Offseason Junk

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Former Cy Young Winners in their Mid/Late 30s
  • Zack Greinke (38): Greinke still provides innings, but his average fastball was down to 89.0 mph in 2021 and he posted a second consecutive ERA north of 4.00. Greinke’s season-long numbers were torpedoed by a poor stretch of four starts to close out the year. His ERA sat at 3.41 as recently as Aug. 23 — albeit with a sub-par 17.5 percent strikeout rate. Still, Greinke is durable and possesses outstanding command. Teams will see him as a workhorse who can provide average or better innings while passing down plenty of knowledge to younger arms. He’s already turned down one qualifying offer, so he can’t receive a second.
  • Justin Verlander (39): It was surprising to hear Astros owner Jim Crane say Verlander would be seeking “a contract of some length” recently. The two-time Cy Young winner has thrown just six innings since the conclusion of the 2019 postseason due to 2020 Tommy John surgery. Houston will make a qualifying offer, and if Verlander is indeed intent on multiple years, he’ll reject. Verlander has said in the past that he hopes to pitch into his mid-40s, and his resume speaks for itself. A multi-year deal is risky, but how many arms come with this type of ceiling?
  • Corey Kluber (36): Kluber’s comeback looked to be in full swing when he no-hit the Rangers in May. However, he pitched three innings in his next start, went on the injured list for three months, and returned with a 5.40 ERA in his final 26 2/3 frames. Kluber still finished with a solid 3.83 ERA in 80 innings, but his 24 percent strikeout rate was roughly average and his 9.7 percent walk rate was high. That no-no and a dominant outing against the Tigers early in the year stand out, but his season lacked consistency.
  • Clayton Kershaw (34): He wasn’t quite peak Kershaw, but the second three-time Cy Young winner on this list rattled off 121 2/3 innings of 3.55 ERA ball with even more promising strikeout (29.5) and walk (4.3) percentages when healthy. Kershaw hit the IL with forearm inflammation in early July and missed two months before returning for four shaky starts down the stretch (15 1/3 innings, 4.70 ERA). He’s out for the postseason due to renewed forearm discomfort but won’t require surgery, instead receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection. There’s huge uncertainty here. If the Dodgers feel he’s healthy enough to make a qualifying offer, perhaps the simplest course would just be for Kershaw to accept.
Mid-Rotation Arms in their Prime
  • Anthony DeSclafani (32): DeSclafani was clobbered by the Dodgers this season and posted a 2.21 ERA against all other teams (hat tip to The Athletic’s Grant Brisbee). The end result was a 3.17 ERA in 167 2/3 innings, a slightly below-average strikeout percentage (22.5) and a very strong walk rate (6.2 percent). DeSclafani has some injuries on his track record, most notably an elbow strain that cost him the 2017 season but didn’t require surgery. He’s made 31 starts of sub-4.00 ERA ball in two of the past three seasons and could find interest on a three- or perhaps even four-year deal — depending on whether the Giants make a qualifying offer.
  • Jon Gray (30): Gray went down with a forearm issue late in the season and was rocked upon returning, but it was a solid year for the former No. 3 overall draft pick when healthy. Gray throws hard, misses bats, keeps the ball on the ground and has solid command. He owns a 4.52 ERA and 4.01 FIP over four prior seasons, and he’s the type of prime-aged, power arm another team could dream on. Colorado opted not to trade him at the deadline, so a qualifying offer seems likely, as they’d otherwise stand to lose him without compensation.
