MLB 2022-23 Free Agency – Predictions about Judge, deGrom and more

Will the American League MVP be you? Aaron Judge Return to the New York Yankees You can also return home to California with the San Francisco Giants? Is it former? New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom You are headed to Texas? What will the location of each of the Big 4 shortstops be?

Major League Baseball's 2022–23 free agent period is now open. Some of the biggest names in Major League Baseball are expected to leave or stay.

We asked seven ESPN MLB experts — Alden Gonzalez, Joon, Kiley McDaniel and Buster Olney — to forecast where the most sought-after players will sign this winter and how much.

Jump to…
Aaron Judge | Jacob deGrom | The Big 4 shortstops | Justin Verlander | Carlos Rodon | Brandon Nimmo | More


Aaron Judge

McDaniel: Yankees, 9 years, $325 Million. You can guess what I think, but the Yankees are more dependent on him than any other team. At this level of numbers, I believe they will match what is out there. They'll also skew towards adding a year in order to make the AAV/luxury taxes number lower.

Doolittle: Yankees, nine-years, $340 million. My assumption was that Judge will be beaten by the Yankees, so I calculated a little more than the years and the annual value of the consensus projections.

Schoenfield: Giants, nine-years, $332 million. Farhan Zaidi said at the GM meeting that “I think, from a financial perspective, there's no one that would be sort-of out of our ability to meet the contract requirements.” With $18.5 million remaining in commitments after 2023, the Giants have tremendous payroll flexibility.

Rogers: Yankees, 10 years, $370 million. Simple. He will win. Mike TroutThe deal was worth $10 million and made him the highest-paid position player in the league by his annual salary. How is it possible for the most beloved player to leave the team? He won't. He won't. And the Yankees will take it.

Lee: Yankees, 10 years, $360 million. Judge won't be in pinstripes next season. The Yankees fan base is going to revolt. Hal Steinbrenner already indicated that he would use all financial resources to make sure Judge returns. I believe that the Yankees will be very difficult to please, even if there is a bidding battle.

Olney: Yankees, nine years, $360 millions. Judge is the Yankees' most powerful player in their history. In fact, the Yankees have never had a player who has more leverage against them than Judge in this moment in their history. Not Babe Ruth (who was released), Joe DiMaggio, who retired under threat of losing its stature), and not Reggie Jackson, who was allowed to go as a free agent). And not Derek Jeter, who got less than half what his camp requested in negotiations. The Yankees, in this instance, need the player more that the player needs them.

Gonzalez: Giants, eight years, $352 million. We can assume two things about Judge and the Giants: They would prefer a shorter deal because he will be entering his age-31 season and they will have to outbid them. What about an eight-year deal that would allow Judge to break the AAV record set by Max Scherzer What if you only had a three-year contract? It is quite a sum to pay $44 million per year for eight years. However, wild could be a requirement.


Jacob deGrom

McDaniel: Texas Rangers, four-years, $155 million. I was leaning towards him returning to the Mets, and getting the Scherzer contract (3 years/$130M), with a vesting opportunity based on innings pitched during the third year. But I'm more convinced that Texas makes bold moves for a pitcher with an unlimited guarantee. Carlos Rodon It would make sense. However, he likely signs in the winter to secure a precedent-setting number.

Doolittle: Los Angeles DodgersThree years, $120 Million (with a mutual option for the final season). Similar in structure and value to this deal Justin Verlander This season is a good example of how it makes sense. The Dodgers could view deGrom to be the missing piece. And deGrom might be curious as to why there are so many pitchers who find another level in L.A.

Schoenfield: Rangers, four-years, $160 million Rangers have already burnt one year worth of the Corey SeagerMarcus Semien era. Bruce Bochy was brought in as a win-now manager and the Rangers need help with their starting pitching. This is a huge gamble considering deGrom's past health, but it's the right position for the Rangers.

