The Padres and right-hander Joe Musgrove have finalized a five-year, $100 million extension, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post (Twitter
connections). The deal — which even pays $20 million in wages each year between 2023 and 2027 — contains a full no-trade clause for the next four seasons, as well as limited no-trade protection for 2027. Heyman reported last Friday that the parties were close to a deal on these terms. Musgrove, a client of Full Circle Sports Management, was scheduled to enter free agency at the end of the year.
Musgrove and the Brothers spent months extending overtime terms, with progress appearing to pick up around the All-Star break. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported during the break that both sides believe a deal could be reached before the start of the unofficial second half of the season. That obviously didn’t happen, but it obviously didn’t deter or significantly delay the talks.
The $100 million five-year price tag is a bit of a surprise, as the first All-Star very likely could have exceeded those numbers by a lot on the open market. Musgrove, however, is a San Diego-area native who has been open about his desire to stay with his hometown club. It’s certainly understandable if the opportunity, at a nine-figure salary, to stay somewhere he feels comfortable was something he’s decided not to pass up, especially with the heavy protection against the exchanges.
However, Musgrove’s contract is lower than those won by some of the best starters in the market last year, Kevin Gausman and Robbie Ray. Gausman was given a five-year, $110 million contract with the Blue Jays. Ray signed with the Mariners for five years and $115 million in a deal that also included an option to opt out after the 2024 season. and Ray were the top starting free agent commitments last offseason.
You could argue that Musgrove is a better long-term bet than either pitcher. Like Ray, he will begin his new contract with his 30-year season; Gausman’s contract started when he was 31 years old. The right-hander from San Diego has a career ERA of 2.65 in 115 1/3 innings this season, just below the respective marks of 2.81 and 2.84 posted by Gausman and Ray last year. Gausman and Ray missed bats at a better clip than Musgrove, but the latter has a slightly better walk rate than 2021 free agents.
Musgrove’s platforming season is shaping up to be similar to Gausman and Ray’s, and Musgrove may have a slightly better long-term record. Ray had a terrible year in the shortened 2020 campaign in which he posted a 6.62 ERA. He had shown flashes at the top of the rotation earlier in his career, but his control and home run rates fluctuated wildly. Gausman had a very good shortened season, but he had struggled in the previous full campaign. Musgrove has an ERA below 4.00 in each of his last three years, with a cumulative figure of 3.08 in 58 starts since the start of 2020.
In this context, the extension appears as a strong investment for the Brothers. This is especially true given the Padres’ long-term rotation uncertainty. San Diego could lose both Sean Manaea and Mike Clevinger to free agency this winter. Blake Snell and Yu Darvish are only under contract for a season and a half, and Nick Martinez can opt out of his contract after one of the next three years. MacKenzie Gore is the only rotational building block that’s certain to be two seasons from now, and the Brothers can build a long-term starting lineup around the young southpaw and Musgrove.
Musgrove’s contract comes with a matching luxury tax number of $20 million, which will come into effect from next season. The Brothers broke the CBT threshold for the first time in franchise history last year, and they could do it again in 2022. According to Jason Martinez of Roster Resource, San Diego’s payroll in 2023 is now around $130 million before factoring in referee salaries. Padres’ luxury tax number is estimated to be north of $162 million, while next season’s base tax threshold sits at $233 million.