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Padres, Red Sox, Steve Cohen rule MLB’s offseason

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Baseball today looks like a set of haves and have nots on this winter of massive signings by the largest spenders. So it’s easy to discover the early winners. There are some huge ones, as Padres owner Peter Seidler, Mets owner Steve Cohen and Phillies owner John Middleton put fans first and showed how much they wish to win with some serious money outlays. (We are going to delay the losers bracket until more evidence is in.)

1. Padres, Padres fans

Seidler has entrusted GM A.J. Preller, the young scouting savant, to gather superstars — and apparently shortstops. Unlike within the case of Cohen, who’s reportedly value $17 billion, MLB persons are perplexed how Seidler can afford this, but Padres higher-ups say they envision growing the revenue within the hope they keeps pace with expenditures, that are nothing wanting shocking. Preller and Co. landed Xander Bogaerts for an eye-popping $280M, a record for a player who’d opted out.

The Padres first tried to land Trea Turner for $342M ($1M greater than their troubled superstar Fernando Tatis Jr.) and Aaron Judge in an eleventh hour meeting for about $414M for 14 years. Regardless, Preller was thrilled to get Bogaerts as “shortstop has all the time been AJ’s bias,” said a friend (they’ve Bogaerts, Tatis and Ha-Seong Kim). They do anticipate superstar Manny Machado opting out after 2023, but deny any attempt now to trade Tatis (the concept the Yankees tried for Tatis was called “total BS.”)

The Padres have done a superb job exciting a town that’s remarkably never seen an expert sports championship and so they anticipate capping season-ticket sales at 23,000 soon and selling out the 12 months. They’ve done well constructing revenue, their long local TV deal doesn’t support what some see as an outsized outlay of money. From here, we just say bravo!

San Diego Padres' Xander Bogaerts, left, speaks as general manager A.J. Preller looks on at a news conference held to announce that Bogaerts' $280 million, 11-year contact with the Padres has been finalized, Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)Xander Bogaerts big-money deal was a Padres surprise — especially to the Red Sox.AP Photo

2. Xander Bogaerts

Nobody saw a $280M, 11-year deal coming, least of all of the Red Sox.

3. Masataka Yoshida

Nobody saw the $90M deal coming for Yoshida, an excellent hitter and below average fielder. The Dodgers and Jays were the opposite finalists, but many pegged Yoshida as a $50M player, not someone to beat the record $85M Seiya Suzuki received last 12 months from the Cubs (with the $15M posting fee that’s $105M).

4. Solid starters

Pitchers are at a premium, and we get the massive payouts for two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom ($185M, five years, Rangers) and three-time winner Justin Verlander ($86M, two years, plus vesting player option). However the deals for Jameson Taillon ($68M, 4 years, Cubs), Taijuan Walker ($72M, 4 years, Phillies) and Chris Bassitt ($63M, three years, Jays) were pretty amazing, especially with starters generally throwing fewer innings than ever.

5. Mets

Cohen will come under fire from fellow owners for running up the tax tab, informally generally known as the “Steve Cohen tax.” But really, if he desired to bring back a team the equal to last 12 months’s 101-win squad, he had little alternative. The deals themselves were fantastic, including $102 million for Edwin Diaz ($87M after calculating deferrals), $162M for Brandon Nimmo, $10M for David Robertson and, after all, Verlander. Owners who originally opposed Cohen surely aren’t thrilled his payroll approaches $350M (and expenses with tax will easily surpass $400M), but since he’s paying it, and he’s acting prefer it doesn’t hassle him, who’s to query it?

6. Phillies

Baseball honcho Dave Dombrowski targeted a top shortstop and back-end starter, and as is his way, quickly signed Turner and Walker. Dombrowski met with all 4 star shortstops, but Phillies star Bryce Harper and hitting coach Kevin Long pushed for Turner, who they knew from their Nationals days. Dombrowski is ridiculed by the analytic set, however the Hall of Fame awaits.

7. Aaron Judge, Turner and Nimmo

Judge and Turner took less to go where they wanted, and Nimmo likely did, too. Judge could have gotten $400M plus for the Padres, Turner had that $342M offer from the Padres and the Giants could have paid greater than $162M for Nimmo. And good for them for putting anything (loyalty, geography, legacy) ahead of cash.

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