MLB Hot Stove recap

The+Phillies+signed+Zack+Wheeler+to+help+their+rotation+over+the+offseason.+It+is+currently+unknown+when%2C+or+if%2C+Major+League+baseball+will+return.+

Photo courtesy of mlb.com

The Phillies signed Zack Wheeler to help their rotation over the offseason. It is currently unknown when, or if, Major League baseball will return.

Andrew Eross, Staff Writer

After a slow winter, the MLB followed up with the best off-season it has had in ages.

Franchise players are now locked up in a new city with new threads; big bats and elite arms are inked up for contracts three, four, five, seven, and even nine years long. As for the MLB fan, this only means pure excitement for what this next season holds. 

To begin with the aces — Gerrit Cole, a top three pitcher in the game and rated as the best free agent in this class, reached a deal with the New York Yankees- a massive nine year, $324 million contract. Cole, coming from the Astros, played phenomenal last year, totaling over 300 strikeouts enroute to a second place finish in AL Cy Young voting. 

This deal is a match made in heaven – the Bronx get their coveted megastar ace to lead the rotation while Cole joins his childhood favorite team. 

The next three largest pitcher contracts came from the reigning world series MVP, a former WS MVP, and a hopeful breakout pitcher who will join the local Phillies. Stephen Strasburg re-signed with the team that drafted him to stay in D.C., landing seven years and $245 million. This is a lot of money, but Stras proved in his 2019 season campaign he is a top five or six pitcher in the game. Solidifying the three-headed monster of a rotation with Scherzer and Corbin only leads to winning baseball for years to come. 

Next up, one of the best arms in San Francisco history signed a five year, $85 million deal to join the D-Backs of Arizona to set their team up for wild card chase. In my eyes, this is not a great deal for Arizona because the long-term investment in a declining pitcher who set a career worsts in ERA, homers allowed, and his third worst WHIP last year seems like an overpay.

Finally, Zack Wheeler, a former New York Met, will be making a move to a division rival Philadelphia Phillies. This contract is beyond generous, as Wheeler signed for five years, $118 million. The 29-year-old still seems to have untapped potential, as he has been set back by Tommy John surgery causing him to miss both the 2015 and 2016 seasons. However, there is hope that once joining the Bryan Price system the hard-throwing righty will blossom into an elite counterpart to teammate ace Aaron Nola.

Rounding out the pitchers, some smaller deals include Hyun-Jin Ryu inking with Toronto for four years, $80 million. Ryu had a league-leading 2.32 ERA last year. Former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel will head to South Chicago for three years, but he is replaced by Cole “Hollywood” Hamels in Atlanta. 

Notable reliever deals include Dellin Betances going to the Mets, Will Harris to the Nationals, and Will Smith to the Braves.

The 2020 offseason did not come with a shortage of free-agent bats either. Two big third basemen are on the move, two new Reds will be teaming up in Cincinnati, and the White Sox keep their first baseman while getting a big new DH.

The largest hitter deal came with Anthony Rendon, an instrumental piece in the Washington Nationals title run. Mike Trout will be seeing an all-star teammate in his lineup now as Rendon will be teaming up with him on the LA Angels. 

The Twins, who led the 2019 season in home runs, will be getting even more juice with the addition of Josh Donaldson. The Reds, another team trying to make a push for the play-offs, add Mike Mousakes. The former Brewer who hit thirty-five homers last year, will meet Nichholas Castellanos in Cincy as the Red’s offense gets even scarier.

The final team with multiple big moves is the White Sox, who re-signed franchise first baseman Jose Abreau and added power hitter Edwin Encarnacion to make a push in the AL central.

Other notable moves include Didi Gregorious to the Phillies for one year and CJ Cron heading to Detroit.