The San Diego Padres are 42-27, a record that has them tied with the Dodgers for first place in the National League West. Their 42 wins are the third-most in the entire league, and that is mostly in part due to a phenomenal starting rotation formed of Yu Darvish, Sean Manaea, MacKenzie Gore, and most importantly, Joe Musgrove.
Musgrove has not only been the best pitcher for the Padres this season but among the best pitchers in all of baseball. He currently leads the majors in ERA (1.59) and quality starts (12), is tied for the lead in wins (8), and is fourth in WHIP (0.92). Musgrove became the seventh player since 1994 to start a season with 12 straight quality starts, and his start to the 2022 season has been historic.
The native of San Diego has been a Cy Young candidate, if not the favorite, so far this season and has shown the Padres how valuable he is to the team, going 11-1 in his starts. Musgrove immediately became a fan favorite when he pitched a no-hitter in his second start with the team last season. He has been the best and most consistent pitcher for the Padres since he was acquired in January 2021.
Musgrove, 29, is a free agent after the 2022 season and should be paid. He wants a long-term contract and fully deserves one. With Sean Manaea and Mike Clevinger also due for free agency after the year, San Diego may want to bring back one of them, but Musgrove will be the priority.
The Padres agreed to a one-year, $ 8.625 million contract before the start of the 2022 season with Musgrove. Which is his final year of arbitration. In April, the pitcher rejected an eight-year extension in the range of $ 11 million per season. He will likely be looking for something around $ 20M per year.
Back in November, Kevin Gausman signed a five-year, $ 110M deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. While with the San Francisco Giants in 2020 and 2021, he put up a 3.00 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 306 strikeouts in 251.2 innings over 45 appearances. In Musgrove’s last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020, combined with his tenure with the Padres, he owns a 2.85 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 339 strikeouts over 300 innings in 45 appearances.
After declining a cheaper offer and having the start to the 2022 season he has been having, Musgrove will likely be looking for an extension of something in the likes of a five-year, $ 100M-120M deal. If he can keep up his success and become the National League All-Star starter and perhaps become a Cy Young winner, that number will rise substantially.
The Padres have some money coming off the books after 2022. Wil Myers has a $ 20M club option, and Eric Hosmer’s annual salary will decrease from $ 21M to $ 13M.
With Yu Darvish getting older and becoming a free agent after 2023, along with Manaea and Clevinger becoming free agents after 2022, it is essential that the Padres lock up their No. 1 starter in Joe Musgrove for years to come. Having Musgrove and Gore, who is only 23, as the long-term starters for the future would be huge for this San Diego starting rotation.
The Padres are a team looking to contend for a World Series. With Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. as the cornerstones of the franchise, their window will remain open. Keeping Musgrove in the mix increases their chances even more.
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