  • Steven Matz (31): Matz has had an up-and-down career, sometimes looking like a non-tender candidate but sometimes looking like a mid-rotation building block. The latter was the case in 2021, Matz’s lone season with the Blue Jays. He posted a 3.82 ERA in 150 2/3 frames with solid strikeout and walk rates. He’s been on the IL every year since 2015, albeit mostly for minor injuries that required only brief absences. He’s done enough for a team to give him a multi-year deal to pitch out of the middle of a rotation.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez (29): One of the youngest pitchers on the market this year, Rodriguez will be overlooked by some simply due to a pedestrian 4.74 ERA. However, E-Rod had the best strikeout and walk percentages of his career and largely allayed concerns about his health and durability after missing the 2020 season due to a troubling bout of myocarditis. Rodriguez has a 4.13 ERA with sub-4.00 marks in FIP, xFIP, SIERA and xERA over his past four seasons. Even if he rejects a qualifying offer, he’ll be a popular multi-year deal candidate.
  • Alex Wood (30): Wood barely pitched from 2019-20 and has a history of shoulder troubles, but he made 26 starts with strong cumulative numbers in 2021 (3.83 ERA, 26% strikeout rate, 6.7% walk rate, 50.8% grounder rate). With an ERA of 3.84 or better in every season of his career outside of those injury-ruined 2019-20 seasons, quality strikeout rates and plus ground-ball rates, Wood will be popular on the market. Like his teammate, DeSclafani, he’s a borderline QO candidate.
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Older Veterans/Back-of-the-Rotation Options
  • Brett Anderson (34): A ground-ball specialist who doesn’t miss many bats, Anderson has a 4.12 ERA and strong command over his past four seasons. He’s spent a fair bit of time on the IL, however, resulting in just 399 1/3 frames dating back to 2018.
  • Tyler Anderson (32): Anderson has rebuilt his stock nicely over the past two seasons, but his rookie year 3.54 ERA back in 2016 was a long time ago. He’s generally a solid five-inning starter with an ERA in the mid-4.00s. A two-year deal isn’t out of the question based on his age and the consistency with which he’s taken the ball over the past two seasons.
  • Alex Cobb (34): The 2021 version of Cobb might be the best we’ve seen since 2013-14, but injuries limited him to 93 1/3 frames. Cobb has never made 30 starts in a season, so the injury risk is palpable, but he’s coming off a solid 2021 campaign.
  • J.A. Happ (39): Happ looked like a DFA candidate with the Twins but posted a 4.00 ERA in 54 innings following a trade to the Cardinals. His strikeout and walk rates didn’t really change in St. Louis, but his BABIP dropped by 60 points. Playing in front of MLB’s top defense (per DRS and OAA) certainly didn’t hurt.
  • Rich Hill (42): Raise your hand if you expected 41-year-old Hill to post the second-highest innings total of his career in 2021. The lefty’s strikeout and walk rates both improved over their 2020 levels, and he posted near-identical ERAs between the Rays and Mets. He’s made clear he’s not retiring, so look for another one-year deal to slot into the middle of a rotation.
  • Kwang Hyun Kim (33): He’s been mostly a five-inning starter and has been helped out immensely by a lights-out Cardinal defense (.257 BABIP, 17.2% strikeout rate), but Kim owns a 2.97 ERA in 145 2/3 MLB frames. His 4.89 SIERA tells another story, but as a fifth back-of-the-rotation option or long man, teams could do much worse.
  • Wade LeBlanc (37): The journeyman lefty helped keep the Cardinals afloat when their rotation need was at its most dire point (3.61 ERA in 42 1/3 innings), but an elbow injury ultimately ended his season and required surgery.
  • Jon Lester (38): Lester couldn’t keep his ERA under 5.00 in Washington, but like Happ, his results improved playing in front of the St. Louis defensive juggernaut. Lester is a five-inning starter at this point and had one of the lowest K-BB% marks of any pitcher in 2021 (min. 100 IP). If he wants to keep pitching, though, someone will pencil the veteran in for some innings.
  • Jordan Lyles (31): The two-year, $16MM deal he inked with Texas didn’t pan out as the Rangers hoped. This year’s 5.15 ERA was unsightly, but Lyles tied for 18th in the league with 180 innings pitched. He can eat some innings at the back of someone’s rotation in 2022.
