When the Main League Baseball lockout ended again on March 10, rumors instantly started to unfold that there could be a free company frenzy as soon as it restarted that very same night. Whereas we didn’t see the quick deluge of offers that loads of followers anticipated to see as quickly as 7:00 p.m. hit on the night time the lockout ended, we didn’t have to attend lengthy for the inevitable to occur.
Winner: Rangers get their catcher whereas Twins get one thing brewing
It began with a pair of trades on March 12 that set the tone for what and who was going to be concerned when the true avalanche started. First, the Twins despatched Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the Rangers in trade for Mitch Garver. At first look, it looks like an interesting-but-even commerce. Texas picks up a strong catcher in Garver and Minnesota brings in an excellent defender for his or her infield who discovered himself on the surface wanting in at Texas after they signed Corey Seager. Appears easy sufficient, proper? Because it seems, the Twins had been taking part in 4D chess and had a grand scheme that ended with one of many extra surprising strikes of free company thus far.
Loser: One other fireplace sale begins in Oakland
The second deal of that day signaled the start of a long-anticipated fireplace sale for the Athletics. The primary group to benefit from this was the Mets, who gave their rotation yet one more enhance by buying and selling for right-handed starter Chris Bassitt in trade for the primary pair of many new prospects to enter Oakland’s farm system. Whereas the Twins weren’t executed shopping for, the A’s weren’t executed promoting. If we’re being fully trustworthy, this sort of rebuild is previous hat for A’s followers. The distinction is that there’s the looming specter of a possible transfer on the horizon for the Athletics, so there’s a small sense of finality about this explicit fireplace sale.
Winner: Twins proceed to wheel and deal
The Twins ended up having a really busy day on March 13. It began with the Reds going into promoting mode as they shipped Sonny Grey off to Minnesota. Abruptly, a group that was taking a look at doubtlessly having Dylan Bundy as an Opening Day beginning candidate was now taking a look at having a confirmed commodity as their starter when the season will get rocking and rolling once more. Minnesota’s rotation nonetheless isn’t nice, however now they doubtlessly have a rock strong starter to lean on each fifth day.
Once more, that wasn’t the tip of Minnesota’s wheeling-and-dealing on that day. Keep in mind Isiah Kiner-Falefa? The person didn’t even have sufficient time to have fun his arrival in Minnesota earlier than he needed to begin studying the lyrics to “(Theme From) New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra and begin expressing adulation for Derek Jeter. Kiner-Falefa, Ben Rortvedt and Josh Donaldson acquired shipped off to the Bronx in trade for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela. For the Yankees, this meant that Trevor Story and Carlos Correa weren’t coming to New York and it additionally meant that Gerrit Cole’s professionalism was about to be put to the take a look at. For what it’s price, each Cole and Donaldson handed the preliminary take a look at with flying colours!
Loser: However what precisely had been the Twins doing at this level?
For the Twins, this was a head-scratcher for certain. With all due respect to each Sanchez and Urshela, the Twins had downgraded at each catcher and third base, respectively. In addition they acquired the Yankees to tackle the $50 million that Josh Donaldson was nonetheless owed. So what was the grand plan right here? Our mates over at Twinkie City figured that an enormous free company transfer was coming and perhaps it might be for a shortstop that might completely not be Carlos Correa, proper?
Winner: Braves go from power to power at first base
As soon as the calendar switched from March 13 to 14, certainly one of our recurring characters returned to the forefront. The Oakland A’s weren’t executed stripping their home down all the best way to the inspiration and this time the following participant to go was Matt Olson. The Braves despatched 4 of their high prospects to the Bay Space in trade for one of many best-hitting first basemen in all of baseball. This additionally meant that one other one of many best-hitting first basemen in all of baseball wouldn’t be returning to Atlanta, as this actually meant that Freddie Freeman was leaving the Braves. That was particularly the case when the Braves instantly signed Olson to a contract extension, as they basically selected having Matt Olson over Freddie Freeman.
Winner: Mariners benefit from Reds reboot
Elsewhere on March 14, the Reds confirmed that they had been present process yet one more reboot after they despatched Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to the Mariners in trade for a handful of prospects and the ever-mysterious Participant To Be Named Later. After what needed to have been an agonizing 48 hours, Jerry Dipoto was lastly capable of transact. In the meantime, there’s no pleasure in Pink-ville as Cincinnati has seemingly doomed itself to turn into also-rans in 2022 as they’re now the newest group trying to determine a technique to compete with out truly paying a boatload of cash for high quality expertise. In the meantime, the Mariners have seen their squad obtain some strengthening with this addition of two former All-Stars. Seattle got here agonizingly near ending what’s now a 20-year postseason drought, however strikes like this might make it in order that the streak doesn’t make it to 21 years.
Loser: Yankees get bronze medal in first baseman sweepstakes
The Ides of March ended up being a quiet day, until you had been the New York Yankees. That was when it turned clear that not solely had been they not going to get Carlos Correa, additionally they weren’t going to get Freddie Freeman. As a substitute, they had been going to get Freddie Freeman’s pal as Anthony Rizzo agreed to return to the Yankees. The market of obtainable first basemen throughout this offseason made it seem to be there was a podium, the place buying both Freeman, Olson, or Rizzo would assure you a medal. Whereas it’s debatable as to who’s the proverbial gold and silver medal alternative between Freeman and Olson, Rizzo was the clear bronze medal alternative. With that being mentioned, New York’s infield nonetheless wanting fairly good with the additions of Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa and the return of Rizzo.
