We have the Oscars for movies and the Grammys for music. We also have the Emmys for television and the Tony awards for theatre. But what do we have for the baseball offseason, an equally as relevant piece of the culture? Sadly nothing. Until now.
Welcome to the first annual Stovey Awards, an awards article highlighting the hot stove season. With almost all of the major signings behind us and the season about to begin, now is the perfect time to reflect upon the moves that were. What was the best signing? Which transaction made us question reality the most? What made us laugh?
Sit back, and relax. The Stoveys have you covered.
Best Overall Signing
The award speaks for itself. Which signing benefited both the player and team while also impacting baseball the most? The nominees are:
Signing Bonus – $5M
$32.5M – 2022
$35M – 2023
$34.5M – 2024
$32M – 2025
Player may purchase 4 best premium season tickets for home games.
Limited No Trade (8 Teams).
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 1, 2021
Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers.
Breaking: Freddie Freeman and the Dodgers have agreed to terms on a six-year, $162 million deal, according to @kileymcd and @JeffPassan. pic.twitter.com/IQQ13JdsGY
— ESPN (@espn) March 17, 2022
Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twins.
Shortstop Carlos Correa and the Minnesota Twins are in agreement on a three-year, $105.3 million contract that includes opt-outs after the first two seasons, sources confirm to ESPN. First with the deal was @MarkBermanFox26.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 19, 2022
And the Stovey goes to. . .
Freddie Freeman and the Los Angeles Dodgers!
First and foremost, congratulations to Freeman on getting his well-deserved bag. This is now his second nine-figure contract. Let us also congratulate the Dodgers, who rarely do anything wrong. Before adding Freeman, the Dodgers were easily looked upon as the best team in baseball. After signing Freeman, their lineup is giving me 2016 Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors vibes.
This team is the Death Star of baseball. They are beyond superteam status. And I’m here for it. Professional sports leagues need supervillains. The Dodgers fit the mold. It will be fun to root against them.
The Bobby Bonilla Award
This next award goes to the agent who got their client the best deal. It is named after Bobby Bonilla, who famously will be receiving a little over $1 million every year until 2035.
There is only one nominee for this award. It’s Scott Boras. He wins.
Updated: Now that Carlos Correa has signed with the #Twins for $105.3 million, agent Scott Boras has negotiated record $1.322 billion worth of contracts this winter. https://t.co/jR6uJxT8yB
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) March 19, 2022
Not only did Boras negotiate the biggest free-agent deal this offseason (Seager’s 10 years, $325 million), but he also got creative when it came to getting another client huge annual money.
Earlier this year, Carlos Correa hired Boras in hopes of signing a super deal. Although he didn’t get the 10-year deal that the likes of Seager, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Fernando Tatis Jr. got, he certainly got the next best thing.
If Correa has an awesome seven-plus WAR season in 2022, he can opt-out and sign his super-deal next winter. If not, he will still have two more chances while also making huge money to get the super deal he desires. At 27 years old, Correa is on the most expensive prove it deal of all time.
The Colorado Rockies Award
The Colorado Rockies award goes to the team with the most confusing signing. This does not necessarily mean the signing was good or bad, it just had people scratching their heads.
Once again, there is just one nominee for this Stovey. The Colorado Rockies award goes to, yes, the Colorado Rockies for their signing of Kris Bryant.
Third baseman Kris Bryant and the Colorado Rockies are in agreement on a seven-year, $182 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 16, 2022
Confused by the Kris Bryant deal. Happy he got paid, but confused at why they wouldn’t even attempt to keep Trevor Story, and literally pay the Cardinals to take Nolan Arenado.
— Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks) March 16, 2022
Let us first congratulate Bryant. He got his money and will rake at Coors Field. The team may not be great but Bryant should have a fun time hitting dingers and spraying the gap in that ballpark. Then, in three or so years, he can once again get traded to a contender when the Rockies fail to win.
For the Rockies, the biggest question is why. Letting Trevor Story walk while paying $50 million a year earlier to get rid of Nolan Arenado is certainly a choice. Shedding salary in baseball is a normal thing. To then turn around and give Bryant a huge deal is just craziness. It seems as though the Rockies shuffled the deck for the sake of shuffling the deck. But they aren’t any better. Fangraphs’ projected standings have the Rockies losing the second-most games in 2022.
I don’t know. Maybe this works out. Perhaps there is a method to the madness. But this is the Rockies we’re talking about. The choices they make remind me of the choices one would make when throwing a dart at the board. Except they shut their eyes before throwing.
Best Fit Award
This one is simple. Which player best fits with the new team they signed with. We have nominees, folks. And they are:
Trevor Story is in agreement with the Red Sox: 6 years, $140M. There is a player opt out after year 4. Boston can negate by picking up a 7th-yr option. If so the deal is 7-$160M
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 20, 2022
Who’s ready to watch Trevor Story hit missiles into the Green Monster seats for the next couple of seasons❓‼️ #RedSox // @SoxDingrs
— Beyond the Monster (@BeyondtheMnstr) March 20, 2022
Carlos Rodón, San Francisco Giants.
Left-handed starter Carlos Rodón and the San Francisco Giants are in agreement on a two-year, $44 million contract that includes an opt-out after the first season, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 11, 2022
Both of these players are perfect fits for their respective teams.
Story will excel in Boston peppering many balls both off of and over the Green Monster. Although he’s played shortstop for his entire career, a shift to second base should not be all that difficult. Leaving the offense-heavy environment that is Colorado could be tough. That said, hitting at Fenway Park as a pull-heavy righty isn’t the worst thing.
This award is not for Story though. It goes to Rodón.