  • Wily Peralta (33): Peralta didn’t pitch in 2020 but returned to the big leagues with 93 2/3 innings of 3.07 ERA ball for Detroit. His poor 14.4% strikeout rate and 9.5% walk rate don’t inspire a lot of confidence in his ability to repeat that feat, but he’s put himself back on the radar.
  • Michael Pineda (33): Injuries hampered Pineda throughout the season and likely prevented the Twins from trading him. There’s mutual interest between he and the Twins, so he could simply re-sign. If not, he’ll take a 3.62 ERA and a pristine walk rate (4.6%) into the free-agent market — but also a diminished heater (90.9 mph) and a career-worst strikeout rate (19.2%).
  • Drew Smyly (33): Smyly got out to a rough start before rebounding with a 3.85 ERA from May 1 through season’s end. There are obvious durability concerns, and he didn’t replicate last year’s strikeout rate, but the southpaw will still garner plenty of interest.
  • Michael Wacha (30): Wacha has signed a pair of one-year deals in hopes of rebuilding his stock the past two seasons, but it hasn’t exactly happened. He logged 124 2/3 frames with the Rays and posted a 5.05 ERA in 2021 and now carries a 5.11 ERA over his past three seasons. He’s young enough that there’s a tinge of upside here, but some teams probably just view him as a fifth starter at this point.
Rebound Hopefuls/Depth Options
  • Chase Anderson (34): A solid rotation piece from 2014-19, Anderson has limped to an ERA just shy of 7.00 over the past two seasons.
  • Chris Archer (33): Injuries have taken their toll on Archer, who had thoracic outlet surgery in 2020 and pitched just 19 1/3 innings in his 2021 return to the Rays.
  • Jake Arrieta (36): Released by the Cubs late in the season, Arrieta landed with the Padres and was shelled in four starts. He’s been on the decline for several years.
  • Dylan Bundy (29): The 2020 season looked like a breakout, but Bundy followed with a 6.06 ERA and struggled enough to lose his rotation spot in Anaheim. He’s shown flashes of brilliance numerous times in the past, but the former No. 2 overall prospect just continues to struggle with the long ball.
  • Trevor Cahill (33): There was some bargain potential when the Bucs signed Cahill in Spring Training, but a series of calf strains held him to 37 innings with an ERA north of 6.00.
  • Zach Davies (29): Davies’ big 2020 season with the Padres looks like an outlier after his strikeout and walk rates both trended strongly in the wrong direction. Davies is durable and still young, but he had the fifth-worst K-BB% of any pitcher with at least 100 innings in 2021.
  • Danny Duffy (33): The longtime Royals lefty was excellent when healthy (2.51 ERA, 25.8% strikeout rate), but a pair of forearm injuries limited him to just 61 innings. Duffy never pitched for the Dodgers after being acquired in late July.
  • Mike Fiers (37): After pitching to a 4.03 ERA in 234 innings with the A’s from 2019-20, Fiers managed just 9 1/3 frames in 2021 due to an elbow sprain.
  • Mike Foltynewicz (30): Folty regained nearly three miles per hour on his fastball in 2021, averaging 94.2 mph. The results, however, did not improve for the 2018 All-Star, who posted an ugly 5.44 ERA in 139 innings. The Rangers could’ve controlled Foltynewicz through 2022 via arbitration, but they’ve already cut him loose.
  • Chi Chi Gonzalez (30): A first-round pick by Texas back in 2013, Gonzalez has spent the past three seasons with the Rockies, where he’s pitched to a 6.10 ERA and a dismal 5.7 K-BB%.
  • Matt Harvey (33): Harvey posted a 3.60 ERA through his first six starts and a 4.18 ERA over his final 10 starts. The problem? He allowed 51 runs through 45 innings in the dozen starts between that pair of encouraging bookends. All told, Harvey finished with a 6.27 ERA, a subpar 16.3% strikeout rate and a strong 6.4% walk rate.
  • Andrew Heaney (31): Heaney’s strikeout, walk, swinging-strike and opponents’ chase rates are all excellent. Unfortunately, he was one of MLB’s most homer-prone arms in 2021 (2.01 HR/9). Heaney will probably get a solid one-year deal because of his age and ability to miss bats. He’ll be a popular buy-low target.
