SAN DIEGO – Carlos Rodon’s market could be the next proof of the inflation of free agency. Rodon is another version of last year’s Ruby Ray. Both were coming off the 29-year-old’s regular season seasons with nearly identical numbers in innings pitched (Ray had more, 191.1-178), ERA (Ray had a little less, 2.84 to 2.88), ERA+ (Edge to Ray, 157-140). ) and WHIP (Rodon by Smidgen, 1.03–1.04).
Ray won the AL Cy Young Award. Rodon finished sixth in NL Award voting. Both leftists have reinvented themselves through mechanical changes. Ray signed with Seattle for $115 million over five years. Rodón aims higher, and in this highly charged market and with Yankees And the Dodgers With interest, the question now is how high can the numbers go up? No free agent player has signed for six years or more since 2019. Rodón and Kodai Senga may get there.
Rodon is a different pitcher than he was when he struggled with injuries and mechanics earlier in his career. The same man who once lived on fastballs and sliders, has established himself in 2022 as a leading fastball monster. Rodon has thrown more high fastballs than anyone else in baseball. He averaged 95.5 mph on his heater with a spin rate of 2349 while keeping him averaging 3.05 feet off the ground. Here are the most extreme fastball pitchers, based on average height with at least 1,000 homers: Christian Javier (3.09), Rodon (3.05) and Justin Verlander (3.03). Giving Rodon six or more years means believing that the transformation is sustainable.
• The Cubs made a smart move by taking One year opportunity on Cody Bellinger, who is only 27 years old. They plan to play center field. Although he had a poor run last season, Bellinger was one of only three players last season to hit 19 homers and steal 14 bases while playing center field. Other Rookie of the Year winners were Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez and Atlanta’s Michael Harris. Last time a Cubs quarterback (at least 100 games) hit 20 home runs? Corey Patterson in 2004. Only three Cubs quarterbacks have hit 25: Huck Wilson (four times), Andy Pafko and Rick Monday, most recently in 1973. The sample size is small (nine games) but Bellinger loves hitting at Wrigley Field: .321 / .429 / .536.
• Brandon Nemo’s market is strong, although he’s much better left field (with the Yankees, for example) than center field (blue jaysAnd the giants And the Rocky). Nimmo played the deepest pitch in baseball last year to increase his defensive metrics. He moved seven feet deep into center field—and 17 feet deeper than he did in 2019. Nimmo played 14 feet deeper than Bellinger, who played the shallowest center field.
• Desperate for power Guardians He made a smart buy in the free agent market with Josh Bell. But you are preparing to contradict Bill. Over the past three full seasons, the difference between his halves of his seasons in batting average was 117 points, 32 points, and 69 points.
• Major League Baseball is in talks with the players’ union about closing a loophole in the rules of play: Why are players still allowed to close the bases when the batter is not allowed to close home plate? The two sides are exploring whether to forbid the practice of sneakers dropping to the knee to take the base off the sliding runner, a tactic that can be dangerous, especially for sliding runners hands-first. They also take another crack at articulating the run path rule to first base, which is a constant source of controversy. They are not thinking of eliminating it.
• MLB also continues to tighten protocols for contacting baseballs with mud before games to reduce slippery skin. The changes began in the middle of last season and have resulted in a more consistent state of baseball. Home team employees rub baseballs. Some did it 24 hours before the game and stashed it in big bags. Pitchers discovered that baseballs used late in games—the ones at the bottom of the bag—were often the softest because mud and dust residue from other baseballs had dried or settled on the bag itself.
Last year, MLB recorded a video showing how each home staffer rubbed baseballs. I found many techniques and results. MLB has found the one technique it thinks works best and designated it as the new model. The league also limited the process to three hours before a game, limited the baseballs stored in each bag to eight dozen and ordered the bags to be cleaned regularly—limiting the occasional dried and dusty residue that landed on the baseballs. MLB has also distributed images of three baseballs studded in different colors—slightly held, medium, and darker—and established the preferred die as more toward the darker version. Baseball continues to experiment with bright leather and spray material, but no remedy is close to being MLB-ready.
• The Yankees continue to double down on ground relievers, with returning Tommy Canley (68% groundouts his junior season with the Dodgers). But the risk with Kahnle is always health. Over eight seasons he averaged just 36 runs, including just 13 2/3 in the last three years.
• The notice They’ve done an admirable job of building a veteran pitching staff that allows their young pitchers not to be forced into the big leagues before they’re ready. In Jacob deGrom, Jon Gray, Martín Pérez, Jake Odorizzi, and Andrew Heaney, they have five pitchers who have thrown at least 170 innings in a season.
• The catch-up market is heating up. The basics Like Sean Murphy while Oakland wants Alec Burleson in a comeback package. The Rangers asked about James McCann, who caught New York Ranger Jacob DeGrom as well as Chris Bassett, the free agent who was on their radar before acquiring Andrew Heene.