Free agent frenzy sends familiar faces to new places in MLB
Many familiar faces with impressive resumes are in new places following one of major league baseball’s wildest free-agent frenzies.
Max Scherzer and Corey Seager got megadeals before the lockout. Freddie Freeman had to wait until spring training to get his lucrative contract. Trevor Story jumped leagues and changed positions. Nick Castellanos switched red pinstripes.
Kris Bryant stayed in the NL West. Carlos Correa stayed in the American League.
Other stars ended up with new teams via trades. Matt Chapman went from the A’s to the Blue Jays. The Marines got outfielder Jesse Winker and third baseman Eugenio Suarez from the Reds. Oakland also traded Matt Olson, sending him to the Braves. The Yankees got Josh Donaldson from the Twins.
Fans may need to pull out their programs to go with those cold beers, hot dogs and Cracker Jack to keep track of who ended up where.
A look at some of the many moves:
MAX SCHERZER: The three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star returned to the NL East, signing a $130 million, three-year deal with the New York Mets. He’s coming off a 15-4, 2.46 ERA season split between with Washington and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
COREY SEAGER: The two-time All-Star shortstop and 2020 World Series MVP got the richest deal, a $325 million, 10-year contract to leave the Dodgers for the Texas Rangers. He joined Gold Glove second baseman Marcus Semien in Texas. Semien, who hit 45 homers for Toronto last year, got a $175 million, seven-year contract from the Rangers hours before Seager on Dec. 1.
FREDDIE FREEMAN: The 2020 NL MVP is out of Atlanta after helping the Braves win the World Series, heading back home to play for the Dodgers, who gave him $162 million, six-year contract. Freeman’s decision to leave came after the Braves acquired first baseman Matt Olson from Oakland.
TREVOR STORY: A four-time All-Star shortstop in Colorado, Story signed a $140 million, six-year contract with Boston to play second base. He joins shortstop Xander Bogaerts to form a powerful middle infield.
KRIS BRYANT: The Rockies signed the versatile 2016 NL MVP, giving him a $182 million, seven-year contract. Bryant was traded from the Cubs to the Giants last season after making his fourth All-Star game.
ROBBIE RAY: After winning the AL Cy Young Award in Toronto, the left-hander got a $115 million, five-year contract from Seattle.
CARLOS CORREA: A two-time All-Star shortstop and the AL 2015 AL Rookie of the Year, Correa left Houston for Minnesota, getting a $105.3 million, three-year contract. But Correa can opt out after the 2022 and 2023 seasons to become a free agent again.
NICK CASTELLANOS: The 2021 All-Star outfield got a $100 million, five-year contract from the Phillies after a career season in Cincinnati. Castellanos joined slugger Kyle Schwarber, who received a $79 million, four-year from Philadelphia.
KENLEY JANSEN: The longtime Dodgers closer and three-time All-Star with 350 career saves joined the defending champion Braves on a one-year, $18 million deal.
JORGE SOLER: The 2021 World Series MVP remained in the NL East, signing a three-year, $36 million contract with the Marlins. Soler led the AL with 48 homers in 2019 for Kansas City.
NELSON CRUZ: The veteran designated hitter is back in the NL where he spent his first season in 2005 with Milwaukee. The Nationals gave the 41-year-old Cruz a $12 million salary for this year, and the deal includes a $16 million mutual option for 2023 with a $3 million buyout.
KEVIN GAUSMAN: Third time was a charm for the Blue Jays, who signed Gausman away from San Francisco with a $110 million, five-year contract. The right-hander had spurned free agent offers from Toronto each of the previous two offseasons.
STARLING MARTE: The Mets gave Marte $78 million for four years to be their center fielder. He led the majors in stolen bases last year, but has been slowed this spring by an oblique injury. Their big splash before the lockout also included signing infielder Eduardo Escobar to a $20 million, two-year deal and giving outfielder/first baseman Mark Canha $26.5 million over two years with a club option.
JAVIER BÁEZ: The two-time All-Star and Gold Glove-winning shortstop signed a $140 million, six-year deal with Detroit before the lockout. He finished last season with the Mets after a trade from the Cubs.
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