  • Michael Lorenzen (30): Lorenzen has been in line for a look in the Reds’ rotation on multiple occasions, but injuries have always intervened. That said, he’s angling for a rotation opportunity next spring and ought to get some consideration given a heater that averaged just shy of 97 (albeit in relief) and given a 3.48 ERA in 331 bullpen innings from 2016-20. Lorenzen is something of a unicorn, given that he also handles the bat well and has plus defensive tools in center field. If you’re purely rolling the dice on rotation options, they don’t come much more interesting than Lorenzen and his across-the-board skill set.
  • Matt Moore (33): Moore’s return from Japan ended with a 6.29 ERA in 73 innings of work. He lost his rotation spot early in the year and has yet to recapture his 2011-14 pre-Tommy John form.
  • James Paxton (33): Paxton, who missed most of 2020 with forearm and back injuries, pitched just one inning in his return to Seattle. He underwent Tommy John surgery in April. Paxton is one of the most talented pitchers in baseball, but he’s never made 30 starts in a season and has just 21 1/3 innings across the past two years.
  • Jose Quintana (33): The veteran Quintana posted an ERA north of 8.00 as a starter but notched a 4.18 ERA with a 28.3% strikeout rate and 7.5% walk rate in 28 relief innings. He could draw interest in both roles this winter.
  • Aaron Sanchez (29): A biceps injury limited Sanchez to 35 1/3 innings, during which time he walked 15 batters and plunked another four. His 90.4 mph average fastball was five miles per hour slower than it was at his peak. Sanchez had a 3.06 ERA, but the numbers beyond that weren’t pretty.
  • Noah Syndergaard (30): Syndergaard hoped to be back from 2020 Tommy John surgery by June, but setbacks shelved him until late September. He pitched just two innings. Lost season notwithstanding, the Mets could make a qualifying offer to Syndergaard, who has ace-caliber stuff when healthy.
  • Jose Urena (30): Non-tendered by the Marlins last winter, Urena pitched 100 2/3 innings with the Tigers but turned in a third straight season with an ERA over 5.00. A forearm strain cut his season short. He’s a minor league deal candidate this winter.
  • Vince Velasquez (30): Velasquez has tantalized the Phillies with impressive raw stuff for years but never been able to harness it as a consistently successful rotation member. Velasquez throw in the mid-90s, misses bats and won’t be 30 until next June. Plenty of teams will want to take aim at trying to “fix” him.
Players with 2022 Club/Player Options
  • Johnny Cueto, $22MM club option with $5MM buyout (36): Cueto looked like a fourth starter when he was healthy this year. Teams will view him as a veteran source of innings, but it’s hard to see the Giants picking up a net $17MM option.
  • Merrill Kelly, $4.25MM club option with $500K buyout (32): The D-backs have an easy call here after Kelly pitched to a 4.44 ERA in 158 innings. Kelly is an affordable source of innings at the back of the rotation and would command a fair bit of trade interest if Arizona goes that route.
  • Yusei Kikuchi, four-year, $66MM club option or $13MM player option (31): Kikuchi reportedly plans to exercise his $13MM player option once the Mariners decline their option to extend him at a set rate. Kikuchi was excellent for the first four months of the season or so, making the All-Star team and at one point looking like that extension option might be palatable for Seattle. He crashed hard over the final two months, however.
  • Carlos Martinez, $17MM club option with $500K buyout (30): This one’s a formality for the Cardinals, who’ll decline the option after watching Martinez pitch to a 6.95 ERA in 102 1/3 innings from 2020-21.
  • Wade Miley, $10MM club option with $1MM buyout (35): A net $9MM decision seems like an easy call for the Reds after Miley racked up 163 innings of 3.37 ERA ball. Cincinnati cut payroll last offseason, but it’d be a surprise to see them send Miley back to the market with such a reasonable 2022 option at their disposal.
  • Garrett Richards, $10MM club option with $1MM buyout (34): Richards was making good on his move to the bullpen before faceplanting in the final couple weeks of the season. With a 4.87 ERA in 136 2/3 innings, that option is likely to be bought out.
 

