Wednesday Newsletter time: Did Noah Syndergaard's one-year deal set bar for Texas Rangers' pursuit of Clayton Kershaw?
The Angels agreed to a one-year, $21 million contract with Syndergaard, and they must surrender a draft pick.
The Los Angeles Angels took a step toward trying to be relevant in the standings again Tuesday when they agreed to a one-year, $21 million deal with right-hander Noah Syndergaard.
The native Texan and Mansfield Legacy grad logged two innings in 2021 after recovering from Tommy John surgery and some ensuing setbacks, and dealing with a late-season positive COVID test. Those were his first two innings since 2019.
There would seem to be a ton of risk for $21 million, plus the Angels must surrender their second-round pick as compensation after Syndergaard turned down a qualifying offer from the New York Mets.
The money and the draft choice, combined, might have been too much for the Rangers, but that kind of money might not deter them from attempting to sign free-agent left-hander Clayton Kershaw.
There’s no compensation attached to Kershaw, and one-year deals have long been a favorite of club executives around the game. Boom or bust, it’s only a one-year commitment and then teams have the money back in their budget the next offseason.
There would be a ton of risk with a Kershaw deal, too, but just for one season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the perceived front-runners to re-sign Kershaw, who has never played for another team and who really likes to win. The Rangers are the perceived front-runners to sign Kershaw if he doesn’t go back to the Dodgers, likely because geography and not their slim chances at contending in 2022.
Kershaw is from Dallas, still lives there in the offseason, and has become good friends with fellow Highland Park graduate Chris Young. Yes, the one who is the Rangers’ general manager.
One thing worth mentioning: Kershaw finished the season injured and told the Dodgers he doesn’t want to take their money without knowing for sure he’s going to be fully healthy.
He injured his forearm in late September. It’s been roughly six weeks since he received a platelet-rich plasma injection in the arm in the hopes of avoiding surgery. If he’s throwing, he likely just started his throwing program.
Considering that part of the reason the Dodgers didn’t give him a qualifying offer was so that he didn’t feel rushed to make a decision in the 10-day window, it seems like Kershaw won’t be a quick sign.
That doesn’t mean he will sign later — for all we know, the Rangers medical people have already looked at his scans and given their blessing — but signing late is a possibility that hadn’t previously been mentioned by the Newsletter.
First step for Suzuki
The Hiroshima Carp confirmed that they will be posting outfielder Seiya Suzuki this offseason. Once he is posted, teams have 30 days to attempt to sign him.
The Rangers are thought to be one of the teams interested in the 27-year-old, who hit 38 home runs this season. Suzuki is more athletic and a better hitter than the last Japanese position player to make the transition from Nippon Professional Baseball to the majors, Yoshi Tsutsugo.
Tsutsugo has been a disappointment and is with his third organization since signing with Tampa Bay in 2020.
Suzuki can be signed without a team having to surrender draft-pick compensation. A team does have to surrender a posting fee, which is a percentage of the contract value.
If it’s over $50 million, as Suzuki’s contract is projected to be, the Carp would receive 20% of the first $25 million, 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of the balance over $50 million.
How I voted
I was selected to vote for the American League Manager of the Year, and I submitted my ballot on the final day of the regular season. The postseason is not considered in voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays won the award for the second straight year, beating Seattle Mariners managers Scott Servais and Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros.
Here’s how I voted: Cash, Baker, Servais.
Cash has arguably the toughest job in baseball, working with a roster put together on a piece-meal budget and operating with a heavy dose of analytics. Baker dealt with significant injuries (Justin Verlander, Alex Bregman) in leading the Astros to the AL West title. Servais helped Seattle make a late push after some upheaval in the clubhouse following a curious trade deadline by the front office.
It wasn’t pretty, but he got the job done. Enjoy. See you Thursday.