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October 1, 2023

MLB Free Agents 2022: Latest Buzz, Predictions for Jacob deGrom, Trea Turner and More

MLB Free Agents 2022: Latest Buzz, Predictions for Jacob deGrom, Trea Turner and More0 of 3

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The 2022 edition of MLB free agency got underway on November 10 and continues to unfold at a comparatively slow pace.

In other sports, notably the NFL, signings come fast and furiously at the onset of free agency. Negotiations tend to take longer in baseball, which is why many of the sport’s top stars remain available after nearly two weeks.

Reigning home-run king Aaron Judge is the biggest fish in the proverbial pond, and even he remains unsigned. Presumably, the New York Yankees are eager to re-sign Judge, but he is expected to meet with the San Francisco Giants this week, according to Greg Joyce of the New York Post.

Where will Judge ultimately land? That’s anyone’s guess right now, and we’re not going to try here. Instead, let’s look at a few of baseball’s other top free agents and dive into the latest rumors and predictions.

Jacob deGrom1 of 3

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One interesting aspect of the Judge sweepstakes is that it leaves New York unsure of its offseason direction. With a projected market value of $37.9 million annually, according to Spotrac, Judge is going to eat up a ton of salary if the Yankees can bring him back.

This doesn’t mean, however, that New York isn’t exploring its options. According to SNY’s Andy Martino, the Yankees have eyed free-agent pitcher Jacob deGrom.

“The publicly known market for Jacob deGrom has been slow to unfold, with only the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves identified as competition for the Mets,” Martino wrote. “Now we can add another team, at least as a tire kicker: The Yankees recently requested medical information on deGrom, according to a league source.”

A cross-town move by deGrom from the Mets to the Yankees would certainly add some spice to the offseason. However, the Yankees are stuck in a holding pattern with Judge and may not be able to make deGrom an enticing offer until that situation is resolved.

Between the Rangers, Braves and Mets, a lot may come down to money for the 34-year-old deGrom—and Texas’ lack of a state income tax could become a factor.

Another potential advantage for the Rangers is the recent hiring of new manager Bruce Bochy. A three-time World Series-winning manager with San Francisco, Bochy could be a huge draw for free agents like deGrom.

The prediction here is that the choice comes down to the Rangers and the Mets, with deGrom ultimately opting for a new chapter and a change of scenery.

Prediction: deGrom signs with Texas

Trea Turner2 of 3

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While shortstop Trea Turner might not be as big of a name as Judge, his situation this offseason is just as intriguing. The Los Angeles Dodgers extended a qualifying offer to turner, but he rejected it.

Turner is free to sign with a different team, but said team would have to surrender draft compensation per MLB qualifying-offer guidelines. This, along with a projected market value of $33.6 million annually, makes Turner an expensive free-agent target.

The defending NL-champion Philadelphia Phillies are considered by some to be the favorites to land Turner, according to
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. However, Philadelphia could have some serious competition in the Seattle Mariners.

“The Mariners have checked in on Trea Turner, Kolton Wong, Gleyber Torres and all the other free agent middle infielders,” Jim Bowden of CBS Sports tweeted on Sunday. “Jerry Dipoto President made it clear that their ownership will provide the resources to sign one of the big free agent middle infielders if it makes sense.”

If Seattle is willing to spend big, it could conceivably lure Turner north.

However, Philadelphia has a couple of advantages. It’s a proven contender, and Turner may already be on board with joining the Phillies.

“There’s some interesting rumblings that he wants to be here,” John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia
told 97.5 The Fanatic at the start of free agency.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the east coast is Turner’s “supposed geographic preference.”

Seattle will be a team to watch, but the prediction here is that Turner winds up in Philadelphia.

Prediction: Turner signs with the Phillies

Mitch Haniger3 of 3

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While much of the baseball world is focused on the Judge sweepstakes and the enticing shortstop market—one that includes Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson—outfielder Mitch Haniger is flying under the radar a bit.

However, the 31-year-old former All-Star could prove to be one of the best bargains of the offseason.

Haniger missed a ton of time this past season with an ankle injury, a back issue and while dealing with COVID-19, and he has a projected market value of just $15 million annually. When healthy in 2021, though, he batted .253 with 39 home runs and 100 RBI.

According to Morosi, the Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and Rangers are “active suitors” for Haniger. A return to the Mariners is presumably an option for him as well. The Giants are also in on Haniger, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Rosenthal brought up San Francisco while discussing the Rangers’ interest: “Pitching is not the Rangers’ only focus. The team also is showing
interest in free-agent outfielder Mitch Haniger, who is drawing
attention from the Giants and other clubs as well,”

Perhaps San Francisco views Haniger as sort of a budget Plan B behind Judge. That sentiment would be logical if the Giants believe he can return to his 2021 form.

The prediction here, however, is that Haniger does a little self-reflection, looks to win following an injury-hampered season and signs with a perennial contender instead. Haniger knows that a long playing career isn’t guaranteed, and L.A. could give him an opportunity to chase a championship immediately.

Prediction: Haniger signs with the Dodgers

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