Where will the biggest free agents sign this offseason? Let’s see what the experts think.
MLB.com polled 50 of its reporters and analysts on where 11 free agent stars will end up for the 2023 season. These are the consensus picks for each – Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom, Trea Turner, Carlos Correa and Moreover.
Here are MLB.com’s predictions of where the top free agents will sign.
The face of the Yankees will stay that way, according to voters. After Judge’s historic 62 home run season, how could New York let him go?
Judge is baseball’s biggest superstar in baseball’s biggest market, and this marriage might be too strong to break. The judge turned down the Yankees’ offer of a seven-year, $213.5 million extension on opening day, but a reunion is still the most natural path for the 30-year-old outfielder and the Yanks, especially after Judge’s MVP caliber year.
Judge staying in the stripes makes too much sense, and the Yankees continue to look like favorites to sign Judge, according to the latest rumors — compared to other potential California State suitors Judge, Giants and the Dodgers.
Other teams receiving votes: Giants, Dodgers
deGrom leaving the Mets? Yes, it could really happen. MLB.com voters narrowly picked the Rangers over the Mets as deGrom’s landing spot for 2023 in the closest vote of any free agent in the poll.
At the start of free agency, the Rangers look like deGrom’s top suitor from outside New York – their biggest priority this offseason is to start throwing, there’s no bigger ace available than deGrom, and they have already reached out to the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if deGrom returned to the Mets, even though he’s opted out of the final year of his contract and $32.5 million in salary. The 34-year-old is already one of the greatest aces in Mets history, having spent his entire career in New York, and owner Steve Cohen has shown himself willing to do whatever it takes to bring the top talent in New York – or keep it there. But Texas has also started bringing in big-name free agents, as the club did with Corey Seager and Marcus Semien last winter.
Other teams receiving votes: Mets, Braves, Dodgers, Giants, Astros, Guardians, Padres
Another year, another class of loaded free agent shortstop. This offseason, there are Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson. Turner might be the best of the bunch, with his elite combination of contact striking, power and speed. So many teams will be interested – but the Phillies already appear to be the favorites to get the 29-year-old star.
Trea would have enjoys reuniting with former teammate Bryce Harper, and the Phillies are free to pounce on an elite shortstop without waiting for the judging market to grow, thanks to an outfield already packed with sluggers. But the Dodgers would certainly like to bring Turner back after their huge trade success for him in 2021, and there are also other top teams floundering in the shortstop market, like the Cubs.
Other teams receiving votes: Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, Cardinals, Giants, Red Sox, Mariners, Marlins, Yankees
This shortstop market is so robust thanks in part to Correa – one of the marquee shortstops on last market of the year – opting out of the three-year, $105.3 million deal he signed with the Twins after the first season. So where will he go this time? Returning to the Twins on a longer-term deal is one option – but not the most likely, according to our voters.
MLB.com predicts that Correa will be the shortstop to replace Turner in Los Angeles. The Dodgers reportedly “loved everything” Correa, 28, brings to the table. But there’s a question if they’ll give him a serious run since he’s unpopular with Dodgers fans thanks to his appearance at the 2017 Astros. That made the Twins, Cubs and Yankees popular picks for Correa in the poll. .
Other teams receiving votes: Twins, Cubs, Yankees, Braves, Orioles, Phillies, Angels, Giants, Mariners, Red Sox, Tigers
Most of our voters believe Bogaerts will stay with the Red Sox, where the 30-year-old spent his 10 major league seasons, won two World Series and made four All-Star teams, including his last in 2022. Bogaerts opted out of his deal with the Red Sox with three years and $60 million remaining, but both sides have expressed interest in a reunion, and for the Sox, keeping Bogaerts as a shortstop is the No. 1 priority.
Re-signing Bogaerts with Boston would remove one of the best shortstops in the market, but if he tests that market, other teams will lose a shortstop of his caliber to free agency (Dodgers, Twins , Braves) might be options, as would those just looking for a high-end shortstop (Phillies, Cubs). These teams all received multiple votes as a Bogaerts landing spot.
Other teams receiving votes: Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Phillies, Twins, Braves, Mariners, Orioles, Yankees, Mets
Verlander enters his 40-year-old season, but the 17-year-old veteran is coming off another Cy Young-caliber season in 2022. He will be a popular target for “win now” contenders looking to start pitching to help a 2023 world Serial boost.
