All-Star Week could also be a calming midseason respite for many gamers, however for entrance places of work, it’s enterprise as normal. For the Padres, it could be a high-stakes one, as they’re reportedly closing in on a long-term deal with their greatest beginning pitcher, Joe Musgrove. And not using a deal, he hits free company for the primary time in his profession, and there’s not a lot that groups like lower than being drawn right into a bidding warfare over their ace.
The beginning pitchers the Padres have acquired over the previous few years have combined in lots of lows with their highs, however Musgrove has been rock-solid in mustard-and-brown, placing up a 2.90 ERA, a 3.48 FIP, and a hair beneath six WAR in 47 begins since coming over from the Pirates. Throughout final season’s late-year debacle that noticed San Diego in determined sufficient straits to signal Jake Arrieta as a free agent and throw him into the rotation, Musgrove was a uncommon instance of solidity, with just one actually terrible begin within the final month of the season. Whereas he’s misplaced some strikeouts from 2021, he’s additionally bid adieu to a few of the walks — not an disagreeable tradeoff, on condition that he ranks fifth amongst qualifying starters in lowest common exit velocity at 86.7 mph.
Fewer walks and strikeouts have allowed Musgrove to get by innings barely extra effectively. In consequence, he’s averaged nearly a full inning per begin greater than final 12 months whereas throwing simply three extra pitches per outing. Getting by the sixth extra usually has resulted in his high quality begin proportion capturing up from 48% to 88%; amongst MLB qualifiers, solely Framber Valdez has racked up the next charge. Musgrove’s five-inning loss to the Rockies final Wednesday was the primary time he failed to complete six innings this season. This sturdiness and consistency are essential to the Padres, given their expertise final season once they tried to maintain the rotation’s inning rely low within the early going, leading to an exhausted bullpen breaking down by July.
With the commerce deadline quick approaching, getting some certainty about Musgrove’s future with the membership has fairly a little bit of worth. The Padres appear seemingly so as to add a bat, and getting a greater thought of what number of pitchers they’ll want to interchange over the subsequent few years ought to present some steerage on which prospects they will afford to surrender. Sean Manaea and Mike Clevinger are additionally free brokers after this season, and Blake Snell and Yu Darvish might be after 2023, so getting Musgrove inked for a lot of the remainder of the last decade takes no less than one drawback off their plate.
So, what sort of deal is Musgrove seemingly ? Let’s hearth up ZiPS and run him by the mathematical wringer.
ZiPS Projection – Joe Musgrove
Musgrove is a authentic No. 1 starter, however he’s actually not going to be in Gerrit Cole territory north of $300 million until there’s a big-spending staff on the market with a very divergent opinion. ZiPS suggests 5 years, $129 million, or six years, $149 million, as cheap numbers for each side. That’s not in line, although, with current contracts reminiscent of Darvish’s 6/126 or Zack Wheeler’s 5/118 when you think about inflation since they signed their offers.
Letting Musgrove hit free company, even with the intention to beat different presents, can be a dangerous play. The beginning pitchers doubtlessly out there this winter usually are not a star-studded cavalcade.
ZiPS Projections for Free Agent Pitchers
Musgrove will not be elite, however his mixture of relative youth, excellent efficiency, and no large current damage crimson flags make him a greater long-term wager, no less than within the opinion of ZiPS, than every other beginning pitcher out there. Aaron Nola, who can theoretically be a free agent, edges out Musgrove within the projections at 17.0 WAR over the subsequent 5 seasons. However the concept the Phillies would select to take Nola’s $4.5 million buyout fairly than the $16 million membership choice, wanting something dramatic taking place over the subsequent two months, is a completely ludicrous notion.
2023 ZiPS Projections – San Diego Beginning Pitchers
Whereas ZiPS nonetheless sees the Padres as deep in comparatively believable back-of-the-rotation choices, a beginning 5 constructed solely on gamers the Padres have beneath contract for 2023 will not be significantly thrilling (I’ve deliberately left off Dinelson Lamet as I believe he’s a reliever now). They’d be lacking a top-of-the-rotation arm and an innings-eater, and Musgrove is each in a single bundle. It appears unlikely that, if San Diego misplaced Musgrove and Manaea and Clevinger, it could really go into the 2023 season with this precise group of pitchers. However patching collectively a rotation to make the Dodgers really feel any discomfort can be a tall order in a winter the place the staff actually must restore some holes within the offense. Musgrove is unlikely to complete his profession with a speech at a podium in upstate New York, however he’s the appropriate pitcher on the proper time for the Padres, who’re proper to court docket aggressively a pitcher whose loss may throw their 2023 plans into disarray.