MLB

MLB rumors: Juan Soto, Trea Turner talk extensions; Scott Kazmir signs deal after five-year absence

Pitchers and catchers have already reported to MLB spring training, and we’re methodically working our way toward Grapefruit and Cactus League action. Despite that relatively late hour, we’ve still got a semi-steady supply of offseason scuttle to address. Speaking of which, here’s your Tuesday dose of MLB rumors. 

NL East extension talk

Pursuant to Fernando Tatis Jr.’s $340 million contract extension with the Padres, the focus has shifted to other young to young-ish players who might be candidates for re-signing with their current clubs. Recent examples come to us from the National League East. First, there’s Juan Soto of the Nationals, who thanks to his youth and tremendous level of production so far seems most directly comparable to Tatis: 

While Soto isn’t on Tatis’ level in terms of defensive value and base-running, he’s still a 22-year-old with a career OPS+ of 151. He’s also got a bit more service time that Tatis does, which means he’s slated for free agency following the 2024 season. Any kind of extension that stretches far into that free agency timeline would almost certainly exceed $300 million. Given Soto’s tremendous skills at the plate, the Nats would be wise to pursue such a deal. 

Also on the D.C. front, shortstop Trea Turner sounds entirely open to committing to the Nats long-term:

Turner, who’s going into his age-28 season, has evolved into a quite useful hitter at the plate while also defending his position well and adding value on the bases. He’s eligible for free agency after the 2022 season, but there appears to be mutual interest in having him stay in Washington. 

Now for the Mets: 

Conforto, who turns 28 on March 1, is a Mets lifer who owns a thumping good OPS+ of 134 since his breakout season of 2017. Given that the Mets are well positioned for near- to mid-term contention, locking up Conforto, who’s going into his walk year, would be prudent. Lucky for the Mets, he sounds like he wants that to happen. The question is whether the Mets can get something done while also focusing a lot of organizational energy on signing Francisco Lindor to an extension. Developing!

Giants sign Scott Kazmir

Thirty-seven-year-old lefty Scott Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016, but he’s attempting a comeback with the Giants, who according to ESPN’s Buster Olney signed him to a minor-league contract on Tuesday. The deal includes an invitation to big-league camp. For his career, Kazmir owns an ERA of 4.01 with a 2.36 K/BB ratio across parts of 12 major-league seasons. Along the way, Kazmir was a three-time All-Star. The back of the Giants’ rotation is presently in flux, so Kazmir will no doubt be given every opportunity to return to the majors after an almost five-year absence. 



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