Rogers: Atlanta BravesThree years, $125 millions. When the Braves take deGrom from their archrivals, the price will be well worth it. Although it's a high rate of annual revenue, Atlanta will be able to take a few chances at the title with deGrom. However, Atlanta will still have the ability to stay flexible, just as Alex Anthopoulos does. The core of the Braves will remain in place, even after the contract expires. Based on deGrom’s injury history, it provides some protection to the team.

Lee: Rangers, four-years, $160 million. To justify their spending on Semien and Seager last year, the Rangers will have to make another major splash. This is an obvious spot they can upgrade. Texas needs deGrom far more than the Mets do, and that's where I think he will end up.

Olney: Rangers, four-year contract, $150 million It's too risky for the Mets not to have deGrom and Scherzer at $80million annually. Rangers are the most motivated team to buy pitching this season.

Gonzalez: St. Louis Cardinals, four years, $150 millions. The Cardinals — entering into a new era. Yadier Molin and Albert Pujols have left. Adam Wainwright Going into his final season, have money to spend and needs to address. DeGrom with his incredible stuff would be an ideal fit for what was largely just a pitch to contact staff last season.


The Big 4 shortstops

McDaniel:

Trea Turner: Seattle Mariners, 9 years, $280 Million
Carlos CorreaGiants, eight years, $270 Million
Dansby Swanson: Braves six-years, $150 million
Xander Bogaerts: Boston Red Sox, 6 years, $168 millions

This is where the tricky part is: what is the next-best shortstop option in free agency? Jean Segura Oder Elvis Andrus. If the team doesn't get one of these shortstops, they will most likely attempt to trade for one to upgrade their position. Willy Adames, Amed Rosario, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Paul DeJong, Miguel Rojas, Javier Baez And Jorge Mateo These are the main options. In this scenario, I see the Dodgers or Cubs doing that. However, it's more of an emotional flip than a solid feeling.

Doolittle:

Turner: Giants, eight year, $260 Million
Correa: Baltimore Orioles– 9 years, $300 Million
Swanson: Braves for nine years, $150 Million
Bogaerts: Chicago Cubs, 6 years, $180 millions

If Judge goes, the Giants will likely look elsewhere for a player. Turner can fill in at many spots. Although Correa could end up with the Orioles, there are many things about the Orioles as a franchise and how they approach things that make it a great fit for Correa. Swanson's return to the Braves makes perfect sense to me. It's hard to believe that the Cubs will emerge from this winter without a top shortstop, and Bogaerts remains the one.

Schoenfield:

Turner: Philadelphia Phillies, Eight years, $280 millions
Correa: Giants for nine years, $285 Million
Swanson: Dodgers, six-years, $140 million
Bogaerts: Los Angeles Angels, 6 years, $184 millions

With Orioles and Cubs potentially factoring in, this could take many different paths. Few owners desire to win like the Phillies’ John Middleton. Dave Dombrowski, the master of signing big stars at big contracts, is so I have Turner traveling to Philadelphia to team up with his old teammates. Bryce Harper (with Bryson Stott Moving to second base Judge and Correa in one offseason? The Giants could do it, even with a shortstop Marco Luciano Coming up. I don't buy the Dodgers moving. Gavin Lux To shortstop, I don't think the Braves will give Swanson that much money — more than Ronald Acuna Jr. Oder Michael Harris II — So, I see the Dodgers keeping Swanson's defense strong to replace Turner.

Rogers:

Turner: Phillies for eight years, $270 Million
Correa: Minnesota Twins, 7 years, $230 Million
Swanson: Braves six years, $165 millions
Bogaerts, Giants (or Cubs), six-years, $180 million

Dave Dombrowski has carte blanche to Philadelphia after he took his team to World Series. Turner and Bryce Harper know each other from their previous relationship. Washington Nationals days. It's clear that Turner's speed, defense and ability to play catch up with power-hungry Phillies is a plus. There's no doubt that they will spend. someone. Correa's return to the Twins will be the biggest surprise. Correa made such a positive impression that Minnesota will not hesitate to open its checkbook. Bogaerts has done the short-term optout deals. They're now looking for long-term homes. Giants already indicated that they have the money to spend. When the dust settles, will a team looking for a shortstop contact the White Sox? Tim Anderson? It's possible.