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  • Jon Gray (30): Gray went down with a forearm issue late in the season and was rocked upon returning, but it was a solid year for the former No. 3 overall draft pick when healthy. Gray throws hard, misses bats, keeps the ball on the ground and has solid command. He owns a 4.52 ERA and 4.01 FIP over four prior seasons, and he’s the type of prime-aged, power arm another team could dream on. Colorado opted not to trade him at the deadline, so a qualifying offer seems likely, as they’d otherwise stand to lose him without compensation.
  • https://www.baseball-reference.com/...n=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-
  • Noah Syndergaard (30): Syndergaard hoped to be back from 2020 Tommy John surgery by June, but setbacks shelved him until late September. He pitched just two innings. Lost season notwithstanding, the Mets could make a qualifying offer to Syndergaard, who has ace-caliber stuff when healthy.
  • https://www.baseball-reference.com/...n=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-
  • Michael Pineda (33): Injuries hampered Pineda throughout the season and likely prevented the Twins from trading him. There’s mutual interest between he and the Twins, so he could simply re-sign. If not, he’ll take a 3.62 ERA and a pristine walk rate (4.6%) into the free-agent market — but also a diminished heater (90.9 mph) and a career-worst strikeout rate (19.2%).
  • https://www.baseball-reference.com/...n=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-
  • James Paxton (33): Paxton, who missed most of 2020 with forearm and back injuries, pitched just one inning in his return to Seattle. He underwent Tommy John surgery in April. Paxton is one of the most talented pitchers in baseball, but he’s never made 30 starts in a season and has just 21 1/3 innings across the past two years.
  • https://www.baseball-reference.com/...n=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-
  • Danny Duffy (33): The longtime Royals lefty was excellent when healthy (2.51 ERA, 25.8% strikeout rate), but a pair of forearm injuries limited him to just 61 innings. Duffy never pitched for the Dodgers after being acquired in late July.
  • https://www.baseball-reference.com/...n=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-
  • Marcus Stroman (30): Stroman doesn’t miss bats at the level of the other top arms on this list, but he’s one of the game’s premier ground-ball pitchers and has better command than most of the names on this list. He’s made 32 or 33 starts in four of the past six seasons, with the exceptions coming in 2020 (when he tore a calf muscle and opted out of the remainder of the season) and in 2018, when he was limited to 19 starts by shoulder fatigue. That’s the only arm injury Stroman has ever had, and the 3.48 ERA he’s compiled over his past four seasons ranks 23rd among 138 qualified starters since 2017. This year’s 3.02 ERA ranked ninth among qualified pitchers. Fielding-independent metrics have never been quite as bullish on Stroman because of his below-average strikeout rate, but his age, durability, premium command and huge ground-ball rates make him one of the market’s top starters. He can’t receive a second qualifying offer and could command a five-year deal himself this winter.
 

