Pitchers Off The Board: Carlos Rodon, Clayton Kershaw

Friday’s kickoff following the reinstatement of Major League Baseball, didn’t reveal any big surprises. Four pitchers signed with teams, becoming baseball’s first headlines for the 2022 season.

Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Drew VerHagen was the first free agent to sign a deal after the lockout. The St. Louis Cardinals gave him a two-year deal worth $5.5 million. It was an unexpected move and didn’t light the world on fire, but it was nice seeing any news that wasn’t about the lockout. VerHagen is 31-years-old, andlast pitched in the bigs for the Detroit Tigers in 2019. Recently, he had a two-year in Japan’s NPB, where he was a key member of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

The next move came in the early afternoon, when the San Francisco Giants signed ex-White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon to a 2-year, $44 million deal. This wasn’t as much a surprise as the Giants were desperate to improve the top of their rotation after they lost Kevin Gausman to the Toronto Blue Jays. Rodon came off one of his better seasons with the White Sox, going 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA and made his first ever All-Star team.

Maybe the biggest news of the day came when the Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed Clayton Kershaw to a one-year deal. All of his 14-year career has been spent with the Dodgers, where he’s put up hall of fame numbers and led them to multiple trips to the World Series. Kershaw is an old 33 and it’s starting to show. He was dealt with left forearm inflammation much of last year, but still managed to finish the season strong, going 10-8 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP and 144 strikeouts against 21 walks in the 121 2/3 innings he pitched. While the Dodgers bringing him back isn’t a surprise, the one-year deal is. I’m sure as the season goes we’ll find out more about his future with the club beyond 2022.

The last transactional news of the day came from the Texas Rangers. They signed veteran southpaw Martin Perez to a one-year deal worth $4 million. He last appeared with the Boston Red Sox in 2021, where he made 36 appearances, 22 of which were starts. He ended the season with a 4.74 ERA. It’s hard to say if Perez will be in line to compete for a rotation spot or if they see him as middle relief. We’ll know more during Spring Training.

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