Lee:

Turner: Phillies 10 years, $300,000,000
Correa: Giants, nine year, $310 million
Swanson: Braves for five years, $150 Million
Bogaerts Red Sox: Six years, $175 Million

The Red Sox's front office is under tremendous pressure to resign Bogaerts. They will have to push beyond their comfort zone in order to reach a deal. Following the Mookie Betts Boston fans still have feelings of shock about the outcome of trade negotiations with homegrown stars Rafael Devers Bogaerts. Both played major roles in championship teams. Fans will be furious if Bogaerts is not signed or replaced with someone similar to him by the Red Sox.

Olney:

Turner: Phillies, nine-years, $270 Million
Correa: Twins for eight years, $256 Million
Bogaerts Red Sox: Five years, $150 Million
Swanson: Braves for six years, $126 Million

Swanson must stay in Atlanta if the deal is to work. Swanson has been offered a slightly lower market value and the Braves have to pay Swanson more.

Gonzalez:

Turner: Phillies for eight years, $270 Million
Correa: Twins for nine years, $275 Million
Swanson: Cubs for six years, $150 Million
Bogaerts Red Sox, seven Years, $196 Million

The Cubs are similar to the Giants in the expectation that they will spend big. Someone. Swanson might be that guy. The Braves have demonstrated that they don't allow emotions to drive them to overextend themselves on contracts. This, considering how it has been lately. Vaughn Grissom You can see him win Rookie-of-the Year by sitting at the shortstop. Turner can't believe the Phillies are so smart. The Red Sox won't trade Betts for another star, and Correa and Correa seem like a great match.


Justin Verlander

McDaniel: Houston AstrosTwo years, $87 Million. Jim Crane is now in charge, and he signed this agreement last year. Verlander's agents can convince Crane to sign the Scherzer AAV (or something similar) at $43.3M. The question is, if it's a 2- or 3-year deal and/or an opt out?

Doolittle: Astros, three year, $126 million. Verlander has been a success with the Astros. The window of potential contention is still wide open. It feels to me that Verlander is only trying to establish his value by hitting the markets.

Schoenfield: Dodgers, two-years, $80 million. Astros or Dodgers? It makes more sense. However, the Astros can live without Verlander and make that money elsewhere. Verlander replaces the departed Tyler Anderson He joins a team that can win many games and help him continue his quest for 300 wins.

Rogers: Dodgers, two year, $83million. Although I wanted to pick the Rangers, Verlander will be where the playoffs are a certain thing. Houston has so much pitching they will pass on tying up this amount of money, even if it's only for two years. Los Angeles needs to ensure October success. Verlander, who has finally proven he can win in the World Series, can help. It seems like the perfect match.

Lee: Astros, two year, $90 Million. Verlander should try to negotiate a contract that is more than Scherzer's with the Mets. After the Astros win the World Series, and Verlander won the Cy Young award, I believe the two sides will find it difficult to part ways.

Olney: Rangers, three-years, $130 Million

Gonzalez: Rangers, three years, $120 millions Rangers have money and holes to fill. Verlander is the ideal guy at this point in time. He'll need to be attracted to a rival division that isn't likely to compete. So I envision a three year deal with player options. The Astros don't have the internal pitching power to offer something similar.


Carlos Rodon

McDaniel: Mets, five-year contract, $135 million. I am leaning towards deGrom walking and Mets bringing in another top starter on the market. Rodon Brandon Nimmo Scott Boras has both been clients of Scott Boras, and I believe Boras is keen to discover how deep Steve Cohen's pockets.

Doolittle: Orioles, five year, $135million. A splash for a hitter should be possible for the Orioles as they look to climb into the elite tiers of the majors.

Schoenfield: Mets, five year, $142 million. I also have the Mets. Three starters are available in free agency in deGrom. Chris Bassitt And Taijuan WalkerSo they'll be spending lots of money on someone.

