The two highest rungs on the Dodgers free agent ladder are headed elsewhere after massive contracts agreed to Monday. Max Scherzer set a record with his over $43.3 million average annual salary in a three-year contract with the Mets, while shortstop Corey Seager got a 10-year, $325 million deal from the Rangers.
Seager is the latest, and by far the best, of the many, many recent former Dodgers to migrate to Texas, managed by former Los Angeles coach Chris Woodward.
Understandably there was a lot of reaction to both megadeals.
Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, who covered Scherzer when he was with the Nationals, explained the difference in thinking between the July trade deadline and now:
At that time, Scherzer was dealing with a variety of small injuries that led him to want to pitch in warm weather in the hopes of minimizing the risk of turning sore spots into real concerns. But Scherzer was open to a wider variety of destinations in free agency, with his main requirement having a legitimate chance to win in 2022, according to multiple people familiar with his thinking.
The loss of Scherzer “just increases the emphasis on the Dodgers’ No. 1 offseason project – rebuilding a starting rotation that dissolved on them last season,” says Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register.
Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs notes that only one pitcher remains available from the top six pitchers on FanGraphs’ free agent rankings — right-hander Marcus Stroman.
The uncertainty surrounding MLB’s Trevor Bauer investigation likely affected the Dodgers’ pursuit of Scherzer, wrote Jorge Castillo at the Los Angeles Times. While Bauer’s investigation remains ongoing, Castillo said, “The league is expected to suspend him while all signs point to Bauer never pitching for the Dodgers again.”
Castillo also states the obvious connection between the improving Rangers and Clayton Kershaw, who lives close to Globe Life Field. Says Castillo: “Kershaw, a free agent for the first time in his Hall of Fame career, is expected to choose between Texas and the Dodgers.”
The combination of losing Seager and Scherzer, combined with Max Muncy revealing he has a torn UCL, has Daniel Brim at Dodgers Digest calling Monday “a very bad day.”