As of Thursday, the New York Yankees no longer have access to Carlos Rodón, the greatest left-handed starting pitcher available this winter. According to a source familiar with the agreement, the 30-year-old will receive $162 million spread out over the next six years.
In the history of Major League Baseball, just nine starting pitchers have ever signed contracts guaranteeing more. Rodón is a late bloomer who became a top pitcher in 2021 and has since been a two-time all-star in that role.
Since the beginning of 2021, he has had the lowest earned run average (ERA) of any starter who threw more than 300 innings and has struck out more batters per nine innings than any other pitcher in the league. A career plagued by ailments culminated in 2019 with Tommy John surgery.
The Yankees’ rotation, which already featured Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino, will now also rely on hard-throwing Rodón and cunning genius Nestor Cortes. Rodón’s signing is the first significant upgrade for a team that struggled all the way into October and was swept in the ALCS by the Houston Astros.
The New York Yankees kicked off their offseason by re-signing the first baseman Anthony Rizzo. By re-signing Aaron Judge, they proved it. Infielder D.J. LeMahieu, a two-time batting champion, is expected to return to action after missing the playoffs due to an injury to his foot.
However, they may not have done as much to fortify their lineup against the elements as their second-half and playoff troubles from last year would have warranted. The New York Mets, under the leadership of owner Steve Cohen, continue to outspend the New York Yankees this offseason.
The Mets also extended huge contracts to key players Brandon Nimmo, an outfielder, and Edwin Diaz, a reliever. The Mets replaced Jacob deGrom, who signed with the Rangers, with Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander.
When they realised they needed additional starting pitchers, they spent $75 million over five years to sign Japanese ace Kodai Senga and gave lefty Jose Quintana a two-year contract worth $13 million each year. A experienced left-handed reliever, Brooks Rayley, was acquired via trade, while veteran David Robertson was brought in to help out in the bullpen.
According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, they will likely have a luxury tax bill of somewhat less than $76 million on Opening Day, with a payroll of roughly $345 million. Many high-spending teams this offseason have taken a cautious approach to megadeals, in part because of the substantial tax penalty instituted by the new collective bargaining agreement.
The payroll impact of these long-term contracts is spread out over several seasons to prevent any one season from being crippling. Teams are minimising their long-term risk by signing veterans like Verlander to short-term deals at high annual pay, while signing position-playing superstars to deals that appear to involve some risk of decline on the back end.
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Giants and Carlos Correa agreed to a 13-year contract that will guarantee Correa a whopping $350 million over the life of the pact but will never cost the Giants more than $27 million each year.
Trea Turner will earn almost $27 million per year from the Philadelphia Phillies after signing a $300 million, 11-year contract. Xander Bogaerts’s contract with the San Diego Padres is worth $280 million over the life of the deal but counts for less than $26 million per year when considering the luxury tax.
Such contracts have become commonplace in the current free agent market, as the majority of the highest predicted earnings have signed deals well before the holiday season. In prior years, free agency has dragged on until closer to spring training, but last year’s lockout prompted a flurry of signings in late November. However, most of the upcoming big moves will likely be trades after the Yankees snatched up another elite star on Thursday.
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