As the calendar rolls back to December, there are three things we consider about baseball:
1. Is the catcher market heating up?
This year, the free agent market is not a particularly deep buyer market. Willson Contreras and Christian Vazquez however, the trading market offers some strong options for hunter-hungry teams. Yesterday, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, it was reported that the Astros are planning to meet with Contreras at their Winter Meetings and Jon Morosi MLB Network reports the Guardians’ continued interest in the Oakland hunter Sean Murphy, whose distribution seems likely. His remaining three years of club control and strong offensive and defensive skills make him a sought-after target and a solid market has developed. Morosi suggested during the Winter Meetings that a deal could be made and teams that missed Murphy could quickly return to one of the top free agents, while the Blue Jays are expected to sign one of them. Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk or Gabriel Moreno This winter.
2. Will Aaron JudgeIs ‘s free acting ending in Winter Gatherings?
It’s starting to look like it could happen. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Yankees made an offer worth nearly $300 million to Judge over eight years. It is unknown how Judge’s camp reacted to this or other proposals, but the report was noteworthy for something else. Passan suggested that Judge’s free agency is set to end at the Winter Meetings, so within a week, we may know whether Judge will head to the Bay Area or another team in 2023. In many ways, it makes sense for Judge to be the first major free agent to sign. Both Yankees and Giants will likely be aggressive in other areas if they miss Judge. The agents of other top freelancers are certainly aware of this, and so it makes sense for Judge to hold the top of the market.
3. When will the first defender come off the board?
It almost certainly depends on what happens to the Judge. Let’s say if the Yankees watch Judge’s signature in San Francisco, they can quickly spin around and jump into the market. Trea Turner or Carlos Correa. So, if you’re Turner’s representative, it makes sense to wait until the Judge is gone and see if the pocket-pocketed Yankees or Giants are willing to step in and raise your client’s price even more. Passan reports that the short stopper market is already warming up. The Gemini are pushing strong to re-sign Correa, Turner has a wide range of suitors, so Xander Bogaerts and dansby swan. The off-season has been slow to this point as the teams have spent the past month laying the groundwork, but the week ahead can definitely be busy and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one of the four big short centre-backs land a home. For 2023 and beyond.