We hear rumors all the time about which teams might be the favourites, to sign a particular star. And that’s very good. And teams that could pop up out of nowhere and surprise us with an impact signature?
We have had many examples in recent years. Last spring, the Rockies wowed everyone by signing Kris Bryant to a seven-year, $182 million deal, while the Gemini did the same by closing a three-year, $105 million deal with Carlos Correa (he went back to free agency after opting out of that contract).
We asked some of our writers to come up with a few free-agent transfers that are perhaps unlikely but plausible. After all, there’s always “that team” that can rock the world, right? Here are the ideas they shared:
LHP Carlos Rodón to Padres
Why they are not favourites: Because they already have enough quality starting shots and they need to see if they can give Juan José Soto a long-term contract.
Why does it make sense: Because no one likes to start a sales pitch as much as AJ Preller, but he usually does it by barter. The point is, it should never be excluded from any interesting movement. Despite all the talent in San Diego’s rotation, there are still some questions to be answered as Yu Darvish and Blake Snell are only contracted until the end of 2023. Joe Musgrove is signed until 2027, so you can add Preller Rodón, watch the 2023 rotation succeed.
But there’s another possibility here: signing Rodon would allow Preller to trade Snell to a team desperate to start pitching like Minnesota or Texas.
RHP Jacob deGrom to the Angels
Why aren’t they favourites?: The Angels have not signed a top-notch free agent since signing Shohei Ohtani, making do with riskier (and less expensive) options like Noah Syndergaard, Julio Tehran, Matt Harvey, and Jose Quintana. As for DeGrom, Californians aren’t even favorites in their division, as it’s the Rangers who are linked to the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
Why does it make sense: Ohtani will be released after next season, so this could be the Angels’ last chance to reach the postseason with two of the best players in the world on their roster. Mike Trout only made it to postseason, where he didn’t win a single game in his amazing 12-year career. Ohtani has never played in the playoffs. Now, after sales pitch projects in recent years that have sought comebacks have failed, the Angels need a real ace to mate with Ohtani.
DeGrom, who has made only 156.1 innings in the last two seasons, of course carries his risks, but for an arm with such potential, it may be worth the risk.
C Willson vs. the Guardians
*_Why they’re weak: *_Guardian No. 5 nominee Bo Naylor is the organization’s future catcher and may be ready to take over the position as early as 2023. Also, Contreras will cost more than $20 million a year the year and Cleveland hasn’t been a long-term signing team in the open market.
Why does it make sense: The Guardians can and perhaps should re-sign Austin Hedges. Again compared to the 30-year-old Contreras, Hedges is better on defense. However, it’s no secret that Cleveland needs to improve its offensive production, especially at the rear. The Guardians’ players spent the 2022 season with batting average (.180) and slowing percentage (.267), placing 29th on wRC+ (56). Hedges specifically hit .163/.241/.248.
Contreras is having a great year in the batting box. His 132 wRC+ was career-high, with at least 20 home runs for the third consecutive season. He has the fourth most (74) and third best OPS (.816) among qualified catchers since the 2019 season began. He’s the kind of presence the Guardians needed after last season.
If Cleveland is uncomfortable with Contreras managing the shooting team, they could try him in the first stage, where he played occasionally during his early years in Chicago. Contreras probably isn’t a very good defender in the first phase, but the Guardians’ defense is good enough to make up for it. And Contreras has the kind of power Cleveland’s squad desperately needs.
INF Xander Bogaerts to the White Sox
Why they are not favourites: Tim Anderson, who will be contractually controlled with a $14 million club option through the end of 2024, already has a centre-back, and the Palelegs are yet to be tied to a free agent centre-back.
Why does it make sense: After a disappointing 81-81 season in 2022, the Chicago South team may feel convinced they already have what it takes to be a contender again in 2023, with rebounds from Lucas Giolito and Cuban Yoán Moncada as well as from Cuba. Better health can wait. A comment from Luis Robert, Dominican Eloy Jiménez and Lance Lynn, plus Andrew Vaughn. In a weak AL Centre, the White Sox might be right. But they will need more to become a true contender. Even with the above in Chicago’s favour, the team still has big gaps in the roster, especially during the Jose Abreu free agency era.
Bogaerts looks like a great alternative considering they have almost the same output as Abreu this year – Abreu has reached .304 with 15 home runs, 40 doubles and 133 OPS+ in 157 games with Palelegs, while Bogaerts averaged .307 with 15 homers. reached. , 38 doubles and 131 OPS+ in 150 games with the Red Sox. The difference between the two is that the Bogaerts are almost six years younger and provide more value on defense.
The White Sox may turn their attention to lower-profile alternatives in tier two, but that’s the kind of move they should make if they’re serious about going deep in October (assuming they can convince Bogaerts or Anderson to move on to tier 2). .
P Justin Verlander to the Orioles
Why they are not favourites: Baltimore’s rise in 2022 excited many and was wildly unexpected for some. A team estimated to be a few years away from a World Series championship – even if a postseason berth in 2023 seems realistic – probably won’t be very active in their search for a free agent who will turn 40 next year. .
Why does it make sense: But it’s not just a 40-year-old startup… we’re talking about Cy Young Award recipient Justin Verlander – the fourth oldest winner in the award’s history and then the first to win. last year that missed everything. It showed no signs of slowing down. So why not add your arm and lead?
The Orioles are looking to bolster their starting pitches after taking 21st place in the ERA in their 2022 rotation, and Verlander influence with John Means and other players on the big team Grayson Rodriguez (4th in baseball by MLB Pipeline) and DL Hall (87th). . rank) – plus the production that Verlander himself can provide.
SS Trea Turner to the Yankees
Why they are not favourites: If the early off-season rumors are to be believed, the Bombers have stated they won’t expect any stoppers in the open market. Aaron Judge is top priority, New York beat another set of star defenders last winter, and now two hot candidates, Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, are theoretically ready to be in the middle of the field.
Why does it make sense: It doesn’t matter what the rumors say. The Yankees need a high-caliber centre-back. You’ve just seen what happens when they have to settle for less, as evidenced by the huge void that Isiah Kiner-Falefa created in that position post-season. They could have signed with Corey Seager. Now they can sign Turner. Who knows what results the prospects will yield? Volpe and Peraza might be great, but they might not be.
Having a star in the middle of the court is the biggest missing piece for any team struggling in 2022. Landing Turner’s services could make an impact on a struggling squad in 2023.
RF Aaron Judge for the Braves
Why they are not favourites: With Atlanta investing nearly $500 million in overtime last season — securing Matt Olson, Michael Harris II (NL Rookie of the Year), Spencer Strider and Austin Riley for multiple years — Atlanta now focuses its full attention on All Same with All- will turn it into doing. Star defender Dansby Swanson. With all that investment, and another possible investment in Swanson, the Braves will likely enter luxury tax territory if they sign the Judge. While the team’s owners have made it clear that they aim to have one of the top five payrolls in the major leagues, it won’t be possible to raise it beyond $230 million.
Why does it make sense: Judge, Harris II, and Ronald Acuña Jr. Imagine a super outdoor field with This would be a high value outfield. But he’s also the best in MLB. This would probably give Atlanta the extra strength they need to get back to the World Series after being knocked out by the Phillies in the ALDS.
The judge’s signature will make Marcell Ozuna a trading chip and will likely help Atlanta rise into the arena. With an improved arena plus Mike Soroka’s long-awaited return to a rotation that already features Strider, Max Fried, and Kyle Wright, this may be a team that some would consider the best of Old Circuit.
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