7:20pm: Heyman reports (on Twitter) that San Diego and Musgrove are close to an agreement on a five-year deal that’d guarantee roughly $100MM.
7:14pm: Extension discussions between the Padres and Joe Musgrove are “gaining momentum,” reports Dennis Lin of the Athletic (Twitter link). The sides have still yet to come to an agreement, but Lin indicates there’s mutual optimism a deal could be hammered out by next week.
The generally optimistic tenor has been prevalent for the past couple weeks. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported over the All-Star Break there was a belief on both sides a deal could get done before the start of the season’s unofficial second half. That obviously didn’t come to pass, but that evidently hasn’t deterred or meaningfully set back talks.
Terms currently under discussion are unclear, but Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports the Friars made an offer around the Break that resembled the free agent deals given to Kevin Gausman and Robbie Ray. Gausman received a five-year, $110MM deal from the Blue Jays. Ray signed with the Mariners for five years and $115MM in a deal that also included an opt-out opportunity following the 2024 season.
Aside from the record-setting three-year deal for Max Scherzer, the Gausman and Ray contracts represented the top commitments to free agent starters last offseason. That makes for a reasonable comparison point for the Padres, but Musgrove and his representatives at Full Circle Sports Management could reasonably seek to top those markers. The San Diego righty carries a career-low 2.63 ERA through 109 1/3 innings this season, a bit below the respective 2.81 and 2.84 marks posted by Gausman and Ray last year. Both Gausman and Ray missed bats at a better clip than Musgrove has, but the latter has a slightly better walk rate than the 2021 free agents.
Musgrove’s platform season is shaping up to be similar to those of Gausman and Ray, and Musgrove may have a slightly better long-term track record. Ray had an awful year during the shortened 2020 campaign in which he posted a 6.62 ERA. He’d shown top-of-the-rotation flashes earlier in his career, but his control and home run rates fluctuated a fair amount. Gausman had a very strong shortened season, but he’d struggled during the previous full campaign. Musgrove has a sub-4.00 ERA in each of his past three years, with a cumulative 3.08 figure through 57 starts since the beginning of 2020.
A new contract would begin with Musgrove’s age-30 season, giving him a strong case for a six-year deal at an annual rate that’d push him above the $110MM – 115MM range for a total guarantee. At the same time, it’d be plenty understandable if Musgrove were a bit less concerned about maximizing his earning potential to remain with the Padres. He’s a San Diego-area native who has been open about his desire to remain with the organization. It’s uncommon for players of his magnitude to even discuss an in-season extension when they’re mere months away from the open market.
The appeal for the Padres in trying to keep Musgrove around is fairly evident. He’s one of the sport’s best pitchers, and the Friars could lose Sean Manaea and Mike Clevinger to free agency this winter. Blake Snell and Yu Darvish are only under contract for two more seasons, and Nick Martinez can opt out of his deal after any of the next three years. MacKenzie Gore is the only rotation building block who’s certain to be around two seasons from now, and the Friars can build a long-term starting staff around the young southpaw and Musgrove if they can finalize an extension.