Of course, the Astros are exactly such a team, and since Verlander just led them to a second World Series championship, his staying in Houston is the most likely outcome in the eyes of our voters. Both New York teams could also pursue Verlander, as the Yankees and Mets try to make the 2023 playoffs deeper and topple the Astros.
Other teams receiving votes: Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Braves, Giants, Angels, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Padres
Swanson doesn’t have as much star power as Turner, Correa and Bogaerts, but his escape in recent seasons has been a big part of the Braves’ success, and when he’s hot at the plate the 28-year-old is as good as any shortstop, especially since he’s become one of the best defensemen in that position. Atlanta knows this all too well, which is why the Braves are MLB.com’s pick to lock up Swanson, who hasn’t played for any other club since they traded him when he was a prospect with the Atlantas. D-backs.
Atlanta was by far the most popular choice for Swanson in the poll. Otherwise, some voters believe he would be in play for the Cubs, who had an equally electric but streaky shortstop in Javier Báez before trading him to the Mets last July. Or the Dodgers, as Swanson describes him as a type of shortstop similar to Turner.
Other teams receiving votes: Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Phillies, Twins, Cardinals, Orioles, Red Sox, Royals, Yankees
deGrom out, Rodon in? If the Mets lose a dominant ace, they could replace him with another. Rodón, who enters the season at age 30, is 27-13 with a 2.67 ERA and 422 strikeouts in 310 2/3 innings since the start of 2021, with a superior power fastball in years 90 and a delete slider like deGrom but on the left side.
deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball when healthy, but Rodón is also good enough to co-ace Max Scherzer if the Mets lose deGrom. MLB.com pundits have deGrom for the Rangers and Rodón for the Mets, but the opposite could also be true — deGrom could return to the Mets and the starting pitcher-needy Rangers could take Rodón. Texas was almost as popular a pick as the Mets — MLB.com voters think both teams get a better free agent, but which team will get which pitcher?
Other teams receiving votes: Rangers, Cubs, Giants, Angels, Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles
For the first time in more than 15 years, the Cardinals need a new receiver. Yadier Molina is retiring, and while no one can quite replace the franchise icon in St. Louis, Contreras is one of the few real stars in the role, and he just happens to be a free agent.
The Cubs and Cardinals could be rivals, but jumping from Chicago to St. Louis would suit Contreras just fine, so the Cardinals are clear favorites for MLB.com voters. But the World Series champions are another solid option, as the Astros rely on aging Martín Maldonado, who isn’t the all-out threat Contreras is. Contreras, who can hit, run and throw, had a few teams that got big votes in the poll, with a return to the Cubs also on the line, as was a deal with the Tigers as part of their rebuild.
Other teams receiving votes: Astros, Tigers, Cubs, Red Sox, Guardians, Mets, Yankees, D-backs, Giants, Padres, Rays, Rockies
Nimmo is the best outfielder in the free agent market not named Aaron Judge. And like Judge, MLB.com pundits believe Nimmo will stay in New York.
Nimmo was the Mets’ kingpin to 101 wins as a daily leading hitter and center fielder in 2022, so they should do everything possible to re-sign the 29-year-old, who has been a Met since he was their first. round Draft pick in 2011. But as with fellow free agent deGrom, Nimmo is going to be talking to other teams, and one of those teams just might have him. The Rockies, Giants and Mariners (who already have a former Met in their outfield in Jarred Kelenic) have all generated significant votes for Nimmo, and even the Crosstown rival Yankees could be in play if Judge leaves town.
Other teams receiving votes: Rockies, Giants, Mariners, Yankees, Astros, Padres, Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, White Sox
The 2020 AL MVP has worked like clockwork for the White Sox year after year since making his big league debut in 2014. Why would he go anywhere else now, entering his 36-year-old season?
Most MLB.com voters believe Abreu will stay in Chicago and continue to anchor the White Sox roster. But a good chunk also thinks he’ll stay in Chicago…but move to the Cubs. The Cubs were the second most popular choice for Abreu, as they currently do not have an established first baseman in the big league, let alone one with Abreu’s background.
Other teams receiving votes: Cubs, Padres, Marlins, Giants, Guardians, Mariners, Rays, Twins, Astros, Brewers, Cardinals, Mets, Orioles, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies
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