The annual baseball Winter Meetings were underway on Sunday but the first 24 hours were a bit of a slow burn. As everyone descended upon the events in San Diego on Monday, the first major domino fell in the free agency frenzy.
Stephen Strasburg’s seven-year, $245M deal with the #Nationals will give him highest average annual value for a pitcher in major-league history – at least temporarily. Gerrit Cole likely to get even more than $35M per, and for more than seven years. First with terms: @JeffPassan.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 9, 2019
The 2019 World Series MVP is sticking with his team as former number one overall pick Stephen Strasburg agreed to a massive deal to remain with the Washington Nationals on Monday. As Ken Rosenthal’s tweet above lays out, the deal was a historic one. The question now becomes: Was it so historically big that it’s now financially impossible for the Nationals to retain superstar third baseman Anthony Rendon.
The winds have been blowing in a direction for more than a week that the Rangers are seen as the favorites to lure Rendon away from the reigning World Series champions. General manager Mike Rizzo put on a brave face and made it seem like Washington would still pursue Rendon despite retaining Strasburg at such a high price, but the consensus among plugged in MLB insiders is that the 29-year-old slugger returning to Washington is “probably not going to happen.”
Every report mentions the Rangers when it comes to pursuing Rendon, but the Los Angeles Dodgers also come up as a candidate. One would think the Dodgers could outbid Texas if they truly wanted to, but the tea leaves seem to be reading that LAD would only be interested in Rendon on a short-term deal and not the seven-year deal it’s seeming like he is likely to get. The Dodgers are also mentioned to heavily be in the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes along with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels. If Cole agrees to a deal at the Winter Meetings this week, it would only increase the odds of Rendon coming to a decision sooner rather than later.
The Rangers also continued to add to their pitching staff on Monday night by adding 28-year-old relief pitcher Joely Rodriguez who spent the last two seasons pitching for Chunichi Dragons in Japan. The deal is for two years, $5.5 million and a club option for a third year. Texas has found success pulling from Japan with the likes of Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis and Tony Barnette during the Jon Daniels era.
New Rangers reliever Joely Rodriguez was pretty ridiculous in the NPB. He had a 1.85 ERA in 87 innings, struck out 103 hitters while walking 28 and only gave up 4(!) home runs. Rangers always scout the league thoroughly; this seems like a solid addition.
— Or Moyal (@OrMoyal) December 10, 2019
Texas has continued to search the bargain bin to build their 2020 bullpen. They’ve made a couple of waiver claims and seem to have quickly swooped in on guys that other teams were willing to risk losing. If they’re going to allocate major funds to Rendon, it can’t be expected for them to prepare to spend major money on the bullpen this winter.
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