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- The Tigers have announced a five-year contract with free agent left-hander Eduardo Rodríguez, reports Cody Stavenhagen of the Athletic of the Athletic. The 28-year old had a 4.16 ERA for the Red Sox last season, on top of a 3.32 FIP. That’s a far cry from his 2019 season, when he finished in sixth place in Cy Young voting and hurled a 3.81 ERA and 3.86 FIP over 203.1 innings. Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that the deal is between $77M and $80M. With his former (and very first) pitching coach Juan Nieves among the ranks in Detroit, we could just see the return of Rodriguez from 2019.
- The Giants have extended Gabe Kapler’s contract through 2024. It makes sense for the Giants to keep the party going with Kapler; he’s taken a team that with spares on talent in 2020 and transformed them into the most winning team in 2021 (107, to be exact). Kapler was also named a finalist for NL Manager of the Year, sharing the spotlight with competition Brewers skipper Craig Counsell, and former Cardinals manager Mike Shildt.
- Joakim Soria has long been a productive reliever for nine different organizations over the course of his 14 season career. While his heyday was with the Royals where he made a couple of All-Star teams, he remained a solid reliever throughout his career. Last night, Soria decided to call it a career.
- The free agent market was always going to move slowly this offseason with the specter of the CBA negotiations likely to keep most of the biggest signings on hold until teams know the rules they will be operating under. However, the Yankees DID make a move yesterday as they re-signed reliever Joely Rodriguez after declining his option just a few days ago.
- Blue Jays first baseman/DH Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper were named the winners of the 2021 Hank Aaron Awards on Tuesday night, earning the honors as the top offensive players in their respective leagues. Guerrero, the youngest Hank Aaron Award winner in MLB history, hit .311/.401/.601 with 48 homers and 111 RBI this season. Harper, who won in 2015 and is the 12th multi-time Hank Aaron Award winner in league history, hit .309/.429/.615 with 35 home runs, 84 RBI, and 13 steals.
- The Giants made history as they filled out their coaching staff for 2022 on Tuesday. Longtime bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu was promoted to major league assistant coach, making him the first coach in league history who was born and raised in Japan and is a native Japanese speaker.
- The Dodgers are taking a gamble on a starter who struggled significantly in 2021, signing lefty Andrew Heaney to a one-year, $8.5 million deal. Heaney posted a 5.83 ERA between the Angels and Yankees this past season, but with his high strikeout rate and spin rate, the Dodgers evidently think they can turn his career around.
- The Cardinals were quick to bring back one of the key contributors to their late-season turnaround, signing lefty reliever T.J. McFarland to a new one-year, $2.5 million deal on Monday. The 32-year-old McFarland posted a 2.56 ERA and induced a 63.7% ground-ball rate after joining the Cardinals in July.
- J.D. Martinez has opted into his final year of his deal with the Red Sox. He’ll earn $19.35M in his last year of the $110M contract. After a turbulent 2020, the All-Star bounced back with a slash line of .286/.349/.518 and 28 home runs, shaking off any previous indication of his age.
- The Braves have tendered a qualifying offer to Freddie Freeman, because honestly so help them if they didn’t.
- The Dodgers have issued a qualifying offer to Corey Seager. The 27-year old is expected to decline it.
- The Rockies have issued a qualifying offer to Trevor Story, to no one’s surprise. Story has been very public about not re-signing with Colorado, but the team will now at least get compensation when the next team comes in and swoops him up as a free agent.
- The White Sox have exercised Craig Kimbrel’s club option. That entitles Kimbrel to a $16M paycheck in 2022. Not bad.
- The Blue Jays have issued qualifying offers to Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray. Both players now have 10 days to accept or decline Toronto’s offer.
- The Mets extended qualifying offers to Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard, two of their top would-be free agents. If the players decide to get out of Queens, at least it will reward the Mets with a draft pick from whichever team tries to traverse the uncertain waters of former Mets players.
- The Astros have extended the contract of manager Dusty Baker.
