The San Diego Padres made multiple attempts to sign right-handed starter Joe Musgrove to a contract extension before his free agency deadline this winter. Although The Padres’ most recent offer was an eight-year deal valued “in the ballpark” of $11 million per year, Musgrove chose to turn it down.
Musgrove, who is 29 years old, has had a fantastic start to the season. He has a 0.2 WAR with a 0.906 WHIP. As impressive as season 2022, he also had remarkable stats last year, his debut with the Padres. He recorded .550 win-loss percentage and 68 runs scored.
The Padres’ determination to maintain Musgrove is reasonable, but so is Musgrove’s refusal to sign a contract extension for eight years and roughly $90 million.
It’s understandable that Musgrove would find a proposal at that level unsatisfactory. Two additional free-agent pitchers, Toronto Blue Jays right-hander José Berríos and Houston Astros right-hander Lance McCullers, have signed more financially rewarding agreements since March 2021.
Berríos’ seven-year, $131 million contract included his final year of arbitration, and his free-agent years practically averaged around $20 million. McCullers’ five-year, $85 million agreement solely covered free-agent years, with an average annual value of $17 million.
From a statistical standpoint, Musgrove appears to be more superior than McCullers. In comparison, McCullers has a 3.57 ERA in 671.0 innings pitched in the past 6 years, while Musgrove has a 3.93 ERA in 710 innings in 7 years. Another consideration, his performance continues to grow since returned from right triceps inflammation with the Pittsburgh Pirates in September 2020, including a 2.16 ERA in 25 innings with the Padres this season.
It’s uncertain if the Padres plan to make another attempt to sign Musgrove before the end of the season. In any case, the Padres’ rotation will be quite busy over the next few months.
“The (Padres) made it very clear that they think very highly of me and that they would love for me to stay in San Diego,” Musgrove said on April 20 in an interview with the Padres’ flagship radio station, 97.3 The Fan. “The lockout really kind of put a halt to that stuff in the offseason where I think we could have had a chance to get something done.
“But as we’re into the season now, we’ve been negotiating and talking back and forth for the last week or two. I feel like with where we’re at, we’re just not exactly to a deal that feels fair for both sides, something that both sides would be comfortable with. For now, I think we’re going to kind of table it.”
Along with Musgrove, other starters Mike Clevinger who makes his season debut this week and Sean Manaea are set to become free agents at the conclusion of the season. If Musgrove, Clevinger, and Manaea are all available on the open market, they’ll be three of the top stars in the class. Jacob deGrom, Clayton Kershaw, Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Bassitt, Zach Eflin, Noah Syndergaard, and Jameson Taillon are among the famous names who could join them.