As we know, Rodón was electric last season in a breakout season with the White Sox. He finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting. In 2022 with the Giants, he may very well be better.
In recent history, the Giants have been the reclamation project kings of baseball. Last season, they helped Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani, and Alex Wood combine for just over 10 fWAR. Gausman finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting. Before 2021, all three were back of the rotation starters at best.
Although Rodón isn’t in need of reclamation, a move to San Francisco can only help him improve. Joining the NL will also help as a lot of hitters have never seen him pitch. This combination will more than likely lead to him once again getting Cy Young votes if he can stay healthy.
Best One-Year Deal
Sometimes a player needs the opportunity to prove themselves. Sometimes a player is old and just wants to keep playing. The best one-year deal award is similar to the best fit award, except on a one-year scale.
The nominees are. . .
- Noah Syndergaard, Los Angeles Angels ($21 million)
- Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers ($17 million)
- Nelson Cruz, Washington Nationals ($15 million)
- Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals ($13 million)
- Matthew Boyd, San Francisco Giants ($5.2 million)
This award goes to Greinke and the Royals.
Any time a player returns home to the organization that drafted them long after they left, it warms the heart. Greinke was drafted by the Royals 20 years ago. He was traded away 12 years ago. Now he’s back.
In terms of the actual baseball move itself, this checks off all of the boxes. Greinke is still a solid arm at the ripe old age of 38. He pitched 171 innings last season with the Astros. At the very least, he will eat innings for the Royals this year. If the Royals struggle as a team, Greinke can be traded to a contender for young talent at the deadline. For now, though, he adds an extremely interesting veteran presence to a younger clubhouse. This move is perfect for getting the fans excited. It’s a no-lose situation.
The Most Fun Trade Award
Which trade rocked MLB the hardest this offseason? Let’s see some nominees:
The Matt Chapman trade.
Blue Jays deal for Matt Chapman is done. Kevin Smith, Gunnar Hoglund, Zach Logue and Kirby Snead are headed to Athletics, per source.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) March 16, 2022
The Matt Olson trade.
BREAKING: Atlanta and Oakland are in agreement on a trade that will send star first baseman Matt Olson to the Braves, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 14, 2022
The Jesse Winker/Eugenio Suárez trade.
TRADE: The Mariners acquire Reds OF Jesse Winker and IF Eugenio Suárez in exchange for Justin Dunn, Brandon Williamson and Jake Fraley, via multiple reports. pic.twitter.com/1y36cDWHpp
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 14, 2022
All of these trades have one thing in common. They were all salary dumps. No, they were not fun for the teams trading away the major league talent. As a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, I know this feeling. Interestingly enough, a lot of the trades this offseason were of the salary dump variety. I’m not exactly sure what that says about the sport.
Anyways, the Stovey goes to. . .
The Olson to Atlanta trade.
This deal was the most fun not only because it sent Olson to Atlanta, but also made clear that Freeman would not be returning there. What if Atlanta and the Dodgers meet in the playoffs? The Freddie Freeman Bowl will be born. What about the Athletics? Olson getting traded occurred in the midst of an intense firesale.
Although there were not any huge blockbuster superstar trades this offseason, the ripples of the Olson to Atlanta trade will be felt for years to come.
The Bob Nutting Award
Our final award of the evening is named after Pittsburgh Pirates‘ owner Bob Nutting. If you don’t know anything about Nutting, know this: The man absolutely loathes spending money on his ball club. The Bob Nutting Award will go to the team that saved the most money! Exciting, I know.
The nominees are:
- The Cincinnati Reds, who shaved just over $26 million in payroll.
- The Oakland Athletics, who shaved just under $58 million in payroll.
- The Cleveland Guardians, who didn’t sign one major league free agent.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates, because Bob Nutting has to at least be up for winning the Bob Nutting award.
This Stovey goes to the Oakland Athletics.
Current players who will be making more money this season than the entire Oakland #Athletics with their $33 million payroll:
Max Scherzer, #Yankees: $43.3M
Corey Seager, #Rangers: $37.5M
Anthony Rendon, #Angels: $37.5M
Gerrit Cole, #Yankees: $36M
Carlos Correa, #Twins: $35.1M
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 3, 2022
The #Dodgers, #Mets, #Phillies and #Padres will all have a higher monthly payroll than the #Athletics' entire payroll for the season.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 3, 2022
The Oakland A’s had the highest payroll in baseball in 1991. It was $33M that year, the very same number it is today.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 3, 2022
These tweets speak for themselves. After winning 86 games in 2021 and falling six games shy of a playoff berth, the Athletics tore it down to the absolute studs.
Olson plays for Atlanta. Chapman is a Blue Jay. Chris Bassitt is a Met. Sean Manaea is a Padre.
I don’t have a take on this. It’s just crazy to see. But also, not all that surprising. When it’s time to save, it’s time to save!
Congratulations to the Athletics for winning this Stovey award! Your fans may never see another World Series appearance, but at least get to have this. And sure, the team may not be currently investing in players but at least you the fan will get to put money towards the team’s new $12 billion ballpark, whenever that may or may not get built.
Thank you to all for attending the first annual Stovey Awards. Make the winners accept their literal stove trophy with pride. Place them on your mantles. Show them off to your loved ones.
It was an honor to host this fine awards show. And luckily, nothing crazy happened! With the hot stove season officially behind us, we can begin to look ahead to enjoy the new season. Good luck to all those who made the stove hot this winter helping us get through an especially cold and locked-out offseason. Cheers!
I’ll send you all off with my favorite baseball-related musical act.
Steven Brault, take it away with the National Anthem!
Elements from Public Domain | Adapted by Drew Wheeler (@drewisokay on Twitter)