This past MLB off-season featured some high-paying long-term contracts and while it’s too early to judge them in totality, some of those contracts have paid dividends, while some others have fanbases perturbed.
Kevin Gausman, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
After Kevin Gausman posted a 2.81 ERA with the San Francisco Giants last season, the Toronto Blue Jays went all in on Gausman, signing him to a five-year, $110 million deal. Gausman got off to a hot start, posting a 2.25 ERA in his first nine starts, but has since tailed off a bit.
In his last six appearances, Gausman has a 4.20 ERA which has raised his season ERA to 2.93. It’s not far off from last season’s ERA, but what is, is Gausman’s fastball.
He’s gained a little velocity on his fastball and has lost a little movement, but batters are destroying the pitch, hitting 58-for-166 against it. Gausman’s splitter is still deadly as ever, but finding his fastball again will be key to getting back on track.
Marcus Semien, 2B, Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers were the most aggressive team in free agency this past off-season and so far the early return on their investment hasn’t been ideal. One of their two major signings was Marcus Semien, who they signed to a seven-year, $175 million contract.
Currently, Semien is batting .231 on the year, but is batting .220 against fastballs, which is typically his bread and butter. He’s batted .250 against breaking balls which is the second-best mark in his career, however, he’s seeing them 35% of the time.
If Semien is going to return to last season’s form, he’ll need to start catching up to fastballs.
Corey Seager, SS, Texas Rangers
Apparently signing Semien wasn’t enough for the Rangers, so they decided to give Corey Seager a 10-year, $325 million contract, which is tied for the sixth largest contract in MLB history.
Like Semien, Seager’s batting .231 and has also struggled against fastballs, which hasn’t been normal compared to the last few seasons. To add onto the problems, Seager is also struggling against breaking balls and offspeed pitches at an irregular rate, so it’s made for a bit of a concerning start to his tenure in Texas.
Now he’s still tied for first in home runs on the team (15), second in RBIs (35) and first in walks (28), so it hasn’t been all bad, but not exactly what the Rangers signed up for.
Robbie Ray, SP, Seattle Mariners
I don’t know what’s in the water in Seattle, but whatever it is, has turned the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, Robbie Ray, into a shell of himself.
After posting a 2.84 ERA last season, Ray struggled to capture that same magic at the beginning of this season, posting a 4.97 ERA in his first 12 starts. However, Ray’s shown lately why the Seattle Mariners gave him a five-year, $115 million deal. In his last four outings, Ray pitched a combined 27 innings, struckout 28 and surrendered two runs on 11 hits.
There’s still quite a bit of time left in the season and on his contract, but if Ray can keep performing at this high of a level, his contract will be the last thing the Mariners have to worry about.
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