CSF77

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Off that list:

Stroman is a #2.
Pax was out.
Duffy injured.
Pineda injured and fastball down to 90 MPH
Syndergaard out with TJ never made it back. Can get a QO
Gray can be hit with a QO

I would rather pass on all but Marcus here.

If you want to go big Robbie Ray and Stroman. Will cost 50-55M AAV combined to nab both.

If Jed targets a injured arm Rodon might be the best bet. He at least was pitching and was able to get up to 99 MPH when needed. Jed would have to use his arms pushed back to the pen to keep Carlos' innings down for the year. Maybe bump him here and there.

Robbie Ray is going in high right now and he should get the biggest over all deal. I do not see Jed going there. Marcus I do. He should be making a bit less. Rodon should come at a discount and I can see Jed doing this as he has tested youth to filter as needed.

About it on this.
 

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Jon Gray Has Reportedly Rejected Extension Offer From Rockies

By Anthony Franco | October 23, 2021 at 10:26pm CDT

Jon Gray rejected an extension offer the Rockies made him before the end of the regular season, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Gray continues to have interest in sticking with Colorado long-term, Saunders adds, although the expectation is now that he’ll at least test the open market.
There’s been reported mutual interest between the Rox and Gray in a long-term deal for months, but the sides have yet to line up on acceptable terms. Saunders suggests the right-hander could target a three or four-year deal with an average annual value in the $9-10MM range on the open market. Whether that kind of deal would be attainable could depend upon whether the Rockies tag Gray with a qualifying offer. Doing so would entitle the Rockies to draft pick compensation were he to sign elsewhere, although he’d be a strong candidate to accept an $18.4MM offer to return in 2022.
Perhaps that’d be a mutually agreeable outcome, since Colorado clearly has interest in retaining Gray. Despite already being out of postseason contention by late July, the Rockies seemingly made Gray unavailable relatively early on trade deadline day. That course of action makes little sense unless the team wants to keep him around, and subsequent reports made clear that’s the case.
Gray bounced back from an injury-plagued 2020 to post a solid season this year. Over 149 innings, the 29-year-old worked to a 4.59 ERA with average or better strikeout (24.4%), walk (9%) and ground-ball (48.4%) rates. He thrived at Coors Field, tossing 78 1/3 frames of 4.02 ERA ball while holding opponents to a .205/.291/.365 line in home starts. With how difficult it has proven for the Rockies to find pitchers capable of succeeding in the game’s most hitter-friendly environment, it’s easy to see why general manager Bill Schmidt and his staff have continually expressed interest in keeping Gray around.
Saunders adds some additional context on Colorado’s offseason priorities, writing that the club is expected to target “at least two impactful players.” What constitutes an impact addition is open to interpretation, but Saunders suggests the club will look for a power-hitting bat this winter, preferably an outfielder. He floats Nick Castellanos (almost certain to opt out of his contract with the Reds), Michael Conforto and utilityman Chris Taylor as possible targets.
That’s a varied collection of potential players of interest. Castellanos looks like a candidate for a nine-figure deal. Taylor has a strong case for a four-year contract in the $65+MM range. Conforto could land three or four years himself, but it’s also possible he looks for a one-year bounceback deal after a mediocre 2021 campaign. Signing any of that group would probably cost the Rockies a draft choice, as they’re all likely qualifying offer recipients.
As for other areas of need for the Rockies, Saunders floats the bullpen and middle infield. Shortstop Trevor Story is expected to reject a QO and sign elsewhere, leaving a middle infield vacancy. Former top prospect Brendan Rodgers has seemingly locked down one spot after hitting .284/.328/.470 across 415 plate appearances this past season. Rodgers is capable of manning either of shortstop or second base, leaving some flexibility for Schmidt and company in addressing the dirt.
Plugging all those position player gaps and/or retaining Gray would certainly make for a costly winter. Earlier this month, Colorado president Greg Feasel said the club was planning to increase payroll over the course of the next two offseasons — eventually pushing from 2021’s $118MM figure closer to their franchise-record $145MM mark from 2019. Colorado should indeed have spending room to work with, as Jason Martinez of Roster Resource estimates they have around $79MM in 2022 commitments at the moment — including projected arbitration salaries.
That financial flexibility should give the front office real room for upgrades, but they’ll have a tall task in constructing a contender. The Rockies have finished in fourth place in the NL West in each of the past three seasons, and the impending departure of Story only makes a return to contention in that loaded division harder. Despite those challenges, Saunders’ report reinforces that the Rockies aren’t planning to take a step back this winter. They’re at least plotting a hopeful win-now course of action that could see them remain in the market for some of the offseason’s top free agent hitters.
 

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Free Agent Faceoff: Kevin Gausman Vs. Robbie Ray

