Mega-deals wrap up busy Meetings; who's still available?

December 9th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- Wednesday began with agreeing to a mega-deal with the Yankees, ending the suspense as to where the reigning American League MVP would land.

Then, around 9:30 p.m. PT, after most of the baseball world had departed the Manchester Grand Hyatt to return home, the Padres came to terms with on a stunning 11-year, $280 million contract, finally giving San Diego the big bat it had been trying for during talks with both Judge and .

Judge -- who agreed to a nine-year, $360 million deal -- and Bogaerts landed deals worth a combined $640 million, but they weren’t the only notable free agents who agreed to new deals on the final day of the Winter Meetings.

Catcher (five years, $87.5 million) agreed to a deal with the Cardinals and Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida (five years, $90 million) came to terms with the Red Sox just hours after he was officially posted. Those deals helped push this year’s total free-agent spending past the $2 billion mark, and while the offseason’s marquee event is behind us, there’s plenty of action still to come this offseason.

Let’s take a look at four of the most interesting markets to watch in the coming weeks.

Turner came off the board early this week after agreeing to an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Phillies, then Bogaerts became the second star shortstop to sign when he joined the Padres. 

That leaves two big-time players available at the position: and .

Correa has drawn significant interest from a number of teams, but sources believe the Giants -- who lost out on Judge -- are poised to make an aggressive push for the two-time All-Star. Correa is said to be seeking a $300 million deal of his own, and considering that San Francisco knows it won’t be adding Judge -- and that Bogaerts signed for $280 million -- there is the belief that the Giants might do whatever it takes to sign him.

Throughout the day on Wednesday, there were indications that a reunion between Bogaerts and the Red Sox was gaining steam. San Diego’s surprising move put an end to that speculation, leaving Boston to either move back to shortstop or pursue another player for the position.

Then there’s Swanson, who could still return to the Braves but is being pursued by a number of clubs including the Cubs, Cardinals, Twins and Red Sox.

If Correa winds up in San Francisco as many expect, Swanson will be in a strong position to create a bidding war between the other shortstop-needy clubs. Given the numbers we have already seen for Turner and Bogaerts, a deal worth more than $200 million is certainly now in play for Swanson, who turns 29 in February.

Starting pitching 
After signed with the Rangers last weekend, took his place with the Mets, who officially announced his two-year, $86.66 million deal on Wednesday.

That leaves Kodai Senga and as the two top free-agent starters, and sources suggested that the pair might wind up in New York, albeit pitching in different boroughs.

Both Senga and Rodón have big markets for their services, but sources say the Mets are emerging as one of the more serious suitors for Senga. Rodón is said to be seeking a six-year deal worth at least $30 million per season, and after throwing a career-high 178 innings in 2022, he is likely to command that type of contract.

The Yankees took care of their top priority with the deal for Judge, which won’t be official until he passes a physical. But New York has more work to do this offseason, with needs in left field, the bullpen and the starting rotation, where Rodón appears to be the Yankees’ top target.

Rodón is one of three starters on the market who rejected the qualifying offer -- and are the others -- so any team that signs them will be subject to the loss of Draft picks and potentially money from the international bonus pool.

Judge was the unquestioned No. 1 option in the outfield, but only three teams were in the running for the AL MVP.

Now the rest of the outfield market can start to shake out. weighed multiple offers but will remain with the Mets on an eight-year, $162 million deal.

Three other interesting outfielders to watch are , and , the latter of whom is returning after missing all of 2022.

The Yankees are seeking an answer in left field, and although they appeared to have interest in Yoshida, the rival Red Sox jumped the market. A reunion with Benintendi could be the answer for the Yankees, who look to be all-in after giving Judge the largest free-agent contract in history.

Contreras’ deal with the Cardinals took the top free-agent option off the board, though it was just as noteworthy that St. Louis is now out of that market, as well.

A number of teams remain in need of catching, most notably the Guardians, Red Sox, Astros, Rays and Brewers. is said to be ready to sign soon, possibly with Boston or Cleveland, while is sure to receive interest from multiple clubs.

The trade market is where things get really interesting: The Athletics are likely to deal and the Blue Jays seem poised to move either or .