There we were, consistently refreshing our Twitter streams at 7 PM EST, anxiously awaiting the flurry of free-agent signings to begin once the new CBA had been signed. Things were quiet for a while.
On came Friday, March 11th and we had movement! News started to come in of Carlos Rodón heading from Southside Chicago to the Bay Area. Clayton Kershaw decided he wasn’t going to leave the bright lights in LA. Then, the Cubs got their shortstop! No, it’s wasn’t the big signing of Carlos Correa but, Andrelton Simmons will now be manning the keystone position for the Cubbies heading into 2022.
Now, what fantasy implications will each of these signings have for each of these players, once the new season begins?
Carlos Rodón – SF 2 years/$44M
Rodón is coming off of a strong, bounce-back, season with the White Sox. Instead of settling for a one-year-prove-it deal, he was able to net a two-year guarantee with an average annual value of $22 million.
Even though the production was strong last season, there were serious question marks regarding the health of the southpaw coming into 2022. During the 2021 season, he was placed on the injured list with shoulder fatigue and returned with lagging velocity. If he had the innings to qualify, Rodón would have ranked near the top of the list in ERA (2.37) and K/9 (12.6). All that to pair with a whopping 34.6% strikeout rate and a 75.5% Z-Contact rate across 24 starts.
His fantasy value does get a decent boost with him landing in the Bay area. Oracle Park is known to be one of the more pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball due to its dimensions. Even if he did overachieve in limiting home runs, the level of concern for possible regression should be put to rest heading into 2022. This does, however, impact Tyler Beede’s chances of sticking in the rotation.
Clayton Kershaw – LAD 1 year/$17M
After not being tendered a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, many believed Kershaw would be on his way out of LA. Instead, the future Hall of Famer was brought back on a one-year deal.
The terms of the deal leave a cause for concern after Kershaw’s elbow flared up towards the end of this past season, leading him to miss all of the post-season, and left many wondering whether Tommy John surgery was inevitable for him this off-season. Before the injury, Kershaw was plenty dominant.
While his 120.1 innings in 2021 were the lowest since his rookie season, the 2.87 xFIP was, actually, the best mark in the past four seasons and his swinging-strike rate was a career-high. In terms of fantasy, and what we can expect for Kershaw this season, he has recently stated that he is healthy, just a little bit behind in his usual preparation. Heading into drafts, the risk going forward is fairly high. However, with his track record, there is no reason to doubt him should he be full-go once the season begins.
In what seemed like an opportunity for David Price to make his way back into the rotation, there will likely be a three-way battle between him, Tony Gonsolin, and Andrew Heaney for the final two spots. Of course, it could only be one spot depending on what happens with Trevor Bauer.
Andrelton Simmons – CHC 1 year/$4M
This might not be the shortstop that Cubs fans were hoping the team would sign. After shipping off their core pieces at the deadline last season, it seemed as if the organization was ready to commit to a rebuild. That was, surprisingly, put to rest when they signed Marcus Stroman, and traded for Wade Miley, before the lockout.
While Simmons is not going to provide much, if any, fantasy value, what he does do it provides security for the ground-ball specialists that make up the Cubs rotation. His sure-handedness at the shortstop position gives a boost to the contact-oriented pitchers in Kyle Hendricks, Marcus Stroman, and Wade Miley.
With the addition of Simmons, Nico Hoerner shifts into a utility role going forward. His athleticism will benefit him as there have been reports of him transitioning to center field, as well. For deeper leagues, Sergio Alcantára will now look to fight an uphill battle to try making the Opening Day roster.
Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Shawn Palmer (@PalmerDesigns_ on Twitter)