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One of the new eCommerce terms is “Cyber 5,” which spans Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. Significant stretch for many worldwide businesses as they drive customers to their websites in hopes of generating more activity and revenue. It so happens that Major League Baseball is seeing a lot of action during their own Cyber 5 before Wednesday’s CBA deadline.
After missing out on their old friend, Steven Matz, new Mets GM Billy Eppler helped his boss Steve Cohen feel better by signing IF Eduardo Escobar and OF Mark Canha on Friday. Shortly before Midnight, one of the big free agent dominos fell when the Mets also signed OF Starling Marte.
First reported by Jon Heyman of Audacy Sports, the deal for Marte is four years and $78 million. In my Offseason Plan Project, my proposed offer from a White Sox point-of-view was four years and $62 million. I’d say that Marte did quite well for himself.
Now the New York Mets outfield is Marte, Canha, and Brandon Nimmo. Many covering MLB assume that the National League will adopt the Designated Hitter rule after a new CBA. There’s a chance the Mets may bring back Michael Conforto as a DH option, but less likely after the Canha and Marte signings, which is good news for the Chicago White Sox if they are still interested in finding an outside solution for right field.
Escobar, now off the market, does dwindle the free-agent options at second base. A possible trade idea revisited was Adam Frazier. However, San Diego traded Frazier to Seattle for LHP Ray Kerr and OF Corey Rosier. That move would allow the Padres to keep Jake Cronenworth at second base.
Seattle acquiring Frazier does pose whether another team is dropping out of the Marcus Semien sweepstakes. If the Mariners are out on Semien, that’s good news for the White Sox who are interested. Everyone knows the White Sox need to address the position but is Rick Hahn trying to leverage a Craig Kimbrel trade in hopes of a return that takes care of second base? The obvious possibility is Philadelphia, in which they could make Jean Segura, Didi Gregorious, or Scott Kingery available in a possible return. Segura would be the best get out of that trio.
According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Phillies already needed help in their bullpen, even more so now after RHP Hector Neris signed with the Houston Astros. Neris saved 12 games for the Phillies in 2021, and in eight seasons with Philadelphia, had a 3.42 ERA appearing in 405 games. Ian Kennedy and Archie Bradley are free agents, which leaves general manager Dave Dombrowski with RHP Connor Brogdon, LHP Jose Alvarado, and RHP Sam Coonrod currently as the Phillies’ high leverage options.
Speaking of Kimbrel, hopefully, there is a resolution before the CBA expires. After the reported signing of Kendall Graveman, the White Sox currently have $38 million tied to Kimbrel, Graveman, and closer Liam Hendriks. While that amount is not necessarily an issue, for an organization that hasn’t flirted with the Luxury Tax, it’s a significant part of their 26-man player payroll budget for pitchers who might combine for 240 innings in 2022.
To compare, the White Sox current starting rotation of Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Cease, and Michael Kopech are on track to make north of $45 million pending arbitration settlements.
Finally, the next big free agent to sign appears to be RHP Kevin Gausman. According to Jon Morosi, Gausman has likely a five-year deal, and that the Toronto Blue Jays are one of the serious bidders for his services. After the money they have committed to Jose Berrios if the Blue Jays sign Gausman, it makes one wonder if LHP Robbie Ray is destined for a new home.
While fans are dreading Wednesday’s CBA deadline as the league would enter a lockout and activity will cease, in a way, it’s created a de facto deadline for agents and general managers to make deals. Maybe we see what the Mets pulled off on Black Friday during the Winter Meetings in a typical offseason. Now that there won’t be Winter Meetings for MLB, that activity has been pushed into November. It’s a refreshing change of pace, even if it comes from a pending work stoppage.