Chicago Cubs sign Marcus Stroman to three-year deal
As expected, and as we covered late last night, MLB did indeed implement a lockout of hte players beginning early Thursday morning, and so teams had until yesterday to get transactions across the wire before a freeze went into place. There were a few relatively big signings to come in before that deadline, and for our purposes we will lead off with the Marcus Stroman signing, as the righty heads to the Cubs on a three-year deal. The deal is worth a total of $71 million.
Stroman was probably the best mid-tier starter available on the market this year, though I suppose that depends on your definition of mid-tier. Either way, the righty is coming off a season in which he pitched to a 3.02 ERA with the Mets over the course of 179 innings. This was the third time in the past four seasons he has finished with his park-adjusted ERA being at least 20 percent better than league-average. He joins a Cubs team that is in something of a rebuild after trading many of their best players over the summer. Stroman should head a rotation that includes fellow veterans Kyle Hendricks and Wade Miley, a rotation that should put a lot of pressure on their defense.
Why Red Sox fans should care: After the additions of Rich Hill, and to a lesser extent James Paxton, Boston is likely done with their rotation building save for perhaps some depth signings on minor-league deals. Stroman was a favorite option for many Red Sox fans though given the mix of a relatively low price tag (in comparison to some other top starters) and the track record of success mentioned above. That said, as we’ve talked about here the fit is a little less than ideal given his leaning on ground balls in combination with Boston’s poor infield defense.
Los Angeles Angels sign Raisel Iglesias to four-year deal
The relief market this winter was not a super exciting one, with just one top-tier name on the board. He is no longer on the board, as Raisel Iglesias is heading back for another season with the Angels. Very early Wednesday morning it was reported that the righty is heading back to L.A. on a four-year deal worth $58 million.
It’s always risky to sign a high-profile reliever like this to a multi-year deal as bullpen arms are often volatile, but Igelsias is part of that top tier of reliever that tends to be more steady than those in the tiers below. He was on the shortlist of best relievers in baseball this past season, pitching to a 2.57 ERA with a 2.83 FIP. He struck out 38 percent of batters while walking just 4.4 percent. He will be back as the closer for the Angels for a second straight year, and L.A. forfeits the right to earn a draft pick if he had signed elsewhere.
Why Red Sox fans should care: This is the kind of big splash I would have been satisfied with and one that I would have hoped the Red Sox would seriously consider. We should mention we have no idea how willing Iglesias was to leave L.A., if at all, but if he would have considered it he would have fit Boston. Yes, giving up a draft pick for a reliever is risky, but the Red Sox effectively have three second rounders, which softens the blow of losing one. If Garrett Whitlock is going to start as many of us expect, they have a real hole in the ninth inning and it’s a lot easier said than done to fill it.
Los Angeles Dodgers sign Chris Taylor to four-year deal
The other big signing from Wednesday was another L.A. team bringing back a player who would have fetched them draft pick compensation had they signed elsewhere. This time we are talking about super utility man Chris Taylor, who heads back to the Dodgers on a four-year deal in which he will be paid $60 million.
Taylor was one of the more interesting players on the market and I suspect would have received a whole lot of interest had he not been given a qualifying offer. He was right on the edge of that quality, though, and it likely supressed his market. Still, a four-year deal is nothing to sneeze at. Taylor is coming off a year in which he hit .254/.344/.438 for a 113 wRC+. He can play all over the diamond, giving the Dodgers plenty of flexibility to fill out the rest of their lineup.
Why Red Sox fans should care: After the success Boston had in signing Enrique Hernández, another former Dodgers super utility man, many looked at Taylor as a potential signing to fill the hole at second base. He was near the top of my list until he got the qualifying offer, at which point I still would have taken him, but was less excited about the prospect. If the team was going to give up a draft pick for a second baseman, I would have preferred Marcus Semien.
Other notable moves
Those are all the moves we’ll write up for today, but there were other notable moves to mention.
- Arizona Diamondbacks sign Mark Melancon to two-year deal
- Philadelphia Phillies sign Corey Knebel to one-year deal
- Minnesota Twins sign Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal.
- San Diego Padres sign Luis Garcia to a two-year deal.
- Seattle Mariners sign Andrés Muñoz to a four-year extension.
- Baltimore Orioles sign Jordan Lyles to a one-year deal.