Breaking News Megathread: Gausman to Toronto, Gray to Texas + Buxton & Semien
With the CBA set to expire this upcoming Wednesday, expect a flurry of moves upcoming. Tonight we have a ton of deals to report. These include Byron Buxton, Marcus Semien, Gausman, and our latest breaking news:
Jon Gray to the Texas Rangers.
Tweets, Contract Details, and Thoughts on all the major announcements inside:
Buxton deal with Twins, per source: Seven years, $100M. Full no-trade clause. — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 28, 2021
The madness is just beginning. This is gonna be a whale of a 24 hours. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 28, 2021
More details: $1M signing bonus. 2022 salary-$9M 2023-28-$15M per season MVP bonuses, believed to be unprecedented, for every year of deal. 1st-$8M 2nd-$7M 3rd-$6M 4th-$5M 5th-$4M 6th-through-10th: $3M Also: $500K each for 502, 533, 567, 600 and 625 plate appearances. https://t.co/leTEjfa4wR — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 28, 2021
Semien Rangers deal is believed to be for about $175M over the 7 years — Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 28, 2021
Yankees showed interest in Semien but stopped short of 7 years. Texas wanted to upgrade offense and it is off to a good start. — Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 28, 2021
BREAKING: Right-hander Kevin Gausman and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a five-year, $110 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021
thank you airplane wifi for working 🙏 — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021
Jon Gray’s deal with Texas is for four years, sources tell ESPN. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021
Jon Gray will get $56 million over four years from Texas, pending a physical, according to a source. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021
On Byron Buxton’s Extension:
Well, if there is one way to make me feel any better about having the oft-injured Aaron Hicks taking up $10M of the payroll every year, I can take solace in the fact that the Minnesota Twins will be paying Byron Buxton $14M to do the same. *And they always said the Yankees ran with a big payroll!*
Jokes aside, this move could have a big pay-off IF (and that is a very very very big IF) Byron Buxton can stay healthy. He has played in 81+ games just 3 times in his 7 year MLB career and since 2017 (so I am counting his 140 game season) he has played in just 50.1% of his teams games. This goes down to 39.3% if you count from 2018 on.
Buxton has still put up 16.2 bWAR even while playing in such few games for the Minnesota Twins. There is something to be said about that. He put up 4.5 bWAR in just 61 games in 2021 while hitting to an OPS that was above 1.000. There is no doubt he is a great player.
However, this is not going to work out for the Twins. Players who rely on speed do not age well. Players who are injury prone do not age well. Byron Buxton is entering his age-28 season and will now be on the books for Minnesota until he is 35. Color me shocked if he’s truly worth the contract for the headache of trying to always find another worthy center fielder to play in the twin city.
On Marcus Semien Signing (Texas):
The Texas Rangers (who as I was writing this also just signed Kole Calhoun (OF)) are looking to make a serious push to contend. Marcus Semien is a good piece to grab if you’re looking to do so. However, at 7 years they are making a serious commitment to a player who is likely to be leaving his prime, soon. No ill will to Semien, who put up fantastic seasons in both 2019 and 2021 (being 3rd in MVP voting both seasons), but we just saw with DJ LeMahieu that a 30-year old infielder and recent MVP vote getter can fall off quick.
One very promising thing about Semien is that he plays a lot. 162 games in 2021, 53 of 60 games in 2020, 162 games in 2019, and 159 in 2018. I am a very big fans of players who, well, players who play and Marcus Semien is one of the best at doing so (4th most games played since 2018).
Of Semien’s 28.7 career bWAR, 15.6 of that came in 2019 and 2021. And that means he can put up numbers to really be a stud on his team. From 2015-2018, Semien put up 11.5 bWAR while being a little up and down from around 2 bWAR to around 4 bWAR. He’s quietly been a great player.
However, in this shortstop market, going into a 7-year commitment with a guy who is entering his age-31 season is a big risk for the future. If the Texas Rangers are going to go all-in, now is the time to spend and get more talent to put around Semien before it is too late. (And it looks as though Trevor Story is not off their books as another player to sign, quick. Intrigue!)
On Kevin Gausman Signing (Toronto):
You gotta give credit to Kevin Gausman, he played a risky game by taking a 1-year contract going into the 2021 season and now turned it into a $110M free agent deal after a great year with the San Francisco Giants.
Gausman finished 6th in the 2021 NL Cy Young award after posting a 2.81 ERA over 192.0 innings and an MLB-leading 33 games started. Gausman started his MLB career in 2013 with the Baltimore Orioles before being traded to the Atlanta Braves for a prospect package in 2018. He then had a stint with the Cincinnati Reds after getting claimed off waivers and became a San Francisco Giant in free agency in 2020.
Gausman is entering his age-31 season and looks to have turned a corner after back-to-back seasons with an ERA under 3.70- the first time in his career. Ultimately for the Yankees it didn’t seem as though there was much interest in acquiring the former in-division rival, though now he becomes a division rival again. Even if he does not produce to ace material (this could mean the Blue Jays don’t expect to bring back Robbie Ray), Gausman does go a good job eating innings, as he has pitched 175+ innings in 4 of the last 5 non-shortened seasons (the outlier being 2019).
On Jon Gray (Texas):
Texas makes their 3rd acquisition of the day. They are really going for it! You have to give some of these teams credit. Jon Gray is a pitcher who will be escaping the worst pitching ballpark in the MLB (Coors Field) with pretty decent numbers of a 4.59 ERA and +11.0 bWAR.
Especially because he is going to the spacious Globe Life Field complex, basic statistics wise the Rangers are likely to have made a good deal here. Evaluators around the league believe some tinkering to Gray’s fastball could help him a ton outside of the elevation.
4/$56M is a solid deal (AAV of $14M), though Gray is only entering his age-30 season so he was on the younger side of the starting pitcher market. Solid move for Texas. (I wonder what the Yankees are doing.)