Pitchers and catchers have reported, position players are reporting this week, and by next week we will have actual spring training baseball games. Even though the weather around the country might not reflect it, spring is right around the corner, and April 1st’s Opening Day will be here before you know it.
While most teams have solidified their rosters as they enter spring training, there has still been some movement on the free-agent market over the last week. Let’s look at some of the biggest signings to go down.
Mets Add Taijuan Walker To Rotation
In what has been a very busy offseason for the New York Mets, they added another piece this week to bolster their starting rotation as they signed righty Taijuan Walker to a two-year deal worth $20 million.
Walker and fellow newcomer Carlos Carrasco will join Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman to give a very formidable one through four for their rotation. The fifth spot is projected to be David Peterson until Noah Syndergaard returns from injury, but the Mets have done a nice job ensuring they have the depth for their rotation this offseason.
Last season, Walker pitched well for both the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays. In total, he went 4-3 with a 2.70 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and struck out 50 in 53.1 innings.
Always seen a player who had the stuff to be a star, Walker has struggled with injuries and inconsistency throughout his career. Just 28 years old, the Mets are hoping that he could figure things out last year and be a solid piece to their rotation this season.
The Mets have now brought in Walker, Carlos Carrasco, Francisco Lindor, James McCann, Trevor May, Aaron Loup, Jose Martinez, Jose Peraza, Joey Lucchesi, Sean Reid-Foley, and others this offseason. In a loaded NL East, they hope it will be enough. They are currently +145 to win the NL East, +550 to win the National League, and +1000 to win the World Series.
Yankees And Brett Gardner Reunite
It seemed like only a matter of time, but this week the New York Yankees officially brought outfielder Brett Gardner back into the fold. The 37-year-old agreed to a $4 million deal over one year that also includes a team option.
Last season, Gardner hit just .223/.354/.392 with five home runs, 15 runs batted in, and 20 runs scored in 130 at-bats. Still, he is just a couple of years removed from hitting a career-high 28 home runs in 2019.
The Yankees are currently the favorites to win the American League at +230 and have the second-best odds (+550) to win the World Series.
A’s Bring In Rosenthal To Close
After letting both Liam Hendricks (Chicago White Sox) and Marcus Semien (Toronto Blue Jays) depart via free agency, there was a belief that the Oakland Athletics would pinch pennies this offseason. In a series of savvy moves over the last couple of weeks, that mindset has shifted. The club has agreed to a one-year, $11 million deal with righty Trevor Rosenthal to replace Hendricks.
Last season, with the Royals and the Padres, Rosenthal went a combined 1-0 with 11 saves, a 1.90 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 38 strikeouts in 23.2 innings pitched.
Interestingly, even though it is a one-year deal, the contract will be paid over the course of the next three seasons. He will make $3 million both this year and next, followed by $5 million in 2023.
In addition to Rosenthal, the A’s also brought in Elvis Andrus to play shortstop in a trade with the Texas Rangers. They also solidified their designated hitter position with the addition of Mitch Moreland.
Oakland is currently +2500 to win the World Series and +1000 to win the American League.