Rogers: Rangers five-year contract, $132 millions Texas Will Spend money on pitching. This much is known. I wouldn't be surprised if they signed more than one high end arm. But after retaining Martin Perez Trading and buying Jake OdorizziRodon is what they will add to this mix.

Lee: Mets, five-years, $150 million. This pitcher is the one that makes the most sense from both a talent and value standpoint for the Mets. Cohen will not be sitting still this offseason. I expect New York will continue to pull out its wallet to upgrade its roster in an area that was struggling with its health last year.

Olney: Mets, five-years, $130 Million

Gonzalez: Mets, five-years, $130 million. While I would love for things to change, I must stick with my predictions. None of them have a Mets player. The Mets have plenty of holes on their roster. This is especially true for their rotation which saw Walker, Bassitt, and deGrom go free agency. But they are bound to end up with one of their top players. Rodon could be the one.


Brandon Nimmo

McDaniel: Mets, five-years, $125 million. Nimmo is likely to leave the board sooner than expected, and he is the Mets' second priority. Edwin Diaz.

Doolittle: Mets, five-years, $110 Million Starling Marte The Mets don't need to be in center field, and Judge is unlikely to sign with them. Nimmo is their best option.

Schoenfield: Toronto Blue JaysSix years, $135 millions Nimmo is getting a lot of attention, but it's not the right place for you. Teoscar Hernandez Trade opens the doors for Nimmo's move to Canada. Jays say they need more balance in their lineup, so Nimmo moves to centerfield and becomes a lefty-hitting Nimmo. George Springer To the right

Rogers: Blue Jays, five-year contract, $120 million. Toronto must be more left-handed in their lineup. Nimmo is a great fit.

Lee: Five years, $140 Million. Mets Nimmo is a fan favorite and he's well-liked within the clubhouse. There are few replacements available for him in trades, free agency or other ways.

Olney: Blue Jays, six-years, $142 Million

Gonzalez: Miami Marlins, five years, $120 millions The Marlins have the organizational pitching depth necessary to be competitive. They desperately need offense. They would prefer to have offense from a centerfielder who is able to defend in an open outfield and not be too dependent on the home run. Nimmo is the perfect choice for them. Now the question is whether they are able to rise to the top of their game. This regime is the best.


Predictions for a player that we haven’t yet mentioned

McDaniel: Zach EflinGiants, three years. $39 million. He appears to be the most suitable candidate for the Giants' bounce-back starter. Jameson Taillon The other candidate is the leading candidate, and receives the same deal.

Doolittle: Willson ContrerasCardinals, four-year contract, $76 million. Contreras is the ideal player for the Redbirds as an everyday backstop. He fits the bill both on the field and in clubhouse.

Schoenfield: Mariners, Kodai Senga, five years, $80 Million. The Mariners don't have a lot of need for starting pitching, but Jerry Dipoto praised Senga during the GM meetings. I think he hopes to see a rotation that can match up with the Astros from 1 through 5 (or 6). He can then use Marco Gonzales Oder Chris Flexen Trade for a second baseman/outfielder

Rogers: Wade MileyDodgers, $7 million for one year. Miley will not have to learn to use the pitch clock. He works quickly. He could do with a healthier season. Even he admits that it is every other year for him. This is the “other” year. Miley's cutter is still able to get the job done when he's on. Los Angeles is his ideal spot, as he easily fits in any veteran locker.

Lee: Red Sox, Kodai Senga, five years, $85 Million Boston has been a popular spot for Japanese players. Therefore, the Red Sox will need a better rotation. Nathan Eovaldi Leaves in free agency

Olney: AJ PollockGiants, two years, $20 Million Pollock, a member of the Giants' platoon, is an utter slugger. He has a record of throwing.935 OPS against lefties in 2022. He is also an expert on the division.

Gonzalez: Cody BellingerYankees, one year, $22million. Bellinger may only agree to a one-year contract — which is the plan according to Scott Boras, his agent. A nice bidding battle will ensue and a team might need to add a lucrative 2024 option player option as a sweetener. Bellinger should be assigned to a team with the most resources so that he can reclaim his past glory. It's also helpful to have a small porch in right field.

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