Welcome back to MLB Roundup. It’s been a while! As a refresher, the title is pretty self-explanatory. This is a daily feature (or mostly daily, as there are some days with no news to report) running through spring training in which we go through the big league-wide news from the previous day, and tell you why you as a Red Sox fan should care.
Clayton Kershaw returns to the Dodgers
It took a little bit longer for the free agent market to pick up post-lockout than I think some of us were expecting, but we did finally start to see some movement as the afternoon rolled along on Friday. Much like before the lockout, it was pitching taking center stage on this first day of movement. We’ll start with a reunion, as Clayton Kershaw agreed to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers on a one-year deal. The 34-year-old southpaw will be paid $17 million plus incentives.
Kershaw is, of course, a Dodgers legend and spent most of the last decade as the best pitcher in the game, but in recent years injuries have started to pile up and he’s been available less and less. He’s still been very good when on the mound — he finished 2021 with 3.55 ERA and a 3.00 FIP over 121 innings — but it’s hard to know how many innings he can give these days. Still, it was not a foregone conclusion he’d go back to the only organization he’s played for, with some smoke around him potentially going to the Rangers becoming prevalent before the lockout. With Kershaw, L.A. now has their top three locked in with him, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urías. Trevor Bauer could be in that mix as well, though his status is still unclear as MLB just extended his stay on administrative leave.
Why Red Sox fans should care: It never really seemed like Kershaw was much of a possibility for the Red Sox, but he does stay out of the American League. Other than that, not a ton of Red Sox impact here if we’re being honest.
Carlos Rodón signs two-year deal with the Giants
Shortly before that Kershaw signing, it was the Dodgers biggest rival making a move on the pitching front by grabbing one of the most intriguing arms on the market. That would be former White Sox top five overall pick Carlos Rodón. The lefty signed a two-year deal with the Giants with an opt-out after the first year. The total value of the deal comes in at $44 million.
The Giants were probably the biggest surprise in all of baseball last year, not only making it to the postseason but running through the regular season with ease and racking up over 100 wins. Looking forward to this year, they lost Kevin Gausman in free agency before the lockout after he signed with the Blue Jays, leaving a big hole atop their rotation. The emergence of Logan Webb last season helped, and now Rodón gives them another big upside play as well. Injury issues have been littered throughout his career, but he broke out in a huge way when healthy in 2021, pitching to a 2.37 ERA and a 2.65 FIP.
Why Red Sox fans should care: Adding another starting pitcher doesn’t really seem to be in the cards for Boston, if they were to sign another arm a high-upside pitcher on a short-term deal would seem to me as the most likely move. Rodón represented the best option on that front. The injury risk is enough that I’m not too upset about missing out, though at the start of the offseason I was very intrigued by the idea.
- Martín Pérez signs one-year deal with the Rangers. The lefty has, of course, been with the Red Sox for the last two seasons, mostly pitching admirably as a long reliever or back-end starter, but he really shouldn’t be more than depth for a good team. Instead, he returns back to his original organization and a rebuilding Rangers team.
- Brandon Workman signs a minor-league deal with the Rangers. Texas is just grabbing all of the former Red Sox pitchers. Workman made 19 appearances with the Red Sox last season, plus 10 more with the Cubs, finishing with a 5.46 ERA.
- Drew VerHagen signs two-year deal with the Cardinals. A former Tigers righty, he’s spent the last couple of seasons in Japan and pitched well enough to come back to the States with a major-league deal. This deal is especially notable as it was the first signing in the league after the lockout.
- Cubs sign Andrelton Simmons to a one-year deal. Simmons is a well below-average bat at this point in his career, and while he’s still plus with the glove he’s no longer the otherworldly shortstop he was in his prime.