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Judging Where MLB’s Biggest Free Agents Land

Judge, deGrom Keep New York Teams on Edge

The game’s biggest offensive threat and – when healthy – its best pitcher both could leave their New York teams this winter. However, the Yankees and Mets figure to make a significant effort to try to retain Aaron Judge and Jacob deGrom. Let’s analyze their situations and those of a few more big names as the offseason circus begins in Major League Baseball.

Let’s check the latest MLB picks, stats, injury reports, and MLB predictions. We’ve plenty of MLB expert picks for you to consider.

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees
Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees | Elsa/getty images/afp

Aaron Judge

It’ll be a tough sell to New York Yankees fans to lose out on the home run king, especially after another in a long line of postseason flameouts that has the masses antsy and eager for something to latch onto. If Judge went elsewhere, the Pinstripers are – at the current time – a rather ordinary bunch that wouldn’t be much of a draw come spring.

The Yankees offered Judge a seven-year deal just north of $200 million prior to the season. He wisely rejected it, bet on himself, and now should get a package more than twice that in overall value.

He has been a perfect fit in New York, playing well with the media and fans alike. He seems to love his teammates and can cement a legacy alongside the franchise greats if he stays. Whether that means enough to him to offset the lure of California, where he’s from, remains to be seen.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are always a threat, but the San Francisco Giants seem like a fantastic landing spot. They will have some payroll flexibility and would love nothing more than to improve their situation relative to the mighty Dodgers by bringing in a local kid who hit more home runs than anyone in American League history.

Expect a bidding war between the Yankees and Giants, with New York throwing something extra on the table to save their offseason butts. If you can find some solid MLB odds of that sort of scenario playing out, that would be a solid bet online.

Jacob deGrom

The two-time Cy Young Award winner opted out of a one-year, $32 million deal and will be looking for a multi-year contract worth north of $40 million. Would the Mets, who have had to be patient with a never-ending string of physical issues for deGrom, pony up? After all, he’ll be 35 before next summer technically begins and pitchers don’t usually get more healthy and durable at that age.

It seems more likely that a team that desperately needs to make a splash and hasn’t been worn down by deGrom’s physical woes would want to make such a move. Someone that needs to send a signal to their fans that they’re in it to win it. A team like the Texas Rangers, who spent a ton of cash last offseason to try to turn things around, might need that piece.

The Boston Red Sox, with a staff ERA that ranked 25th in the majors last year (4.53), would be a wonderful fit and they should have money to spend. The Baltimore Orioles are ready to jump into the big-name market again after a turnaround season and deGrom leading the staff sounds nice.

Trea Turner

A dynamic talent that can infuse speed and power atop any lineup, Turner figures to move on from Los Angeles, even though he’s had a nice link to Hollywood. The 29-year-old is definitely promoting himself (or at least his agency is) and it seems as if he’s eager to test the market.

Turner has been linked to the Chicago Cubs for some time. That’s a team that severely lacks star power and is pretty mediocre up the middle. He’d be a perfect addition at Wrigley Field, where he’s a .302 lifetime hitter.

Consider another scenario. If the Atlanta Braves are okay with moving on from Dansby Swanson, an All-Star in his own right, they should be all over Turner. He would be a natural addition in Atlanta, where he has hit .390 with five home runs in 10 career games.

Another NL East team has already latched onto the Turner Train. That would be the Mets, who have some flexibility with second baseman Jeff McNeil able to move to the outfield. Turner has played some second base before and he’s not necessarily Ozzie Smith over at short, so he would cede that spot to Francisco Lindor and be a wonderful addition with Lindor, Pete Alonso, and the rest.

Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers
Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers | Harry how/getty images/afp

Xander Bogaerts

It’s hard to imagine the Red Sox without Bogaerts in the mix. He’s been a fixture at shortstop since 2014, amassing nearly 1,500 hits and four All-Star nods with Boston. And, somehow, he’s still only 30, with seemingly several good years left in what has been a very durable body.

However, Bogaerts seems ready to play the market after opting out of the final three years of a contract with the Sox. With Turner, Swanson, and Carlos Correa out there as well, it’s a wild market for shortstops, and maybe Bogaerts would fit in where some of them leave.

Boston has said time and time again it wants Bogaerts back at shortstop in 2023 and beyond. The Red Sox seem genuine, but he wasn’t keen on their extension offers and who knows how eager the front office is to re-up for a guy whose defense is rather average at times, and could become below average over the next few years.

Bogaerts is a very, very good hitter. But his OPS has gone down three straight seasons, perhaps another fact that played into Boston’s low-ball offer. The Red Sox have let big names go in recent years and it figures they will find a way to keep Rafael Devers, a much younger and more dynamic talent than Bogaerts.

If there are some MLB lines at the sportsbook suggesting Bogaerts will sign elsewhere, jump on it. He may end up being a Red Sox for life, but there are some indications on both sides that it’s time to move on.

The Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, and, of course, the Dodgers and Giants all figure to be in the mix. Our money’s on the Phillies and a reunion with Dave Dombrowski.

Carlos Correa

Another guy who opted out, to no surprise, after he inked only a short-term deal loaded with options last fall. He’s expressed a desire to stay in Minnesota on a new long-term deal, and there are already rumors that the two sides have connected.

Correa just turned 28, so he’s got lots of life left in his bat and glove, both of which are very good. If there’s concern, it might be in the fact that he’s averaged just 116 games a season over the last five (excluding 2020), and some defensive metrics showed a slight slippage last season.

But that shouldn’t prohibit the two-time All-Star from getting a massive deal approaching the one he sought – but couldn’t find – last year when he first tested the market. A former Rookie of the Year who finished fifth in AL MVP voting after a phenomenal 2021 in which he was brilliant defensively, Correa has plenty to offer many of the aforementioned teams looking for a shortstop.

The thought here is that he can’t quite make it work in Minnesota and that the Orioles swoop in. They have payroll flexibility, a huge need for star power and an ownership group that has said it can pursue some big names. We can’t imagine a better fit for Correa.

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