Winner: Blue Jays add Platinum Glove expertise in Matt Chapman
March 16 ended up being a a lot busier day in baseball. The A’s mentioned goodbye to their third All-Star in lower than every week, as they dealt Matt Chapman to the Blue Jays. Whereas the haul they obtained for Matt Olson was substantial, that wasn’t precisely the case for Chapman. Nonetheless, the group North of the border was very glad so as to add a really worthwhile glove to what’s wanting like an more and more formidable roster for the Blue Jays. Chapman’s protection is definitely elite, as he completed 2021 ranked within the 99th percentile in Outs Above Common and is routinely able to offering double-digit numbers in Defensive Runs Saved. The Blue Jays determine to be a threatening power within the always-dangerous AL East.
Winner/Loser: Kris Bryant will get an enormous payday because the Rockies proceed to confound
Then we acquired an absolute doozy of a free company deal, as Kris Bryant lastly acquired the huge payday that he’d been in search of. It simply so occurred that the large contract got here from the Colorado Rockies. Whereas Bryant is probably going going to be spending much more time these days in left subject than at third base, chances are you’ll do not forget that the Rockies as soon as had an excellent third baseman taking part in for them not too way back. Final yr, this identical Rockies group traded that participant to St. Louis and paid the Cardinals almost $51 million to take action. Right here within the present-day, Colorado adopted that up by giving Kris Bryant $182 million over seven years. So you could possibly make the argument that the Rockies spent $233 million to drop Nolan Arenado in favor of Kris Bryant.
It’s a bizarre flex nevertheless it appears okay as a result of Kris Bryant acquired a bag that he deserved each penny of, he will get to dwell in a pleasant metropolis that’s comparatively near his hometown of Las Vegas, and the Rockies acquired a participant that they’ve coveted since he turned skilled. Both method, it’s clear to see that Bryant is the one which’s popping out forward right here. The Rockies could also be good once more sooner or later down the street, however they’re positively going about it in a deeply bizarre method.
Winner: The Dodgers reload by including Freddie Freeman
The subsequent day was when the massive free company domino lastly fell. Freddie Freeman made his choice and the selection was to don the Dodger blue. Freeman signed with Los Angeles on a six-year, $162 million contract that principally confirmed that the Dodgers would have a completely terrifying lineup going ahead. LA’s lineup will now has a scarcely-believable 4 former MVPs of their lineup — together with the 2018 AL MVP in Mookie Betts, the 2019 NL MVP in Cody Bellinger, and the 2020 NL MVP in Freeman. Even Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA is impressed, and PECOTA hates everyone!
Loser: Phillies add Castellanos whereas sacrificing protection
The free company dominoes continued to drop on March 18. Nick Castellanos acquired himself a nine-figure payday with the Phillies, whereas Kenley Jansen turned simply the newest lifelong Braves fan to affix the Atlanta Braves. The Jansen signing helped bolster a bullpen that did plenty of heavy lifting on Atlanta’s path to the 2021 title, whereas Castellanos has principally confirmed that the Phillies are tremendous with having no protection in any way if deep fly balls to left subject are routinely a factor. We even acquired a notable commerce thrown in on today as nicely, as Luke Voit moved from the Yankees to the Padres.
However significantly, let’s discuss Philadelphia’s protection for a second. The Phillies had been horrid defensively in 2021 and including each Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber will certainly be certain that they’ll proceed to deal within the basement of the NL in that exact division. Whereas it’s doubtless that the Phillies will certainly mash the ball, this might find yourself being an experiment that’s too flawed to succeed going ahead. It’s going to be enjoyable to look at, for higher or worse!
Winner: Minnesota’s grand plan is lastly revealed
March 19 introduced our good ol’ mates in Minnesota again to the forefront. Because it seems, the Twins had been certainly as much as one thing after they had been making all of these bizarre offers. They had been doing all of this with the intention to release sufficient cash to signal Carlos Correa. Whereas Correa’s contract is extremely player-friendly because it’s a three-year, $105.3 million contract with an opportunity to opt-out after every of the primary two seasons of the settlement, it’s nonetheless an enormous deal that the Twins had been capable of swoop in and pull off an enormous upset when it comes to signing the star shortstop. Should you appropriately predicted that Carlos Correa would find yourself a member of the Twins by the point Opening Day 2022 rolled round, then I’m going to personally ask you for lottery numbers since you’re both a time traveler or a clairvoyant.
Winner: Pink Sox make their presence felt by signing Trevor Story
The very subsequent day led to a extra predictable vacation spot for arguably the ultimate enormous free agent left available on the market. Trevor Story lastly discovered himself a brand new house as he signed a six-year, $140 million take care of the Pink Sox. Story will truly be shifting over to second base, as Xander Bogaerts will keep at shortstop. It’s an attention-grabbing choice however this may be a short lived transfer to second base for Story ought to Bogaerts determine to check the free company waters subsequent offseason. Both method, the Pink Sox can say that they’ve acquired one half of their keystone mixture found out for the foreseeable future and a they’ve acquired a extremely good one within the type of Story.
So whereas we didn’t get the anticipated maelstrom of acquisitions instantly following the lockout, we did get a bunch of offers unfold out over a interval of slightly below two weeks. There’s nonetheless a few weeks till Opening Day, so there’s nonetheless loads of time for much more offers to go down earlier than groups begin to settle in for the common season marathon. Even when this was the tip of the street so far as main signings and trades go, this was nonetheless a fairly enjoyable interval to carry baseball again. The lockout was actually a depressing interval and it looks like the entire of MLB was trying to make up for it with all of this motion happening. There’s no substitute for the precise video games, however an thrilling offseason is actually an attractive different.