The MLB offseason has always been exciting, but this year was different. The amount of big-name players that signed with other teams left the sport buzzing about what it could become in years to come. Let’s take a look at how all 30 franchises graded out for their 2018 offseasons!.
The “mlb free agent predictions” is a blog post that grades the top 10 MLB free agents. It also includes who they think will sign where and what their contract will look like.
For baseball fans who are used to a more leisurely pace throughout the late fall and winter months, the transaction orgy of the last few days has been phenomenal. However, some supporters have had it better than others, and no fan base should be more pumped than the Texas Rangers’.
The Rangers’ offseason has gone from promising to exciting with the announcement on Monday that they had struck a deal with star shortstop Corey Seager on a 10-year, $325 million contract. The Rangers signed Marcus Semien (now most likely an ex-shortstop turned second baseman), starting pitcher Jon Gray, and outfielder Kole Calhoun on Sunday, and Seager’s megadeal follows suit.
A can-do attitude, an ambitious outlook, and $561 million in compensation promises were all it needed.
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The scope and speed of this year’s free-agent frenzy has been incredible, particularly considering it occurred at a period on the baseball calendar when it’s typically safe to visit family, watch an episode of “Succession,” or go grocery shopping without missing a breaking news alert. This November, no way. As someone who transitioned from NBA coverage a few years ago, I’ve observed that the last few days have had a similar vibe to them, which I appreciate. Hopefully, the players and owners negotiating in Dallas on the expiring CBA are aware of the current excitement around their sport.
When I heard the news about Seager, though, another NBA dynamic sprang to mind. The most critical step in establishing a championship-caliber squad, as well as the most difficult, has long been acknowledged by NBA executives: getting a franchise-level great player. There are only so many in the league at any one time, and NBA clubs used to prepare ahead for the expiry of specific contracts in order to be in the best position to sign such a player when he or she became available in free agency.
Baseball rosters, on the other hand, are formed extremely differently. Star players are important, but they can’t carry a team on their own. In baseball, depth is just as vital as star power. The chances of acquiring a franchise-defining player, on the other hand, are few. As a result, even if you aren’t quite at the point where a franchise player will push you over the top, it’s not unreasonable to go ahead and obtain one while you still have the opportunity.
This takes us full round to the Rangers. Texas lost 102 games last season, the most since 1973, and its winning percentage of.370 was slightly higher than the.367 it had in the pandemic-shortened season. There was nothing unusual about such records when compared to run differential. The Rangers have had two seasons of true mediocrity.
Unfortunately for them, there is no quick way to go from mediocrity to greatness in baseball. A free-agent splash may propel a struggling club into contention, but the expense of splashing your way from the basement to the penthouse can give even Mets owner Steve Cohen the shivers. In fact, you need to supplement huge signings with players who can generate victories quickly, and the most important component of that equation is young, internally produced, team-controlled talent.
The Rangers, on the other hand, are working on it. Take a look at how they’ve progressed in Baseball America’s organizational rankings:
Preseason ranking: 23rd 22nd in the 2018 preseason Preseason 2019: 24th 20th preseason in 2020 Preseason ranking: 24th in 2021 Midseason in 2021: 11th
Even if the waves of talent haven’t yet crashed into Globe Life Field’s huge parking lots, things are improving. As a result, the pessimist would see Texas’ spending spree as head CEO Jon Daniels and his team putting the final touches on a photo with no apparent numbers.
It’s a legitimate issue. Gray improves the starting rotation, but he isn’t a No. 1 starter. Former prospects Dane Dunning and Spencer Howard are still attempting to establish themselves as rotation mainstays (Dunning is slightly further along in the process). Texas’ best pitching prospect is former Vanderbilt pitcher Jack Leiter, but Leiter, a first-round selection in 2021, is just getting started. Meanwhile, the bullpen’s present status is one of a complete enigma. It’s impossible to avoid: This is not yet a competitive Rangers squad, despite the bucks and headlines of the last two days.
However, locking up certain long-term cornerstone players makes sense if the Rangers feel their system can produce a succession of big-league-caliber players over the next several years. What if the advent of this free-agent class didn’t coincide with Texas’ contention schedule? Now is the time to seize the opportunity.
Consider the Rangers’ advantages with Seager on the team. The power of the middle infield is undeniable. Semien, Seager, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa have all been daily shortstops recently, so manager Chris Woodward has a lot of options. The most basic: Seager is a shortstop. Semien earned a Gold Glove at second base in 2021, while Kiner-Falefa took up the award at third base in 2020. That seems to be the most probable scenario. And, if Seager and Semien are the middle infielders, it’s maybe the greatest in the league.
Seager is also an obvious offensive enhancement for the Rangers, as he would be for almost any big league squad. He’s a one-of-a-kind offensive guy who can hit for average and power while also showing exceptional on-base abilities. His lifetime OPS+ of 131 indicates that he has been a consistently exceptional offensive threat, with the additional benefit of being able to use that stick from shortstop. He won’t be 28 until after Opening Day in 2022, so he has plenty of good seasons left in him. If the Rangers’ agreement falls through, it will be due to Seager’s inability to remain in the lineup, not because the Rangers underestimated his skill set.
The Braves have been proclaimed champions for 2021, which means it’s time to start planning for next season! Here’s what’s new in the world of the hot stove and beyond. Complete coverage »
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• Frequently Asked Questions for each non-playoff club (ESPN+) «
However, this is a legitimate worry. Due to elbow issues, Seager was restricted to just 26 games in 2018. He missed 28 games in 2019, mostly due to a hamstring injury. During the abbreviated 2020 season, he was mainly healthy, but he missed 67 games last season due to a broken right hand. His hand was fractured after he was struck by a pitch thrown by Miami’s Ross Detwiler, and it was mainly by chance. However, the outcomes are what they are. If health is a talent, he has yet to demonstrate it (the exception is his best season, 2016, when Seager played in 157 games and finished third in NL MVP balloting).
Given the 10-year, $341 million contract Francisco Lindor signed with the Mets last season, we may see the parameters of Seager’s approaching agreement as what elite shortstops in Major League Baseball will be paid in 2021 assuming he remains on the field sufficiently to earn $32.5 million per season. (Carlos Correa, a few months younger and equally as talented as or better than Seager, is undoubtedly paying note.)
It’s easy to look back on the Rangers’ past and see the Seager signing as a probable repeat of a cautionary tale from two decades ago, when a 91-loss Texas club signed Alex Rodriguez to a mind-boggling, endless deal. However, it was a different baseball club, a different player, and a different era.
Texas is on the hook for $57.5 million in salary until 2028, thanks to Semien’s seven-year contract and Seager’s new contract. That isn’t a concern if they are projected to be Texas’ two top players in the near future. Instead than tying up even more salary, the Rangers would be better off focusing on roster depth, wherever they can find it. If Semien, Seager, and Gray offer the anticipated baseline of well-above-average productivity, their best road to go back to.500 in the near future is to improve as many roster places as possible to close to league average.
In some ways, the Rangers’ long-term view has remained unchanged. They need to start getting their pipeline of local talent flowing, or else the money they’ve spent over the last several days will be for nothing. Returning to our NBA analogies, as crosstown NBA owner Mark Cuban will confirm, when you have a chance to grab the star, you get the star.
Over the last several days, the Rangers have added a handful of studs to their roster. The work they’ve done over the last several years to put them in a position to make these investments will decide how brilliantly they shine.
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The “mlb signings today” is a list of free agents that have been signed by Major League Baseball teams. The grades are given for each player based on their performance in the past season and their projected future earnings.
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