As baseball’s opening weekend draws to a close, teams around the league are settling in for the long haul of the season. As teams battle for division and league dominance, let’s look at some major stories from the last week around Major League Baseball.
Padres Sign Cronenworth To Long-Term Deal
The San Diego Padres have certainly shown this offseason that they aren’t afraid to spend money as they brought in high-profile Xander Bogaerts and signed third baseman Manny Machado to a long-term deal through 2033. On Friday, they spent even more money as they agreed to a long-term extension with infielder Jake Cronenworth.
First reported by The Athletic’s Dennis Lin, Cronenworth is signing a seven-year deal worth around $80 million. It also includes a limited no-trade clause.
The 29-year-old Cronenworth hit .239/.332/.390 with 17 home runs, 88 runs batted in, and 88 runs scored last season in 587 at-bats. He is also versatile as he has played all over the infield for the Padres, although he will primarily play first for the Padres this season.
This new deal buys out two years of arbitration and five years of free agency. Given that the deal kicks in next year, it will take Cronenworth through his age-36 season.
The Padres currently have the second-best odds of winning the NL West at +120 and the sixth-best odds of winning the World Series at +1000.
Pair Of High Profile Lefties Hit The IL
While opening weekend was mostly filled with excitement, there were some notable injuries, particularly with a couple of solid lefties.
On Saturday, the Atlanta Braves put lefty Max Fried on the injured list as he suffered a hamstring injury. Fried sustained the injury after just 43 pitches in his first start.
Last season, the 29-year-old Fried went 14-7 with a 2.48 ERA in 30 starts. He also had 170 strikeouts in 185.1 innings of work.
It’s a blow to Atlanta’s starting rotation, but they should have the depth to cover what is not seen as a significant injury. The Braves are currently the favorite to win the NL East (-105) and have the second-best odds of winning the World Series (+750).
Elsewhere, lefty Robbie Ray of the Seattle Mariners is hitting the injured list with a left flexor strain. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, assuming he has no setbacks.
Ray won the AL Cy Young in 2021 with the Blue Jays, but he has been somewhat disappointing for the Mariners since they signed him to a big deal the following offseason. Last year, in 32 starts, he went 12-12 with a 3.71 ERA.
In other minor Mariners’ news, they traded for utility man Nick Solak over the weekend. Acquired from the Reds for cash considerations, Solak gives the team more depth throughout the diamond as he can play infield and outfield.
In just 82 at-bats last season with the Rangers, Solak hit .207/.309/.329 with three home runs, four RBI, and 14 runs scored.
Seattle has the second-best odds of winning the AL West at +360.
Sanchez Finally Finds Deal
Once highly-touted catcher Gary Sanchez had a rough offseason finding employment. That changed on Friday as the San Francisco Giants signed the 30-year-old to a minor league deal.
Last season with the Twins, Sanchez hit .205/.282/.377 with 16 home runs, 61 RBI, and 42 runs scored.
While the minor league deal doesn’t guarantee anything for Sanchez, it is nice insurance for the Giants if Joey Bart or Roberto Perez don’t get it done.