MLB rumors: Live updates from free-agent frenzy as Corey Seager, Max Scherzer, Robbie Ray find new homes - CBS sports.com

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The Major League Baseball hot stove is heating up ahead of an impending work stoppage. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires Wednesday night, and free-agent activity will be halted until the players' union and the league can come to a new agreement -- a process that could take months. Many players and teams are getting deals in place before the lockout, and it's led to a free-agent frenzy in the last two days. Shortstop Corey Seager became the latest big name to sign, as he agreed to a massive 10-year, $325 million contract with the Rangers on Monday afternoon.

It's already been a huge offseason for the Rangers. Over the weekend, they added second baseman Marcus Semien, right-hander Jon Gray, and outfielder Kole Calhoun. In all, that's a salary commitment of more than $550 million for Texas. 

Also on Monday, Max Scherzer agreed to a record-breaking deal with the Mets. Scherzer's contract with the Mets will pay him $130 million over three years, thereby setting a new record for average annual value ($43.3M per year). Scherzer will join a trio of free-agent signings the Mets made last week, in infielder Eduardo Escobar, utility player Mark Canha, and outfielder Starling Marte. Scherzer was not the only big-name pitcher to sign on Monday. Robbie Ray, who won the AL Cy Young Award earlier this month for his stellar 2021 season with the Blue Jays, agreed to a five-year deal with the Seattle Mariners worth $115 million.

Here's a look at the notable free agent deals to happen since Sunday night.

Notable hot stove deals

Corey Seager and the Rangers have agreed to a 10-year, $325 million pact (full story here). Max Scherzer and the Mets have finalized a three-year, $130 million deal (full story here).Robbie Ray agreed to a five-year, $115 million deal with the Mariners (full story here).Marcus Semien agreed to a seven-year, $175 million deal with the Rangers (full story here). 
The Marlins and Avisaíl García agreed to a four-year, $53 million deal (full story here). Kevin Gausman and the Blue Jays agreed to a five-year, $110 million deal (full story here). Jon Gray and the Rangers agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal (full story here).Corey Kluber signed a one-year deal with the Rays after spending 2021 with the Yankees (full story here).

We'll be providing live updates throughout Monday as teams push to get more deals done. Follow along below.

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Marlins getting their catcher

Catcher was a clear position of need for the Marlins coming into the offseason, and they're on the verge of acquiring Jacob Stallings from the Pirates, according to multiple reports. Stallings is an okay bat/excellent glove type who will help Miami's already dynamic pitching staff. He turns 32 next month despite having only three full years in the show, so he's a veteran guy but also will remain under team control through 2024.

There's no word on the return going back to Pittsburgh yet. The smart money is on prospects.

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Jays also in on Kikuchi

In addition to the Mets (see below), the Blue Jays are also interested in free agent starter Yusei Kikuchi, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network

Kikuchi, 30, made the All-Star team last season after a pretty great run of starts in a stretch in mostly May and June. Through his first 15 starts of the season, Kikuchi was 6-3 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 93 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. Things were a bit more rough the rest of the way, but he still finished with a 4.41 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 157 innings. 

The Blue Jays currently have a rotation that looks something like José Berríos, Kevin Gausman, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alek Manoah and Nate Pearson with Ross Stripling providing depth. Kikuchi would just give them more depth in case Pearson either doesn't pan out or needs more time in the minors. 

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Mets aren't done, eye more starting pitching

The Mets are interested in free agent starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, according to Andy Martino of SNY

Now that the Mets have a pair of aces in Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, filling out rotation depth makes a lot of sense. 

Kikuchi, 30, made the All-Star team last season after a pretty great run of starts in a stretch in mostly May and June. Through his first 15 starts of the season, Kikuchi was 6-3 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 93 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. Things were a bit more rough the rest of the way, but he still finished with a 4.41 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 157 innings. There's certainly something to work with there. 