- The Giants have declined Johnny Cueto’s club option of $22M for the 2022 season, instead buying him out at $5M and making him a free agent. Posting a 4.08 ERA through 22 games this past season, Cueto showed sparks of dominance at times, but he was ultimately toppled by an elbow injury in September.
- The Cleveland Guardians have exercised their option on José Ramírez, giving him a nice $12M paycheck for 2022 and the option of $14M for 2023. The three-time All-Star polished off this season with a .266/.355/.538 slash line, slamming 36 home runs, and stealing 27 bases. Talk about locking it down.
- The Cubs have claimed southpaw Wade Miley off of waivers from Reds. Cincinnati could have picked up the veteran’s option of $10M for 2022 and tried to trade him this winter, rather than sacrificing a quality player and not receiving any sort of return, but you do you.
- Charlie Blackmon has exercised his player option and will return to the Rockies in 2022, so praise be. The 35-year old will earn $21,333,333 next season with Colorado.
- Nick Castellanos has opted out of his deal with the Reds, thus hitting the free agent market to sow his wild oats. Going into the open market with a slash line of .309/.362/.576 and 34 homers, the 29-year-old should get a lucrative deal this winter.
- Buster Posey had a bit of a career resurgence in 2021 as he was one of the surprising Giants’ best offensive performers all season long. However, it has been long suspected that Posey has been considering retirement, and Posey confirmed those suspicions. Our personal guess is that Cooperstown awaits Posey and he has definitely earned a nice long rest.
- We also had our first trade of the offseason. While the CBA negotiations are likely to freeze the free agent and trade markets when it comes to major deals, the Tigers and Reds did get together on a more minor deal that sends catcher Tucker Barnhart to Detroit in exchange for MiLB third baseman Nick Quintana.
- To the surprise of absolutely no one, Trevor Bauer, who ended the season on administrative leave in the wake of domestic violence allegations, did not opt out of his contract with the Dodgers. Hard to think that any team would want to sign for a deal he would have been happy with given his current situation.
- Meanwhile, the Phillies made some expected roster moves to trim their budget a bit as they declined the club options for both Odubel Herrera and Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen is just not the impact bat he once was and Herrera’s production was inconsistent. More importantly, they were both owed real money if their options were picked up and the Phillies may need that cash to upgrade their roster if they have any real aspirations of competing in the NL East.
- Jackie Bradley Jr., who is a fantastic defensive outfielder but had a pretty brutal year at the plate in 2021, exercised his player option to stay with the Brewers for 2021.
- Jorge Soler hit a three-run moonshot, Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman also homered, Max Fried threw six shutout innings, and the Atlanta Braves blew out the Astros 7-0 to win their first World Series since 1995. It’s an incredible story for a club that lost a generational superstar, Ronald Acuña Jr., and its ace, Mike Soroka, to season-ending injuries, used seven different catchers, totally rebuilt its outfield at the trade deadline, and finished with an 88-73 record in the regular season.
- Astros pitching coach Brent Strom, who had been in Houston since 2013, announced following the final game of the World Series that he will not return to the club in 2022. Strom, who turned 73 last month, hasn’t decided whether he wants to continue coaching elsewhere.
- It’s rough in the Mets organization right now as they can’t seem to find, well, anyone that they like to actually work for their front office. Things got a tad more complicated on Monday as word came out that acting GM Zack Scott, who has been on administrative leave since he was arrested for driving under the influence, and the Mets are parting ways.
- This past weekend, the Mariners alerted Kyle Seager that they will not be exercising their $20M club option for the 2022 season, reports The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish. Instead, he’ll be hitting the free agent market with his $2M buyout. It’s reported that assistant GM Justin Hollander e-mailed Seager this news — a harsh way to say goodbye to a player that slashed .251/.321/.442 with 242 home runs over 11 seasons in Seattle.
- The San Diego Padres, in need of a new manager after the organization parted ways with Jayce Tingler, acted quickly to fill the vacancy. In a fairly shocking development, the Padres managed to snag Bob Melvin away from Oakland on a three year deal.
