mlb

Where the 5 best MLB free agents will land in free agency


Author: Nolan MegnaPublished: 11/21/22
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We haven’t seen an MLB free agency class this stacked since the Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux and Mark McGwire 1993 offseason — back when the league minimum was $109,000.

Here we are two decades later with a free agency class that includes a guy who hit more American League regular season home runs than anyone in baseball’s long history, a couple of shortstops who make up the face of the league, and a couple of pitchers who are still dealing despite creeping up on an AARP eligible age.

The money is sure to be flying around this winter. Let’s get into it.

1. Aaron Judge returns home ... to the Giants

Aaron Judge

No, not his Bronx home. I know Yankees fans are punching air after the lead in that first sentence, but it’s hard to picture Judge returning after his offseason contract talks with the Yanks last year were leaked to the public. Judge made it clear he was not happy about that and the Yankees have done nothing but mishandle the situation ever since. Props to Judge for turning down Brian Cashman’s 7-year, $213.5 million offer, because he’s set to make a lot more after his historic 2022.

I'm predicting Judge, who is from Northern California, will join the San Francisco Giants on a mega deal that could exceed $300 million. The Giants are known suitors for the 2022 home run leader, and for good reason. San Francisco hasn’t had a player hit 30 or more home runs since Bonds hit 45 in 2004. They are DESPERATE to add some pop to that lineup and what better fit than one of the best power hitters of this generation?

2. Dodgers nemesis Carlos Correa becomes their savior

Carlos Correa

The Astros defeated the Dodgers in seven games in 2017 only for cheating allegations to taint the franchise’s first-ever title. The beef between Los Angeles and Houston exploded, and at the center of it all was shortstop Carlos Correa, who told the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (2017 Rookie of the Year) to “shut the f*ck up” after Bellinger criticized the legitimacy of Houston's 2017 season — and, more specifically, José Altuve's 2017 MVP award.

Now, Carlos Correa is a free agent, Trea Turner is on his way out of Los Angeles, and the Dodgers have never shied away from spending money to fill a vacancy on their roster. Correa to the Dodgers makes too much sense — for Correa (who is coming off a one-year money grab deal with the Twins), the Dodgers (who are ready to throw money at whoever) and baseball fans (who would love to see this 2017 beef come full circle).

I will leave you with this quote from the great Confucius: “To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”

It’s time to forgive, Los Angeles.

3. The Mets Sign Another Old Man, Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander

What’s more Mets than signing a 39-year old starting pitcher? This time is different. though. Verlander is coming off of his third Cy Young award, and with Chris Bassitt and possibly Jacob deGrom departing, New York will have major holes to fill in that rotation. Verlander's age is nothing but a number, but his anticipated signing amount is a much, much larger number.

Verlander, who has come out and said that he is searching for a deal similar to Max Scherzer's 3-year, $130 million, is basically begging the wealthiest owner in the sport to make it happen. A two-headed monster of Verlander and Scherzer at the top of a pitching rotation? What is this, the 2010 Detroit Tigers?

4. Rangers spend big (again) on Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom

The Texas Rangers spent over $500 million in free agency last season, with headline signing of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, but it wasn’t enough to save the jobs of manager Chris Woodward and president of baseball ops Jon Daniels after a season in which they put up a 68-94 record.

After firing Daniels, Rangers owner Ray Davis said “While I am certain we are heading in the right direction, I feel a change in the leadership of the baseball operations department will be beneficial going forward.” No one makes a statement like that unless they are ready to SPEND MORE.

Arguably the best pitcher in the game (when healthy), Jacob deGrom, is a hot commodity this offseason. After opting out of his deal with the Mets, deGrom quite literally told the Rangers he’d be "interested" in signing with them. That’s kind of like going to your friend’s birthday party and telling them you have a birthday gift for them but left it at home.

Next time you see your friend, they might not bring it up, but they ain’t forgetting about that 'gift'.

5. Trea Turner back to the NL East with the reigning league champs

Trea Turner

The two-time All-Star and 2022 Silver Slugger award winner is rumored to want to play on the east coast. It's hard to see him not returning to the NL East, where he began his MLB career. No not the Mets, who recently signed Francisco Lindor to a 10-year deal.It's hard to picture the Marlins shelling out those bucks with Miguel Rojas and Jazz Chisolm as a main stay in that infield. The Braves will inevitably lock their guy up Dansby Swanson this offseason with a fat contract and the Nationals, who traded Turner to the Dodgers, are in a full rebuild.

That leaves the reigning NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies. After designating Didi Gregorious for assignment in the middle of the 2022 season, Philly turned to Bryson Stott who put up a 1.3 WAR in 127 games… For those unfamiliar with WAR (wins above replacement), you could not play in a single MLB game and have a WAR only 1.3 less that Stott's. Not good!

To put Stott's WAR even further into context, Shohei Ohtani has a 24.8 career WAR over 566 games. By not extending a qualifying offer to veteran middle infielder Jean Segura, it’s safe to say the Phillies are clearly making room (both on the field and on the payroll) to make a splash this offseason at a position that needs a major upgrade.