MLB Free Agency


Max Lipe '23

Major League Baseball’s offseason is in full swing. With several high-profile names already off the market, the 2023 season is shaping up to be a fascinating one. 

The main storyline of the offseason has been the destination of New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge. This past season, the 30-year-old MVP slugger had a campaign for the ages, highlighted by a new all-time single-season American League home run record. Every team knew that in order to acquire Judge they would need to pay him well. The main contender in the Judge sweepstakes were the San Francisco Giants, who offered Judge a massive $360 million, nine-year contract. The Yankees matched this offer and retained their outfielder for years to come, with Judge ultimately deciding to stay in the Bronx. 

The number one starting pitcher on the board was New York Mets flamethrower Jacob deGrom. DeGrom is often regarded as the best pitcher in baseball, but injuries have plagued a good portion of his career, causing great concern amongst many going forward. For this reason many were hesitant to pull the trigger, with teams such as the Mets refusing to give deGrom a long-term deal. The Texas Rangers were ultimately the ones to roll the dice and acquire deGrom for five years at a price of $185 million. The Mets would quickly fill this void with the two-year signing of Houston Astros “Ace” Justin Verlander. The 39-year-old shows no signs of decline and is coming off his third Cy Young Award this past year. Verlander reunites with former teammate Max Scherzer to form arguably the best one-two pitching combo in all of baseball. 

The shortstop position is the most talented position in this free agency. Speedster Trea Turner signed with the Phillies for a huge $300-million, 11-year deal. Turner is considered to be one of the best five-tool players, meaning he can hit for power, average, and can be a force on the basepath. Following a National League title, the Phillies feel that a player of Turner’s caliber can push them over the finish line and bring a championship to Philadelphia. A surprising acquisition was the Padres’ signing of Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. This past season, Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended for 80 games for PED usage, and his replacement, Ha-Seong Kim, proved to be one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. Many expected that following his suspension, Tatis would move to the outfield and Kim would continue to play shortstop. However, the $280-million, 11-year acquisition of Bogaerts shakes everything up, and it will be intriguing to see how the Padres manage their surplus of shortstops. Two other big-name shortstops remain on the market: Dansby Swanson (Braves) and Carlos Correa (Twins). Both of these players look to receive a massive contract similar to those previously mentioned. 

For the first time in 19 years, the Cardinals will have a new face behind the dish. Their investment in former Cubs All-Star catcher Willson Contreras replaces recently retired Cardinals legend Yadier Molina. Although it is difficult to imagine Cardinals baseball without Molina, this is a significant upgrade offensively, as Contreras is widely considered one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. The Cardinals and Contreras agreed to an $87-million, five-year contract. Star third baseman Nolan Arenado also decided not to exercise his opt-out clause and remain a Cardinal for the next five years, which is critical for the team moving forward. Additionally, it has been rumored that the Cardinals are eager to pursue Giants left-handed pitcher Carlos Rondon, and they have shown interest in the remaining shortstops. All in all, It will be interesting to see how the rest of this offseason plays out.