In addition to Scherzer and deGrom, the Mets also have Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco, Tylor Megill and David Peterson, so Kikuchi might even have to compete for starts or move to the bullpen, should an agreement happen here. 

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Mariners finalizing deal for Cy Young winner 

The Mariners are finalizing a deal for 2021 Cy Young winner Robbie Ray that will be worth five years and $115 million, confirms Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ. (Full story here)

Ray, 30, has flashed ace upside for years but had trouble putting it together consistently. Through some mechanical adjustments with the Blue Jays in 2021, he reached the potential. He was 13-7 with a 2.84 ERA (154 ERA+), 1.05 WHIP and 248 strikeouts against 52 walks in 193 1/3 innings. 

With southpaw Ray at the top followed by righty Chris Flexen, lefty Marco Gonzales and talented young right-hander Lucas Gilbert, the Mariners have the makings of a really nice rotation. 

They shouldn't be done spending, either, as they need at least one more big bat -- and probably more than that. 

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Braves sign O'Day for bullpen depth

The Braves have a decent number of free agents, but they still have postseason bullpen stalwarts Will Smith, Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter and Luke Jackson under control. They've added a bit of depth to complement the big boys here, with Darren O'Day signing a minor-league deal (per Jon Heyman of MLB Network). 

O'Day, 39, pitched really well for the Braves in 2019-20, though injury limited him to 27 appearances. Injuries (rotator cuff and hamstring) were again a factor for O'Day with the Yankees last season. He pitched to a 3.38 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with 11 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. 

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Rangers pushing hard for Seager

A day after making a huge splash with a seven-year deal for Marcus Semien, will the Rangers go even bigger? Multiple reports, including from Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ, have the Rangers making a very strong push for free agent shortstop Corey Seager. A possible 10-year deal has been mentioned. 

Seager is 27 years old while Semien got seven years from the Rangers at age 31. 

Seager is a career .297/.367/.504 hitter, which is good for a 131 OPS+. He's one of the better players in baseball when he's been able to stay on the field, but injuries have been a problem at times. Thanks to a fractured hand suffered when he was hit by a pitch last season, he only managed 95 games. 

The Rangers have also been connected to free agent shortstop Trevor Story, so it's clear they are driving hard to land two of the big-name free agent middle infielders this cycle. 

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From the Bronx to Queens for Sánchez? 

After parts of seven seasons, most of which as the Yankees' primary catcher, Gary Sánchez is a non-tender candidate (baseball's version of a release, in a way) this week. If that happens, it's possible the Mets would take a swing at grabbing him, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post

Sánchez has had such an up-and-down tenure with the Yankees. He looked like a superstar in 2016, was a deserved All-Star in 2017 and 2019 but was rough in 2018 and 2020. Last year, he hit .204/.307/.423 (99 OPS+) with 23 homers and 54 RBI in 117 games. He has the offensive upside to be the most powerful catcher in baseball. He strikes out a lot and has only hit .201 since 2017. There are some fair questions on his defense, too, though probably overblown. 

The Mets signed James McCann to a four-year, $40 million deal last offseason, but he was bad in 2021 and they have plenty of money. 

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I had Raley ranked as one of the top relievers available this offseason: https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/top-50-mlb-free-agents-carlos-correa-max-scherzer-kris-bryant-among-big-names-available-this-winter/

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Rays grab reliever Raley

The Rays have signed left-handed reliever Brooke Raley, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Raley had a 4.78 ERA last season for the Astros, but he's excellent at inducing weak contact and struck out 65 against 16 walks. His peripherals (the most basic being a 3.27 FIP) in addition to good numbers on things like exit velocity suggest he's a much better pitcher than the ERA showed and we know that isn't always the best measure for relievers anyway. We also know the Rays are pretty adept at shopping for relievers. 

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Scherzer deal done

Max Scherzer is going to the Mets on a three-year, $130 million deal per multiple reports. Full story here. We can probably take this tweet as the Mets essentially confirming as much: 

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