By Anthony Franco | October 23, 2021 at 5:30pm CDT

There are a few options for teams playing at the top of the starting pitching market to choose from this winter. Max Scherzer should land the highest average annual value, but his age (37) might cap the length of those offers at three years. Carlos Rodón had an utterly dominant platform year, but he dealt with some shoulder concerns at the end of the season that could be a red flag for teams. Marcus Stroman has a long track record of durability, great strike-throwing and elite ground-ball numbers, but he doesn’t miss bats the way most teams covet from their top-of-the-rotation arms.
It’s not out of the question someone from that trio could land a deal that surpasses general expectations. It seems more likely, though, that Kevin Gausman and Robbie Ray will ultimately wind up battling one another for the highest overall guarantee among pitchers. Let’s dig into each player’s profile to determine which one teams should have at the top of their preference lists.
For the first few seasons of his career, Gausman occasionally flashed the potential that had made him a top five draft pick. But he also had bouts of inconsistency and struggled badly enough in 2019 to be waived by the Braves and then non-tendered by the Reds, who had plucked him off the wire.
Since signing with the Giants over the 2019-20 offseason, Gausman has taken his game to a new level. His 3.62 ERA in 2020 was among the best marks of his career, and even that belied elite strikeout and walk numbers. That came in only twelve outings because of the shortened season, and Gausman accepted a qualifying offer last winter in hopes of proving he’d markedly improved over a bigger body of work.
Betting on himself is in position to pay off handsomely. Gausman stayed healthy all year, working 192 innings of 2.81 ERA ball. He didn’t quite sustain his 2020 strikeout rate, but this past season’s 29.3% mark still checked in fourteenth among the 129 hurlers with 100+ innings. Gausman’s 15.3% swinging strike rate was even more impressive, placing fifth among that same group. He’ll now market back-to-back great years of performance. He has missed bats at an elite level for the past few seasons, and the righty has always had plus control.
There’s not a whole lot to nitpick about Gausman’s numbers, although it’s at least worth considering that he succeeds somewhat non-traditionally. He’s tinkered with different breaking pitches but has never found an effective one. Instead, he leaned more heavily than ever on his four-seam fastball (52.7%) and splitter (35.3%) in 2021. Per Statcast, Gausman was one of just fourteen starting pitchers to use a split more than 10% of the time. Most teams are probably willing to look past that unconventional repertoire, since Gausman now has a multi-year track record of great play. Still, it’s a lot more common to see aces with a Ray-like arsenal (primarily fastball-slider), and that could be a factor for some clubs.
Great as Gausman was this past season, Ray was arguably better. The southpaw posted a 2.84 ERA over 193 1/3 frames. He thrived in a division that sent three other teams to the playoffs and split his year between a trio of home ballparks, all of which seemed to be favorable for hitters. Gausman spent the year in the National League, where he’d get to face the opposing pitcher on most nights; Ray wasn’t as fortunate pitching in the American League. And while Gausman turns 31 in January, Ray will pitch almost all of next season at age-30 before turning 31 in October.
Ray’s underlying metrics were similarly elite. He fanned 32.1% of opponents, the sixth-highest mark leaguewide. Ray checked in one spot ahead of Gausman on the swinging strike rate leaderboard, with his 15.5% mark ranking fourth. When batters did make contact against Ray, they were more successful than they’d been hitting against Gausman. Ray was more prone to hard contact and fly balls, and he indeed gave up more home runs. But on a batter-by-batter basis, they were similarly effective at preventing baserunners. Opponents hit .210/.267/.401 against Ray; they batted .210/.264/.345 off Gausman.
Of course, teams will take the players’ pre-2021 bodies of work into account when making a decision of this magnitude. For Gausman versus Ray, that only makes things more complicated. While Gausman was great in 2020, Ray had an awful season. He walked 17.9% of batters faced that year, posting a 6.62 ERA in 51 2/3 innings. It was a nightmarish year, but it’s also easy to see teams writing that off as a fluke. Not only was 2020 a season of inherent small samples, Ray made an obvious alteration to his throwing mechanics entering that year. Clearly, Ray’s pre-2020 adjustments negatively impacted his control, but he returned to his original throwing motion in 2021, as he explained to Kaitlyn McGrath of the Athletic last month.
While Gausman’s 2020 was unquestionably better than Ray’s, the latter had the better career track record going into that year. He was an All-Star in 2017, a year in which he finished seventh in NL Cy Young Award voting. He had a top ten strikeout rate (minimum 100 innings) every season from 2016-19. So while Ray was one of the worst pitchers in baseball in 2020, he certainly hasn’t come out of nowhere.
To recap: Gausman and Ray had similarly elite platform seasons. The former was also great in 2020, while the latter had a terrible season. Ray was far better before 2020, though, and he’s nearly a full year younger. Now, we’ll turn it over to the readership. Whom should teams looking to make a splash in free agency this winter prefer: Gausman or Ray?
 

Bust

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Cubs need 2 starters and <He Go We Go> leadoff guy to jump start the offense. Been playing musical chairs since Fowler left.

The Braves found their <he go we go> guy just in time for the playoffs. WOW!!

Lead off man Rosario is batting .474 and 1.017 OPS! woah

 

beckdawg

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Cubs need 2 starters and <He Go We Go> leadoff guy to jump start the offense. Been playing musical chairs since Fowler left.

The Braves found their <he go we go> guy just in time for the playoffs. WOW!!