- Meanwhile, the Mets keep swinging and missing on candidates to run their organization, which is less than ideal. They may want to do so quickly, because they also don’t have a manager for next season.
- While the beginning of the World Series is an incredibly exciting time for baseball, this week brought a cold dose of reality. In a less than surprising development, it was reported that a work stoppage in Major League Baseball is very likely to begin on December 2, 2021 as the CBA negotiations are expected to be contentious.
- The Cardinals have hired Oliver Marmol, their bench coach for the last three seasons, as their new manager, The 35-year-old will become the youngest skipper in the major leagues.
- The New York Yankees have seemingly made a habit in recent seasons of performing well in the regular season, but being unable to finish the job in the postseason. While some Yankee fans wish that the organization would move on from manager Aaron Boone as a result, the organization does not feel the same way as they gave Boone an extension through at least 2024.
- Starting in the 2022 season, all 30 teams will now be required to provide housing to all minor league players, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan reports. Last month team owners held a vote on the subject that passed unanimously. The intricacies are still being worked out on if teams will be giving players stipends for housing or if they will provide it directly. Considering the conditions that an overwhelming amount of minor leaguers have been subject to, this is a welcome improvement to the quality of their lives.
- The Yankees fired a large chunk of their coaching staff. New York decided not to renew the contracts of third base coach Phil Nevin, hitting coach Marcus Thames, and assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere, reports Lindsey Adler of The Athletic. It’ll be interesting to see how Aaron Boone will cooperate with the new staff bestowed upon him.
- There were rumors swirling at the end of the season that the Padres were going to be making some pretty major changes to their coaching staff including at manager. Those rumors proved to be correct as the Padres relieved Jayce Tingler of his managerial duties, although it sounds like they would like to keep him in the organization in some capacity.
- New Rockies GM Bill Schmidt got down to business, signing first baseman C.J. Cron — whose 2021 campaign was the most productive by a Rockies first baseman since Todd Helton was in his prime — to a two-year, $14.5 million extension and right-handed starter Antonio Senzatela to a new five-year, $50.5 million deal with a $14 million club option for 2027. While these moves won’t necessarily make the Rockies better in 2022, they at least should help prevent them from taking a step backward this offseason like they’ve done over the last few years.
- The Nationals took on an interesting reclamation project back in July when they acquired infielder Alcides Escobar and gave him his first major league opportunity since 2018. They were impressed enough by the 34-year-old’s performance to bring him back into the fold for 2022.
- The rumored shake up of the Mets coaching staff got started in a hurry as the Mets relieved Luis Rojas of his position as manager. The Mets are simply declining his option for the 2022 season and it sounds like the organization is interested in him staying with them in another role.
- While we saw a unique situation with the All-Star Game moved out of Atlanta this season, generally the venue for the ASG is set well in advance and it stays that way. The league announced that Seattle will be be host of the 2023 All-Star Game.
- The Royals became the latest MLB organization to adopt a more modern front office structure, promoting longtime GM Dayton Moore to president of baseball operations while elevating assistant GM JJ Picollo to general manager. While Moore will still oversee day-to-day operations, this move will give Picollo, who has drawn interest from other clubs in recent offseasons, more authority and keeps him in Kansas City for the long term.
- While it was known that Yankees’ reliever Zack Britton had been dealing with elbow issues that were going to require surgery, there was some optimism that he could avoid major surgery and the subsequent recovery period up until recently. Unfortunately for Britton and the Yankees, he was unable to dodge that bullet as he underwent UCL reconstructive surgery that ended his 2021 season and will keep him out for most of 2022 as well.
- Given the team’s recent run of success with very limited payroll, a lot of teams have expressed interest in the availability of Rays’ VP and GM Erik Neander to help run their own teams. Those teams were unable to pry him away and now it looks like he will be with Tampa for the foreseeable future, as Neander received a promotion to president of baseball operations.