Yes, free agent pitching is expensive. Very expensive.
For Jacob deGrom, a pitcher that has made just 26 combined starts the last two years, a $185 million dollar deal with Texas that averages $37 million a year over the next five years. For Justin Verlander, a pitcher that will turn 40 in February, a contract that will average $43.3 million over the next two years from the New York Mets.
Both can be among the most dominant pitchers in the sport. deGrom has a 2.23 ERA since 2019. Last year, Verlander posted a 1.75 ERA over 175 innings. Wow, what a season.
Of the two deals, I think the Mets have more of a chance to get good value of their two-year deal than the Texas Rangers do for five years of deGrom.
But consider how coveted pitching is right now. So much so that top pitchers are getting $37 million per year. Contrast that with the American League MVP Aaron Judge and the fact that just two teams – the Yankees and Giants – seem serious about signing him. And he can play every day and not just once every five days. At least yesterday, finally, there were rumblings of a so-called mystery team or teams involved for Judge.
But will the Judge pursuit really be just a two-horse race?
Another honor for Hyde: Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has been named Baseball America’s Manager of the Year, an award that covers both leagues. Earlier Hyde was named the Sporting News AL Manager of the Year. He finished second to Cleveland’s Terry Francona for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) award in November.
In that voting, Francona got 17 first-place votes and 112 points in the balloting. Hyde got nine first-place votes and 79 points. Hyde would have become the fourth Orioles manager to receive the BBWAA honor following Frank Robinson in 1989, Davey Johnson in 1997 and Buck Showalter in 2014.
The 2021 Orioles were 52-110 but the club last year went 83-79. Pretty remarkable plus 31 in wins that led to Baltimore’s first winning season since 2016. From June 10 the Orioles’ 59-44 record was the best in the AL.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 2022 Orioles are the first team since 1900 to win at least 77 games in a season after losing 110+ games the previous year and only the third team in MLB history to finish with a .500-or-better record after losing 110+ games the prior campaign. And the Orioles are the first team in MLB history to win more than 70 games after finishing each of the previous three full seasons (150+ G) with 100+ losses. They were the last AL team to be eliminated from playoff contention last season.
To almost any reader here it’s probably become clear I’ve been a big believer in Hyde as the O’s skipper, almost from the start and I was saying he is the right guy for this job when they were losing 110 games. Now I think many more fans agree with me.
Taillon talk: The Orioles’ interest in right-hander Jameson Taillon seems quite legit at this point as we await further updates to see if the club makes the free agent a contract offer. He was ranked by MLBTradeRumors.com as the sixth-best free agent pitcher available behind Carlos Rodon, Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander Kodai Senga and Chris Bassitt.
He went 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts for the Yankees. Over 177 1/3 innings he posted a 1.128 WHIP while allowing 8.5 hits per nine and 1.3 homers with a 1.6 walk rate and 7.7 strikeout rate. He has a career 2.2 walk rate and scores high among evaluators for that command, in addition to showing good spin rates and extension.
Taillon has had two Tommy John surgeries, in addition to dealing with testicular cancer and he missed all of the shortened 2020 year. But his career mark is 51-35 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.212 WHIP. He is above league average with that ERA plus of 107 in 143 MLB starts.
Taillon throws his fastball 47 percent at an average velocity of 94.1 mph and uses his secondaries 53 percent. The most-used secondary is his slider at 19 percent and his curveball, used 15 percent, leads his arsenal in whiff rate at 32.0 percent. He scores well in spin rates, in the top 15 percent of MLB in fastball spin rate and top 17 percent in curve spin rate.
MLBTradeRumors.com projected he would get a four-year deal for $56 million. If he does sign at $14 million per season, that might seem like a bargain compared to the deGrom and Verlander deals.
Elias said: O's executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias spoke with reporters in San Diego last night and confirmed that the O's deal with right-hander Kyle Gibson for one-year is a $10 million dollar contract.
He said the signing "puts us in a position of security with our rotation, our pitching staff, as we proceed through the rest of the offseason. It’s nice for us to have him in the fold already in this early juncture.”
Elias said the team would potentially have interest in pitchers that rejected a qualifying offer. He was asked if they seek a No. 1 starter.
“We’re going to look for acquisitions that make sense for us, and there’s a lot of activity out there right now. We’ve seen some really big news (yesterday). I think we have to have different plans in place and different avenues of targets that we’re looking at.
“I just don’t really know. I just know that we want to get another pitcher at least at some point who we feel like we can pencil into the rotation, whether it’s the opening day spot or in the top five somewhere. I don’t know yet," he said.
He discussed again the possibility of a trade where the O's deal prospects.
“We have the farm system depth to do it," he said. "It doesn’t mean we want to lose those guys or give them away, but I think we have the capital to trade for basically anyone who’s on the market. It’s just whether or not we’re going to want to meet the acquisition cost of some of these players versus the alternatives in free agency.”
Click here for the full rundown of Elias' media availability from Monday night.