Lead off man Rosario is batting .474 and 1.017 OPS! woah

I don't really agree re: leadoff guy. Cubs have both Madrigal and Hoerner So while I do agree that has been an area of need in previous seasons both of those guys are pretty typically what you'd look for out of a lead off hitter historically although if you're looking for more of a new age thinking with high walk rates they are less fitting. Also I think you could argue maybe they aren't as ready as they could be given their point in development but obviously the skillset plays well.
 

CSF77

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Ortega/Hoerner CF
Mad 2B
(Seager SS fingers crossed)
Schwindel 1B
Contreras C
Happ LF
Wisdom 3B
Heyward RF

Adding Mad and Seager should jump the O good enough.

The money needs to go to pitching more.
 

Bronek

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My favorite teams
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  1. Atlanta United FC
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Ortega CF
Mad 2B
Hoerner SS
Schwindel 1B
Contreras C
Happ LF
Wisdom 3B
Heyward RF

All money for quality pitching. ;)
 

Castor76

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Latest from Cots has the Cubs at just under 91M for 2022. IMO, the Cubs are going to need to add one impact bat at least and of course pitching, pitching, pitching. It would all depend on what payroll the Cubs would call being aggressive. It think it would be at least 175M.
 

CSF77

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Latest from Cots has the Cubs at just under 91M for 2022. IMO, the Cubs are going to need to add one impact bat at least and of course pitching, pitching, pitching. It would all depend on what payroll the Cubs would call being aggressive. It think it would be at least 175M.

CBA has ownership trying to lower tax from 210 to 180. But putting in a floor of 100 to prevent tanking.

Union should block the 180.

So Dec1 will be the due date and most feel that it will not be reached.

I get it. More balanced and no super teams. It would be nice but Unions normally fight tooth and nail over giving anything up even if it makes the game better over all.
 

CSF77

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That offense would be mediocre and that defense will be brutal.

Well Mad and Schwindel are not known for their gloves. Schwindel has been improving with help from the Cubs coaching. Mad is a D downgrade from Hoerner who plays GG level 2B D

So it is not brutal. Challenged a bit yes.

O wise downgrade. I would expect Seager to be a 30M tax hit. That would put the Cubs around 120 and still able to add.

rotation wise I expect 1 guy at 25M and the 2nd max 15M. That is a 160-170 budget if the 91M is correct. Which I have not looked into yet. 58M is what they have to do. Rest are picking up At and controlled.

Now if MLB approves the 29.5 YO F/A rule then things might get a bit complicated.
 

Castor76

Member
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CBA has ownership trying to lower tax from 210 to 180. But putting in a floor of 100 to prevent tanking.

Union should block the 180.

So Dec1 will be the due date and most feel that it will not be reached.

I get it. More balanced and no super teams. It would be nice but Unions normally fight tooth and nail over giving anything up even if it makes the game better over all.

I agree with you there. I don't see the union letting the CBT be lowered. The floor idea I actually like. And I think the teams that already have payrolls above or close to that really won't want that. They possibly get a 75-80 M floor though.
 

CSF77

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And if approved it should become interesting.

Does that change the arb rules? It feels Pandora's box a bit.
 

CSF77

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I agree with you there. I don't see the union letting the CBT be lowered. The floor idea I actually like. And I think the teams that already have payrolls above or close to that really won't want that. They possibly get a 75-80 M floor though.

The Union would be good with 100M and that is an apple by the ownerships.

Let's face it it is a mess. Have and have not.

If A team is forced to hold a 100M team and can't afford it what happens? Forced to relocate?

It is a Pandora's box a bit.

If A team like the Cubs has 3 late bloomers like they do. Now they can lose control based off of time vs service time. So that is one can of worms. Forcing a owener to pay 100M per means he can't loophole. Add payroll and shit can it for payroll savings and fresh blood.

To be honest if they did force it and it forced some of these clowns to sell it is not a bad thing at all. Better product. Shoot get a team in Mexico. At least those games would be insane.
 

CSF77

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Mexico City Matadors
London BullDogs
Tokyo Tsunami
Hong Kong Islanders
Beijing Dragons
Paris Towers

We can go on here.
 

knoxville7

2020 CCS Fantasy Football Champion(Yahoo League)
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Super teams are good for sports. People either love or hate them, they get the most extreme feelings out of fans
 

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