David Samson: Hot Stove Deals Getting Done Sooner

The former MLB executive explained why there's more activity this offseason than last

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
December 18, 2019 - 10:24 am
Stephen Strasburg Nats Astros World Series

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Last year, MLB’s Hot Stove was pretty frigid. In fact, there was seemingly no meaningful action for months.

This offseason has been a different story, as Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, among others, have agreed to big-money contracts.

What changed?

“There’s a lot of talk about why all these signings are happening before the new year, and the big difference is the teams with needs for pitchers, and the pitchers themselves, there is a match now in the level of desperation of the owners and the acceptance of the players that they’re not going to do better by waiting,” CBS Sports MLB analyst David Samson explained on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The reason Harper and Machado waited is they weren’t getting the numbers that they wanted early in the offseason and they were just going to wait to get it – and they waited and they got it. The high-end players set the market for themselves, they had competition of many teams who wanted them and one team hit that number – and so the players accepted it.”

Cole signed a historic nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees, while Strasburg signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Nationals. Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, on the other hand, were free agents until late-February.

“When you had Harper out there, there were only so many teams who were willing to go over $300 million and 10 years to get Bryce Harper,” Samson said. “There was a limited number, and they weren’t doing it. Now you’ve got teams with Cole, there was such a desperation to have that pitcher. Somehow, teams – whether it was the Angels or the Yankees or the Dodgers or even the Astros – there was a feeling that, ‘Without Cole, we are a failure. We need to have him at the top of our rotation. That’s how to win a World Series.’ Pitching, as you know, is how you win a World Series. So Cole says, ‘I’m going to wait until I get a ninth year.’ Boras says to the team, ‘If you give a ninth year, you’re going to get him.’ So instead of waiting until February to cave, the Yankees caved now. That’s how you get deals done earlier.”