Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres
Musgrove got a five-year, $100 million deal over the winter that pays him $20 million annually to pitch for San Diego through 2027. But for a mid-August shoulder inflammation, he had an outside chance to join teammate Blake Snell in Cy Young discussions right about now.
Musgrove was 10-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 17 starts when the injury sent him to the sidelines and adjusted his sights forward to 2024. The hope is that he’ll be able to avoid surgery. He’s coming off three solid seasons for the Padres since being acquired from Pittsburgh.
Musgrove’s 2.0 WAR was on pace to compare with his 3.7 and 3.3 WAR performances of 2021 and 2022 when he season ended early. That translated to a good but not great 1.2 WPA.
The real question regarding Musgrove now (as is often the case with injured pitchers) is whether he returns to form following a recuperation period consisting of rest alone. If he does, at age 31, there’s no reason to believe he won’t justify the remaining four seasons of his contract.
At the same time, plenty of pitchers do not return to form following a winter’s rest for shoulder soreness. Some of them even rest and then decide to go under the knife. If that happens, you can write off Musgrove’s 2024 and the $20 million the Padres will pay him again.
Such are the risks associated with giving pitchers long-term deals. Transactional grade: C