Updated: Dec 5, 2021
Happy first day of the lockout! Twenty-seven years of labor peace have come to an end for MLB. This means we have a long cold winter ahead of us. Nearly $1.7 billion was committed to free agents during November, smashing the prior record by 4x. Meaning, it's time for us to play "Justify the Contact."
Before we jump into the starting pitchers, I want to talk about the title change changes you will see going into the 2022 season. There will be four main segments: Tasty Talk with Dan-o's season, Cold Hard Facts with the Coldest Water Bottle, Lightning Hot Takes with RAZE Energy, Fresh Outlooks with Dr. Squatch. These four companies are the prominent supporters of the Ball Boy Blog and give me a chance to provide all this content to you guys to enjoy. Please head here and check out the promos I got going on as we look to push Ball Boy Blog to new heights in 2022!.
Now, let's jump into Justify that Contact for the SP that has been signed thus far. We will ignore recency bias as most MLB teams don't but look at a few metrics: Age, career WAR, career ERA/FIP, career W-L%, career 162 game average IP.
-Jose Berrios 7yr/$130mil- Toronto
Big money Berrios, at 27yo and after five years of service, the Jays will get Berrios's best years going forward during the length of the contract. Berrios brings in a career of 10.8WAR, 4.04ERA/3.95FIP, .561%, over 196IP on average during a season. Berrios will be owed about 18.5 a season going forward, and I think the Jay's might be getting a slightly overpriced yet consistent and durable piece of their rotation for the next seven seasons. The upside is there for Berrios after a 9th place Cy Young finish and two all-star appearances already. JUSTIFIED
-Max Scherzer 3yr/$130MIL- NYM
Hi, I'm Steve Cohen, owner of the Mets. I have lots of money, and let me throw $40+mil a year at a 37yo pitcher who is a future Hall of Famer. In 13 seasons, Mad Max, as we have come to know him, is 3x Cy Young winner, 8x All-Star, and one of the best pitchers ever to take the mound. Between Mad Max and Adam Wainwright, it's hard to argue age as a factor in deals. Mad Max owns a career 67.1WAR, 3.16ERA/3.13FIP, .662W% and, on average, gives you 214IP a season. 40+ mil was a bit extreme, and an overpay in my eyes for Mad Max, right around 25-30, would have been justifiable. Cohen threw away some critical payroll to make this signing. NOT JUSTIFIED
-Robbie Ray 5yr/$115mil- Seattle
At just 30yo, the Mariners got Ray for $23mil a year after winning the Cy Young award. Last off-season, we saw Trevor Bauer secure $40+mil after winning the award. In seven seasons, Ray has a career of 15.1WAR, 4.00ERA/4.04FIP, .517W%, and, on average, gives you 184IP. While also giving an all-time career leading 11.2K/9. The Mariners needed an ACE; Ray wants to win obviously and be the face of a franchise. Win-win for both sides. JUSTIFIED.
-Kevin Gausman 5yr/$110mil- Tor
Far too much recency bias went into this signing by the Blue Jays. Despite two solid seasons for Gausman in SF. I think the QO he got after 2020 wasn't justifiable; now, the $20+mil a year doesn't make sense. At 30yo with a career of 16.9WAR, 4.02ERA/3.88FIP, .471W% while averaging 185IP. To me, a shorter-term deal of 3yr and maybe $12-$15mil anavg would have made more sense. I'm sorry, Toronto Fan's, you might get 1-3 years of a good Gausman, but the contract as a whole will likely go down as a bust. NOT JUSTIFIED.
-Eduardo Rodriguez 5yr/$80mil- Detriot
At 27yo, the Tigers got a young age to help lead their even younger, high upside staff. Injuries have slowed E-Rod every season of his six-year career. E-Rod brings a career of 15.4WAR, 4.16ERA/3.83FIP, .621W% while averaging 187IP per 162G. I believe the intangibles are what got E-Rod nearly $16mil a season. The ability to battle through injury, mentor, playoff experience all point to such. With that in mind, JUSTIFIED!
-Marcus Stroman 3yr/$71mil- ChC
The length is the best part of the contract for Cubs as it's a short-term, high upside; get the rest of a guy's prime years with you. At 30 yo and getting nearly $23+mil a season. Stroman's agent got it done. After seven years of service so far, he owns an 18.5WAR, 3.63ERA/3.62FIP, .504W% and will give you 199IP in a typical 162 season. The personality is excellent for the Cubs that lost all their swag when they traded Javy Baez. Do I think the Cubs overpaid for their new ACE? Yes. Does he give the Cubs a great bridge guy, clubhouse guy, and a decently filled stadium every five days? Yes. The business side of this move is more than fantastic; it was fantastic. Therefore, JUSTIFIED.
That's all we got for today. What do you think? Do you agree, disagree? Let me know in the comments!