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The first blockbuster move of the offseason went down Friday night: Jacob deGrom is a Texas Ranger. The Rangers gave deGrom a massive five-year extension two days before the Winter Meetings begin. Here’s what you need to know about the Winter Meetings and here are Saturday’s hot stove rumors.
Free agent slugger Aaron Judge is coming off a 62-homer season in 2022 and the AL MVP award, and he boasts highly impressive career numbers both in terms of production and ball-tracking metrics. That’s why Judge is expected to fetch around $300 million as this winter’s most coveted free agent. The incumbent Yankees are reported to have recently offered Judge an eight-year pact worth roughly $300 million, but according to Ken Rosenthal’s sources that may not be enough to get it done:
“The way the free-agent market for Aaron Judge is developing, it appears increasingly likely the winning bid will be for nine guaranteed years, sources involved in the negotiations say.”
As Rosenthal points out, such deal would lock up Judge through his age-39 season. He’s much more than a “see ball, hit ball” slugger, but even with his elite athleticism there’s some question as to how a player of Judge’s immense physical dimensions will age. That said, sometimes you have to pay for the decline phase in order to get the tremendous near-term value that a superstar like Judge promises. It’s looking like it’ll take nine years in order to add the elite slugger to some team’s lineup for 2023 and (far) beyond.
Dansby Swanson is the fourth of the big four shortstops available this offseason, partly because of the uncertainty surrounding his bat. That said, the 28-year-old Swanson is an elite defender at the position, and he’s tallied a combined 52 home runs over the last two seasons.
While the incumbent Braves are likely the favorites to land him, Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweets that the Cubs and Phillies also have interest in Swanson. The Cubs are looking to emerge from a deep rebuild and according to many reports are looking to spend on the free agent market, and Swanson would indeed be a fit. As for the reigning pennant winners, the Phillies have Bryson Stott at the position, but they’d no doubt move him elsewhere in the infield to make room for a player like Swanson. The Phillies are very much in contending mode and such an investment on the market wouldn’t be any kind of surprise.
Pirates All-Star outfielder Bryan Reynolds has requested a trade. MLB has no official mechanism for players to request a trade and the Pirates are under no obligation to move Reynolds, though keeping him certainly makes for an awkward situation. The soon-to-be 28-year-old is three years away from free agency and highly desirable as a productive switch-hitter with good defense. Even with the trade request, the Pirates will seek a significant return for their center fielder.
The two New York teams are among the clubs talking to the top free agent starters, according to the New York Post. Specifically, the Yankees are focused on lefty Carlos Rodón while the Mets are eyeing Justin Verlander. The Mets of course lost deGrom to free agency Friday, and need to fill out their rotation behind Max Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco.
Our R.J. Anderson ranked Verlander and Rodón the sixth and eighth best free agents available, respectively. Rodón is a decade younger than Verlander and a safer bet over the next few seasons, though Verlander did just win the Cy Young, and he’ll come on a much shorter contract. With deGrom now a Ranger, don’t be surprised if the Mets begin to pursue Verlander aggressively.
The Brewers plan to keep co-aces Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, GM Matt Arnold told MLB.com. “I’m not going to talk about any trade speculation on players here specifically. What I can say is that those are guys that are very core to our franchise and we intend to build around that group to do the best we can here in 2023,” Arnold said about the two right-handers.
Burnes and Woodruff are both two years away from free agency and it’s been speculated Woodruff, who is nearly two years older than Burnes, would be more receptive to a long-term extension that fits Milwaukee’s small payroll. In that case the Brewers would extend Woodruff and trade Burnes for a significant package, though as Arnold tells it, the team plans to keep both right now.
As part of their efforts to improve their rotation, the Orioles have signed righty Kyle Gibson to a one-year contract, reports ESPN. Financial terms are unknown. They could add another starter and New York Post reports they had a Zoom meeting with Noah Syndergaard on Friday. Our R.J. Anderson did not rank Gibson nor Syndergaard among his top 50 free agents.
Baltimore has a solid foundation of cheap starters (Kyle Bradish, Dean Kremer, Austin Voth, Tyler Wells) and top prospect Grayson Rodriguez is on the way, though adding veteran depth is never a bad idea. Given the step forward the O’s took in 2022, it could be argued they should aim higher than Gibson, though his one-year contract shouldn’t prevent other moves.
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MLB rumors: Mets, Yankees after top starters; Cubs, Phillies eyeing Dansby Swanson; Orioles add Kyle Gibson – CBS Sports