The story of Carlos Correa has truly come to a merciful end! It is done! He moved from “agreed with” to “signed with” the Twins in an instant! — marks the unofficial conclusion of baseball’s frenzy for free agents. Aroldis Chapman and Trevor Bauer, who will soon be a free agent, are among the many unsigned players, but all of the nine-figure contracts have been agreed upon.
Therefore, we can fairly predict how each team will appear to start the 2023 season. As a result, this is as good a time as any to assess whose offseasons were particularly noteworthy. The two biggest outliers are expected, after all.
Most ambitious: New York
This offseason, this city has triumphed. Together, the Yankees and Mets have spent almost a billion dollars on 12 free agents, with Justin Verlander ($43.3M) receiving the most money per season and Aaron Judge ($360M) receiving the greatest investment between the two organisations.
No other team spent more than $400 million on free agency deals, with the exception of the Yankees (about $573.5 million) and Mets (around $477 million). Six teams have made free agent signings for less than $13 million (the Diamondbacks, Reds, Rockies, Mariners, Brewers and Braves, who at least have the excuse of locking up their stars early).
Steve Cohen believed that Correa was the final component and the one real upgrade over the Mets of 2022, but the Mets did keep Brandon Nimmo ($162 million), Edwin Diaz ($102M), and Adam Ottavino ($14.5M).
Jacob deGrom will be replaced by Verlander ($86.6M), and Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker will be replaced by Kodai Senga ($75M) and Jose Quintana ($26M). In a redesigned bullpen, David Robertson ($10M) will be a new weapon, while Danny Mendick ($1M) will be a versatile infielder. The Mets resemble the team that won 101 games last season, even though they essentially sold James McCann for Omar Narvaez.
To find a co-ace to pair with Gerrit Cole, the Yankees decided to pay Carlos Rodon $162 million.
In The Bronx, where the Yankees kept Judge and Anthony Rizzo ($40 million) and signed Carlos Rodon ($162M) and an old pal Tommy Kahnle ($11.5M), the turnover is lower.
Rodon raises the potential for a team that won 99 games the previous year despite being a strikeout machine and injury concern. To catch the Astros, though, there likely needs to be more work done, notably by developing talents like Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza.
Most disappointing: Giants
We’re distinguishing between unsatisfactory and the worst (more on that later). due to the Giants’ extensive efforts! The only team with more free agents signed than the Giants is the Mets (eight) (seven). Farhan Zaidi, president of baseball operations, invested around $193 million to revamp a team that had a disappointing campaign the previous year.
There is a fairly obvious path to the postseason if Michael Conforto and Mitch Haniger remain healthy, if Joc Pederson develops into a star with rules prohibiting excessive defensive shifts, and if the Giants’ pitching brains work their magic with Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling.
But the Giants failed in their quest for a star. In a season unaffected by COVID, they averaged 30,650 spectators per game last year, which was the lowest since 1999. Platooning is a strategy advocated by Zaidi that involves using two lineups—one against left-handed pitchers and the other against right-handed pitchers—with few hitters in each.
It has been shown to be effective (in 2021) and challenging to sell. Fans frequently attend games to see stars, not lineup adjustments that result in a new cleanup hitter when the opposition inserts a different-handed reliever.
The Giants are relying on Brandon Crawford to start at shortstop once more after an offseason that initially had Carlos Correa in mind for the position.
Before discovering a problem with Correa’s physical, the Giants would have wanted to find a star to put in their starting lineup every day. The Giants and the Mets both allowed the shortstop to leave but were left without a starting point. This offseason may have been fruitful, but it was far from what was anticipated.
Worst (on paper): Red Sox
Baseball is entertaining and erratic. The Nationals won the World Series despite losing Bryce Harper. Without Correa, the World Series champion Astros appeared to be more formidable. Champions are rarely crowned from offseason winners.
It is therefore impossible to identify the strategy that produced the outcomes this offseason, however it’s possible that the Red Sox are aware of something that the rest of baseball is not.
Xander Bogaerts, a four-time All-Star and devoted Red Sox shortstop, is currently playing in San Diego. Trevor Story, his alleged heir, underwent surgery on his throwing elbow and may be out for the whole campaign. In the absence of a last-minute addition, they might have to ask centre fielder Kiké Hernandez to fill the position of shortstop in 2023.
Now playing for the Dodgers, J.D. Martinez is a bat that makes a difference. Eric Hosmer, who has hit 20 home runs in total over the last two seasons, will probably take his DH position.
Former Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts couldn’t refuse the Padres’ 11-year, $280 million deal.
The Red Sox had the worst rotational ERA in the AL East last season (4.49). They only changed Nathan Eovaldi for Corey Kluber to solve the problem. With the additions of Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, and former Met Joely Rodriguez, they may be counting on a shutdown bullpen, but the group is not expected to be potent enough to make up for the other weaknesses on the team.
Masataka Yoshida, who Boston signed for five years and $90 million, was a contentious acquisition. Many rivals believe the contract is not worth it for the Japanese batting champion.
Even if the Red Sox’s offseason was outstanding, it seems like many baseball fans would be shocked by that result.
About $44.5 million, or almost one season of Justin Verlander, was paid out in free agency by the baseball team with the highest payroll from the previous year.
Along with the return of Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers have also acquired Martinez, Noah Syndergaard, and Shelby Miller, three high-potential players. But the Dodgers, who are usually in contact with every top free agent, have largely been idle throughout this expensive winter in terms of departures.
Clayton Kershaw will return to a Dodgers team that made modest free-agent spending decisions, in contrast to a few other important Dodgers.
They lost Trea Turner, one of baseball’s best players, and longstanding third baseman Justin Turner. Miguel Rojas, acquired in a trade with the Marlins on Wednesday, took Turner’s place at shortstop. Cody Bellinger, a gifted but puzzling centre fielder, signed with the Cubs.
Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney, who both had outstanding seasons last year, were removed from the Dodgers’ rotation. Additionally, the Dodgers were unsuccessful in appealing the arbitrator’s ruling on the suspended Bauer, who they must still pay $22.5 million for this season even though they released him.
The dependable juggernauts, who have won 103.8 games on average over the past five complete seasons (and claimed the World Series during the abbreviated 2020 campaign), may at last succumb to mortality.
They do, however, occasionally have open slots that some of the game’s greatest prospects, including seven of the top 100 prospects according to MLB Pipeline at the end of last season, could win.
Under the radar: Blue Jays, Rangers
Although neither team is a lock to make the playoffs, both have significantly boosted their ceilings.
The Rangers’ latest extravagance in their pursuit of the Astros in the AL West was the acquisition of Jacob deGrom.
Through trades and additions, the Blue Jays have become better.
In a win-now trade with the Diamondbacks, they added Daulton Varsho, a powerful hitter, outfielder, and catcher, in exchange for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and top prospect Gabriel Moreno. At the top of the rotation, few clubs can compete with Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman, and Toronto now has one of MLB’s top No. 3 starters in former Met Chris Bassitt. Brandon Belt, a longtime Giants first baseman who was acquired this week, had a troubled 2022 due to injuries but had a.975 OPS as recently as 2021.
The Rangers, who won the deGrom sweepstakes, have been overshadowed by the Mets’ noisy free-agent spending sprees. The fact that DeGrom is prone to injuries probably contributed to the Rangers’ decision to strengthen their rotation, which will now include Martin Perez, Jake Odorizzi, Heaney, Jon Gray, and Eovaldi in addition to the re-signed Martin Perez.
The Rangers may be a force in the AL West if their past free-agent additions, Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, can carry the offence and their pitching lives up to expectations.