This deal leads the pack of the entire MLB moves this winter, from a money standpoint, player standpoint, and team standpoint. The top available pitcher joined the most popular baseball franchise on a record deal, as Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees agreed on a nine-year, $324 million contract. The deal does include an opt-out after five years with a full no-trade clause, as the 29-year-old signed this contract one day after Stephen Strasburg stayed with the Washington Nationals. This contract surpasses Strasburg's for the top annual average salary at $36 million per season. Cole was the runner up to his Houston Astros teammate Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young in 2019, helping the Astros lead the majors with 107 wins. He set an Astros record with 16 straight regular season wins, while recording a 20-5 record with a career-high 326 strikeouts and leading the American League with a 2.50 ERA. He had just one loss after May 22nd, which came in Game 1 of the World Series against the Washington Nationals. He now joins the team that they eliminated in the ALCS last October, and the team he grew up rooting for at the old Yankee Stadium.
Angels Add Anthony Rendon to Partner With Trout
The Los Angeles Angels finally got a star-studded partner to team with Mike Trout in their starting lineup by signing Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245 million contract. Rendon received an offer from the Washington Nationals near the end of last season, but just went on to win the World Series before responding. The team could not afford to keep both Rendon and Strasburg, so when the World Series MVP Strasburg agreed to his deal, it was known that Rendon would be going elsewhere. The 29-year-old Rendon signed with the Angels, who targeted the third baseman after losing out on Cole. They desperately needed an upgrade at that position, as their third basemen ranked last in RBIs and OPS, and were 25th in on-base percentage. The now former Nationals third baseman ranked first in RBIs, sixth in OPS, and ninth in on-base percentage. He was also an NL MVP finalist, driving in 126 runs while batting .319 and hitting 34 home runs, all of which were career-highs. He proved how clutch he could be as well by batting .328 with three home runs and 15 RBIs 17 Postseason games, including hitting home runs in Games six and seven of their World Series win over The Astros.
Didi Gregorius Signs With Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies have a proven winner in Joe Girardi as their new manager, and now they need more help around their big investment, Bryce Harper. They got some pop at the shortstop position by giving former New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks left-handed batter Didi Gregorius. The deal is for just one season and is worth $14 million, as the 29-year-old, who turns 30 in February, is coming off a shortened season due to Tommy John Surgery. He returned from that in June to play in 82 games, batting .238 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs. He suffered the injury during the 2018 ALDS while making a throw to first base, as he was one of the more reliable bats before the injury. From 2016 to 2018 he averaged over 20 home runs per season, including breaking a Yankees record for a shortstop with 27 of them in 2018. He drove in a career-high 87 runs in 2017, and then 86 in 2018.
Teheran Join Angels on One-Year Deal
The Atlanta Braves will have a different Opening Day starter on the mound in 2020 for the first time in seven seasons, as their former ace, Julio Teheran, has joined the Angels on a one-year contract. The man that made six consecutive Opening Day starts for the Braves will make $9 million in 2020 out west, as the 28-year-old will wear a different uniform for the first time in his major league career. He joins former Baltimore Oriole, Dylan Bundy, as hurlers to join the Angels this off-season, and they will hope to improve a staff that posted a 5.64 ERA in 2019. They are still targeting the likes of Hyun-Jin Ryu to lead their rotation, which will start 2020 with Andrew Heaney, Shoehi Ohtani, and Griffin Canning joining the former in their starting five. Teheran's production slowly declined throughout his time with the Braves, as he went 10-11 with a 3.81 ERA this past year.
