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Spotrac’s Midseason MLB Contract Awards highlight a few deals signed in the past year that have immediately paid off on the field, and a few players trending toward a new pay day because of their strong first half.

Free Agent Contracts

AL Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi (SP, Rangers)

Eovaldi joined Texas on a 2 year, $34M contract after 5 seasons in Boston. He’s already surpassed last year’s strikeout total while carrying an ERA one full point lower (2.83) than his 2022 campaign. A healthy 2nd half should bag him an additional $3M thanks to innings incentives.

AL Hitter: Aaron Judge (OF, Yankees)

Sure he’s only appeared in 49 games (and a severe toe injury leaves him without a timetable to return) but it’s worth noting that Judge’s production to start 2023 was on a similar path to his historic 2022 run. It’s safe to assume we’d be monitoring a second consecutive Ohtani/Judge battle right now if not for Judge’s injury. Contractually, he’s owed another $338.5M through 2031.

AL Value: Kevin Kiermaier (OF, Blue Jays)

Kiermaier joined Toronto on a 1 year, $9M contract after 9 seasons in Tampa, brought on for his outstanding center field defense, pushing oft-injured George Springer into a more conservative role. He’s responded by filling up the stat board, and should command a multi-year guarantee next time around.

NL Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (SP, Dodgers)

Despite speculation of possible retirement or a shift to Texas, Kershaw returned to LA on a 1 year, $20M contract this winter. He’s been impressive & at times dominating in his 16th season, though shoulder inflammation could keep him away from a few starts to begin the second half.

NL Hitter: Dansby Swanson (SS, Cubs)

The Braves let Swanson walk away to Chicago to the tune of $177M through the 2029 season. He’s the highest paid member of the Cubs by nearly $100M, and so far, looks every bit worth the price of admission, carrying a near 3 WAR into the break.

NL Value: Jeimer Candelario (3B, Nationals)

Added on a 1 year, $5M contract as a bit of a rental vet for a very young, rebuilding Nats squad, Candelario has played himself into prime trade positioning - good news for both sides as the August 1st deadline approaches. 

Contract Extensions

AL Pitcher: Pablo Lopez (SP, MIN)

Lopez was acquired from Miami in exchange for batting champ Luis Arraez, this past January, then extended out to a 4 year, $73.5M contract early on this season. The kicker? He’s the #4 pitcher in a Twins rotation that has suddenly become as deep as ever over the past few months. Lopez’ $18.3M per year extension won’t officially kick in until 2024.

AL Hitter: Andres Gimenez (SS, Guardians)

Cleveland probably wants to see Gimenez’ power numbers return for the second half, but for the most part, the 24-year-old has held up his end of a 7 year $106.5M extension out of the gate. With four years of team control bought out, the Guardians are only shelling out $35M of this contract across its first 4 seasons, giving Gimenez a little leeway as he continues to develop.

NL Pitcher: Logan Webb (SP, Giants)

The Giants had seen enough of Webb by the time Spring of 2023 rolled around to know they had a bonafide ace on their hands for the foreseeable future. They rewarded him with a 5 year, $90M extension, buying out his final two years of arbitration starting in 2024. While the overall numbers are a bit down right now, he’s eating up valuable innings for San Franciso as they continue to vie for an NL West title.

NL Hitter: Corbin Carroll (OF, Diamondbacks)

One of the more highly touted prospects in recent memory has hit the ground sprinting, living up to seemingly every expectation attached to him out of the gate. He’ll hit the break with (at least) 20 doubles, 18 homers, and 24 stolen bases, carrying a 3.5 WAR with him. Arizona knew this was coming, and locked in the 22 year-old to an 8 year, $111M extension this March that can max out at $154M over 9 years if all goes well.

Pending Free Agents

AL Pitcher: Lucas Giolito (SP, White Sox)

Disclaimer: Of course Shohei Ohtani should be here, but in lieu of his name being mentioned every other sentence, we’re opting for a little variety instead. The White Sox have been waiting 6 years for Giolito to become a consistent, top of the rotation arm. Now just a few months away from his free agent eligibility, it seems he’s figured it out. He’s both a trade and extension candidate heading toward August, with a deal around $20M per year likely in his future.

AL Hitter: Matt Chapman (3B, Blue Jays)

Chapman has really settled into his role in Toronto, raising his efficiency numbers across the board while anchoring a loaded Blue Jays lineup from the 5 hole. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Toronto over the next few seasons, but keeping this marriage together makes a lot of sense. Chapman projects toward a 4 year, $60M extension in our system.

NL Pitcher: Marcus Stroman (SP, Cubs)

Extension discussions between Stroman and the Cubs appear to have broken off, putting the 32 year old in line to opt out of his $21M salary for 2024, and hit the open market this winter. Will he find a suitor to match or exceed his current $25M AAV? Our system places him right at the $21M number he’s walking away from currently.

NL Hitter: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (OF, Diamondbacks)

After a down year from a power and production standpoint, Toronto shipped Gurriel’s expiring contract to Arizona, where he’s reestablished himself nicely. The D-Backs have a surplus of outfield talent ready to progress, so it seems extremely likely that the 29-year-old hits the open market this winter, projecting toward a 5 year, $90M contract in our system.

Pending Extensions

AL Pitcher Framber Valdez (SP, Astros)

It’s been an injury-plagued season for Houston, but Valdez has been a pillar of consistency through the first half. He’s on pace for career marks across the board, which should inflate his next two years of arbitration salary nicely. Will the Astros buy those out with a multi-year extension soon? Our numbers peg him at a 6 year, $142M contract right now.

AL Hitter: Adolis Garcia (OF, Rangers)

Garcia’s success feels new on a national level, but he has 80 2Bs, 80 HRs, & 262 RBIs in the past 2 ½ seasons in Texas. A late bloomer, the 30-year-old doesn’t start his arbitration track until next season, having made himself one of the best values in all of baseball. The Rangers have a lot of dough allocated to their 40-man roster, but Garcia is as worthy of a multi-year guarantee as anyone.

NL Pitcher Bryce Elder (SP, Braves)

Stop me when you’ve heard this before. Young Braves player gets to the show, immediately makes an impact, garners himself a solid (but team-friendly) extension. Elder seems primed to be the next man up in Atlanta, now sitting in the #2 spot of the rotation behind last year’s phenom Spencer Strider. The Braves bought out 5 years of Strider’s team control on what could be $92M over 7 seasons. A similar structure could fit the bill for Elder this winter.

NL Hitter: Will Smith (C, Dodgers)

Smith is on pace to go back to back seasons with 20 doubles, 20 homers, and 80 RBIs as the Dodgers’ backstop. With two more arbitration eligible seasons remaining, there’s not a huge rush to lock him in long term, but with Ohtani’s arrival potentially pending, keeping Smith in the long term future makes sense.