With the Houston Astros winning their second World Series title in franchise history Saturday night, the Major League Baseball offseason began on Sunday.
Sunday morning, 131 players became free agents. They will be free to negotiate and sign anywhere they choose, beginning Thursday, Nov. 10.
All eyes will immediately turn to outfielder Aaron Judge, who declined an extension to remain with the New York Yankees, choosing to bet on himself, and then put together one of the greatest offensive seasons a Major League player has ever had.
Judge will be hotly pursued by at least a handful of teams. The Yankees have the funds to match any offer Judge receives on the open market, but where could Judge sign otherwise, if he is unable to come to an agreement with the Yankees?
Here are five potential free agent landing spots for Judge. Keep in mind, however, this is an opinion piece, and I do not have any sources telling me that any of these teams are even interested in Judge. It’s just me thinking out-loud and problem-solving. Enjoy!
1) St. Louis Cardinals — The St. Louis Cardinals are close. They won their second National League Central division title in four years in 2022. Had it not been for a bizarre, ninth-inning meltdown in which they allowed six runs in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series, perhaps the Cardinals go on a deep run to the World Series, just as the Philadelphia Phillies did.
Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has shared that he intends to be active this offseason. The Cardinals were rumored to be in the mix for Juan Soto at the trade deadline. They could add another big bat to their lineup in the form of Judge, if they are willing to pony up the dough.
2) Seattle Mariners — Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has recently made some aggressive moves to supplement his promising young core, and the Mariners have a lot of money they can spend as they attempt to overthrow the Astros in the American League West. Judge is from the West Coast, so if he prefers to move closer to his home, he could sign with the Mariners, or another West Coast team.
3) San Francisco Giants — The San Francisco Giants have been in on a number of high profile free agents in recent years, such as Bryce Harper, but have yet to win a big ticket free agent sweepstakes. Could this be their year?
4) Los Angeles Dodgers — The Dodgers have spent big in recent years, and have some money coming off of their payroll. I would expect them to pursue Judge, as they did Freddie Freeman a year ago.
5) New York Mets — Like the Dodgers, the Mets have shown that they aren’t scared of spending big. What better way to supplement a team that won 102 games, but lost in the National League Wild Card Series, than to pry away the future 2022 American League MVP from the city’s other team? You have to think that owner Steve Cohen would enjoy doing so.
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