White Sox Get Grandal, Keuchel, Gonzalez, Acquire Nomar Mazara
One starter the Angels were hoping to add was Dallas Keuchel, who has joined the Chicago White Sox on a three-year, $55.5 million contract. The former Houston Astros starter took a while to find a home, before the Atlanta Braves added him mid-season, and he went 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 19 starts, compiling 112.1 innings following his season debut on June 21st. He spent seven seasons with the Astros, going 76-63 with a 3.66 ERA and two All-Star appearances in that span. The team also added some pop, one with a signing, one with a trade, as they added Yasmani Grandal on a four-year, $73 million contract. The 31-year-old will receive $18.25 million per season through the 2023 season, making it the biggest contract in franchise history. This contract comes one year after he declined a four-year, $60 million deal from the New York Mets, before returning to the Milwaukee Brewers. He went on to post carer highs with 28 home runs and 77 RBIs to reach the All-Star Game for the second time in his career. They also added left-handed power hitter Nomar Mazara in a trade with the Texas Rangers, sending a prospect the other way. The 24-year-old hit .269 with 19 home runs and 66 RBIs in 2019, including the longest home run of the season at nearly 500 feet. Another minor deal came for the rotation, as they got Gio Gonzalez on a one-year, $5 million contract. The 34-year-old had 19 appearances this past season for the Brewers, including 17 starts, and went 3-2 with a 3.50 ERA and 78 strikeouts. The two-time All-Star has a career record of 130-99 with a 3.68 ERA in 12 major league seasons.
Twins Add Clippard, Romo to Bullpen
The Minnesota Twins are looking to stay relevant in the American League after an AL Central Division Title under first-year manager Rocco Baldelli. They struggled in an ALDS sweep at the hands of the Yankees, but added depth to their bullpen to hopefully help avoid another instance like that next season. The team gave Tyler Clippard and Sergio Romo one-year contracts. The 34-year-old Clippard will make $2.75 million this season, coming off a season where he made 53 appearances for the Cleveland Indians. He went 1-0 with eight holds, recording 62 innings of work with a 2.90 ERA, 64 strikeouts, and 15 walks. Romo does get a club option with his deal and will make $5 million, but bonuses could move that up to $10 million. The 36-year-old went 2-1 with 20 saves ad 60 strikeouts over 60.1 innings in 65 appearances for the Miami Marlins. Those two veterans will hope to help improve a bullpen ERA that had a 4.17 ERA, which was 10th in the majors.
Tigers Add Former Twins Cron, Schoop
The Detroit Tigers may be in rebuilding mode, but they added some power bats to at least make them a bit more competitive after a 100-plus loss season in 2019. Both bats come from the Minnesota Twins, as they gave C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop one-year contracts that are both worth $6.1 million. Schoop and Cron both helped the Twins break a major league record with 307 home runs as a team in 2019. The Tigers were 47-114, 53.5 games behind the Twins in the A.L. Central Division. The 28-year-old Schoop batted .256 with 23 home runs and 59 RBIs, his fourth consecutive season with at least 20 home runs. The 29-year-old Cron had a .253 average with 25 home runs and a career-high 78 RBIs, but he was limited to 125 games due to a thumb injury.
Smoak, Franco, Shaw Get One Year Deals
Other minor deals around the majors saw slugger Justin Smoak join the MIlwaukee Brewers on a one-year contract. He will make $5 million in 2020, with a $5.1 million option for 2021. The 33-year-old hit .208 with 22 home runs and 61 RBIs in 121 games in 2019, making $8 million with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Kansas City Royals are giving infielder Maikel Franco another chance in a different league with a one-year, $3 million deal. Franco was non-tendered by the Phillies earlier this season, but he is now expected to be the Royals' everyday third baseman in 2020. Hunter Dozier held that position down in 2019, but they will use his versatility to move the slugger around the field. Franco did play in 123 games for the Phillies, batting .234 with 17 home runs, and 56 RBIs in 2019. While the Brewers may have gotten Smoak, the Blue Jays added a former Brewer in Travis Shaw on a one-year, $4 million contract. After consecutive 30-home run seasons, Shaw batted just .157 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in just 86 games. The 29-year-old was even demoted to the minors at one point this past season, so a chance in scenery may be exactly what he needs.