Although the Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies, Cardinals, Mariners, Blue Jays, Orioles, Braves, and Padres all figure to be pretty darn active this offseason, it sure *SEEMS* like the market is going to be led by four teams, in particular: Mets, Giants, Rangers, and Yankees.
That group is heavily intertwined on big-ticket free agents like Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, Carlos Rodon, Kodai Senga, and, of course, Aaron Judge. And when big market teams and big-time free agents are all woven together, it can really gum up the works until one big thing shakes loose.
Here are some examples of how these webs can be weaved by just two players and two teams:
- If the Rangers are able to sign deGrom out from under the Mets, which feels distinctly possible at this point, the Mets will likely pivot quickly to Carlos Rodon and/or Senga (hold that thought…). So at least those two starters are going to want to wait on the deGrom decision before making any moves of their own.
- Similarly, if the Giants are unable to lure Judge out of the Bronx, they’ll likely turn their financial might and attention to the loaded free agent shortstop class. So those four players (Carlos Correa, Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts, and Trea Turner) will likely want to wait on that decision, as well.
Absent some silly, unlikely, offer-you-can’t refuse, you’ll want to wait to sign a new deal until you at least know who’s even in the market for your services. And, in turn, that leaves a lot of teams waiting for top free agents. And then lesser free agents waiting for those teams. And so it goes.
Fortunately, to that end, it sounds like things may progress pretty darn quickly. Let’s start there, with news of Aaron Judge’s expected timeline.
Judge Signing Soon?
In light of Aaron Judge’s visit with the Giants this week, Jon Morosi jumped back on MLB Network to give us an update (video below). In short, the Giants hosted Judge for a free agent visit this week, which lasted all day, including meetings with the owner and unnamed former players he may have idolized growing up as a Giants fan. The Giants have not yet put a formal offer on the table, but that’s reportedly coming soon, perhaps as soon as this week.
Maybe something to chew on over Thanksgiving dinner.
Once that offer is made, Morosi opines, we could see Judge ramping up negotiations and actually signing with a team “within the next two weeks, by the end of the Winter Meetings.”
Finality here would be huge. And perhaps unsurprising as it seems the only two teams Judge is really considering at the moment are his hometown Giants and the New York Yankees. (Brett: But if Judge doesn’t actually sign until the end of the Winter Meetings, does that mean a whollllle lot of ancillary stuff gets held up for another two+ weeks?)
Naturally, Joc Pederson, who accepted the one-year, qualifying offer from the Giants, is already out here recruiting Aaron Judge to San Francisco. I kinda miss this guy. Not gonna lie. He was fun.
Two Starters for the Yankees? Or for the Mets?
The Yankees have reportedly requested the medicals for free agent starter Jacob deGrom and have otherwise been connected to Kodai Senga by MLB.com. But according to Andy Martino (SNY), the medical request was little more than due diligence and the latter is not all that likely. In fact, Martino believes the Yankees are flat out not likely to sign either guy.
But notably, he thinks the Mets could actually end up with BOTH:
“I don’t think the Yankees are signing deGrom or Senga — that’s the feeling I have from reporting,” Martino said on Tuesday on Baseball Night in New York on SNY. “I think the Mets could end up with them both.”
Oh. Okay, then. I suppose it’s not surprising, given how many starters the Mets are theoretically losing. But signing both deGrom and Senga would make a pretty big statement, financial expenditure, and impact on the starting pitcher market.
What About Carlos Rodon?
Weirdly, there hasn’t been much smoke connecting the Mets to Carlos Rodon this offseason. The majority of the rumors have been in connection to either re-signing Jacob deGrom or replacing him with Kodai Senga and/or Justin Verlander. Indeed, SNY is reporting that those are the three free agent starters with whom the Mets have already been in contact.
To that end, Jon Morosi reports that the Texas Rangers are actually the “most serious suitors” for Carlos Rodon, which tracks generally with the rumors of their aggressiveness in the free agent starter market, and even some earlier specific stuff on Rodon. It’d be a surprise, at this point, if the Rangers don’t end up with one of deGrom, Rodon, or Verlander, if you ask me. Probably Rodon.
Odds and Ends
- The Giants have reportedly spoken to Kenley Jansen’s reps, which I bring up because there was a stray connection between the Cubs and Jansen earlier this offseason. After digging into the data, I tend to think that would be a really good idea.
- Ken Rosenthal gets into the Angels busy early offseason:
- Red Sox made a modest move for reliever Joely Rodriguez: