL in both ERA and FIP. He then threw 36 ⅔ masterful innings in the playoffs. While Strasburg’s contract set the pitching record in terms of total contract value and average annual value, Cole blew past those numbers just days later.
19.9 - Total fWAR over the last three seasons for newly-minted Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon. Rendon signed a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Angels, and will complement Mike Trout’s firepower in an offense that was league-average last season (99 wRC+). The Angles need more pitching to really be considered competitive going into 2020, but landing one of the top-five players in the game is a heck of a way to kickoff the offseason.
30 - Year old Madison Bumgarner agreed to a five-year $85 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday evening. With Cole and Strasburg landing deals, Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu were the top remaining starting pitchers. Bumgarner is coming off a year in which he had the highest ERA of his career at 3.90, but his durability and excellent strikeout to walk rate had the Diamondbacks thinking he’d be a strong fit to their rotation.
9 - Years in an Indians uniform for Corey Kluber, whom Cleveland traded to the Rangers (pending a physical) this past weekend. A perennial Cy Young candidate while in Cleveland, the Indians seem to be tearing things down, while the Rangers try to stay relevant in the AL West. Kluber is owed $17.5 million 2020, with his 2021 club option converting to a vesting option that kick into effect if Kluber pitches 160 innings in 2020 and ends the season healthy.
2 - Regular season games MLB will play in Mexico City this upcoming April. In an attempt to broaden the global footprint of the game, the Padres and Diamondbacks will play two games on April 18th and 19th in Mexico City’s Alfredo Harp Hellú Stadium.
1 - Year deal that former Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. In Gregorius’ return from Tommy John surgery last year, he did not put up his usual offensive numbers; he slashed only .238/.276/.441 and hit 16 home runs in a season where seemingly everyone hit 20+. Gregarius hopes the $14 million deal reestablishes his value for a multiyear contract after the 2020 season.
2 - Starting pitchers signed to one-year contracts by the Mets last week. Michael Wacha and Rich Porcello inked one-year deals. Porcello is a former Cy Young winner coming off the worst season of his career in a forgettable Red Sox year. Last year Wacha was so bad the Cardinals demoted him to the bullpen at the end of the year. Even with all that said, one-year deals are rarely viewed as horrible, and the upside definitely outweighs the modest cost the Mets signed up for in this scenario. They committed $10 million to Porcello, and $3 million guaranteed, with seven more in incentives for Wacha.
76,000 - Emails and private messages reviewed by Major League Baseball in their investigation of the Astros sign-stealing. It’s a massive undertaking to get to the bottom of the news story that broke in November regarding Houston’s supposedly complex sign-stealing scheme at their home ballpark. We’ll see what ends up happening if (when) MLB confirms systemic cheating, but thank goodness we have all the above baseball news to occupy the water cooler talk in the meantime.
108 - Days until Opening Day.