PHOENIX (AP) — Trevor Story and Nick Castellanos are among the newest $100 million men during a Major League Baseball offseason full of big contracts.
There’s been a robust market for the sport’s star players, even with a 99-day lockout that froze negotiations from December until mid-March.
Story and Castellanos are among 15 players who have signed deals worth $100 million or more since November, a group that includes Corey Seager, Wander Franco, Kris Bryant, Marcus Semien, Matt Olson, Freddie Freeman, Javier Báez, José Berríos, Max Scherzer, Robbie Ray, Kevin Gausman, Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton.
The big contracts are certainly good news for the players receiving them, but it remains to be seen whether those deals boost the league’s overall average salary, which has declined in recent years. During the lockout, one of the union’s main goals was to increase salaries for the sport’s middle-class and younger players.
Story was introduced on Wednesday in Florida now that his $140 million, six-year deal with the Red Sox is official. Castellanos got a $100 million, five-year contract from the Phillies after a career season in Cincinnati.
The Red Sox were an unlikely suitor for Story — a two-time All-Star — considering that they already have a four-time All-Star at shortstop.
But Story agreed to move to second base, providing stability at a position where Boston has lacked it since Dustin Pedroia was injured in 2017. And if Xander Bogaerts chooses to opt out of his contract at the end of the season, Story gives the Red Sox a long-term solution at shortstop.
The Phillies hope Castellanos can add to a souped-up offense and help the franchise snap an NL-worst, 10-year postseason drought.
Castellanos got a $100 million, five-year contract from the Phillies after a career season in Cincinnati. He batted .309 with 34 homers, 100 RBIs and a .939 OPS last year for the Reds, making his first All-Star team and winning a Silver Slugger Award. He is a .278 career hitter with 168 home runs, 594 RBIs and an .814 OPS in nine major league seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Reds.
The Phillies also added slugger Kyle Schwarber last week on a $79 million, four-year deal.
Castellanos and Schwarber join reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper in the middle of a Phillies lineup that also features All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius.
ARBITRATION STILL POSSIBLE FOR 31 PLAYERS
The vast majority of MLB players eligible for arbitration have already reached deals for the 2022 season.
But several big names are still in limbo.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds and multiple members of the World Series champion Atlanta Braves are among the 31 players who could be headed to hearings, which will be after the regular season starts.
Arbitration-eligible players who don’t reach agreements will have their cases heard by three-person panels over video conference after opening day, scheduling necessitated by the 99-day lockout that pushed back the start of spring training from Feb. 16 to March 13 and opening day from March 31 to April 7.
No dates have been set for hearings, which usually occur during the first three weeks of February. Teams and players can continue to negotiate and may agree on a deal at any time.
If teams and players don’t agree to a salary before opening day, the player would be paid at the rate proposed by the club and salary would be adjusted retroactively, if necessary.
SHAW BACK WITH GUARDIANS
Bryan Shaw’s back with Cleveland’s bullpen.
The rubber-armed reliever, who led the majors with 81 appearances last season, agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Guardians. The deal is pending a physical, but the 34-year-old Shaw is already in camp.
Shaw went 6-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 2021 with Cleveland in the first year of his second stint with the club. Shaw was with the Guardians from 2013-17 and appeared in at least 70 games each season.
He left as a free agent with Colorado before re-signing with Cleveland before last season.
ALBERTO TO DODGERS
The Dodgers have agreed to a one-year contract with infielder Hanser Alberto worth $1.6 million that has a club option for the 2023 season that’s worth $2 million with a $250,000 buyout.
The Dodgers designated infielder Matt Beaty for assignment to make room for Alberto.
The 29-year-old Alberto spent last season with the Kansas City Royals where he hit .270 with 20 doubles, two homers and 24 RBI.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum and AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this story.
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