As I type this particular sentence, it is about 5am out in San Diego, where MLB’s Winter Meetings are taking place. I’m thinking not much is happening right now.
However, there are definitely some things to catch up on from the overnight period …
- Jon Heyman reports that it’s still possible Aaron Judge’s decision comes this week, and the Yankees are still expected to retain him when push comes to shove. It’s a little hard to see one of the big shortstops signing before Judge because of the easily-conjured ripple effects (if the Giants don’t get Judge, then they might push hard for Carlos Correa, and some other team that is in on a different shortstop might prefer Correa, so they don’t want to pull the trigger until Correa is gone, but Correa can’t be gone until Judge decides, etc.).
- Speaking of which, the Giants reportedly DO see Correa as their top free agent option if they don’t get Judge.
- Multiple ESPN writers predict that Judge will sign as soon as the next 24-48 hours, but Jesse Rogers writes that the shortstop market is not close to being sorted out:
The shortstop market isn’t close to being figured out. With four players being sought after by up to 10 teams, it might take a while. But the deeper into the offseason we go, according to one executive, the less likely it becomes any of them will re-sign with their old teams. (The exception is Carlos Correa, who could sign back with the Twins as kind of an old team/new team re-signing). There’s no great indication who might sign first.
- Justin Verlander reportedly wants the Max Scherzer deal (3/$130M), but with him a few years older than Scherzer was at the time of that signing, it’s understandable that teams are – for now – holding the line at two years:
- Also on Verlander: Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays, who’d tried to get him before, are still “engaged” on Verlander. So that’d be an interesting surprise wrinkle on the market, and I bet Carlos Rodon (and, to a lesser extent, Kodai Senga) is hoping it goes that way – because then he’d be the big fish remaining for any of the major market dollars on the starting pitching side.
- I tend to think we’re going to see Judge and Verlander sign this week because neither has to wait on anyone else to help impact or set their market. Things are clarified in both cases, and it’s just a matter of whether Judge picks the Giants or Yankees, and whether Verlander picks the Mets, Blue Jays, or Dodgers (or maaaaybe Astros, but that seems unlikely at this point).
- Part of the Mets’ urgency to land Verlander (or Carlos Rodon), according to Joel Sherman, is that Max Scherzer has an opt-out after the 2023 season, so they could lose yet another big-time arm after next year.
- Chris Bassitt doesn’t just want more than three years, he may currently be asking for five. At 34 years old, I certainly get why HE would want to lock down a possible “final” contract (it would also be his “first” free agent contract thanks to the late breakout), but he might have to take a pretty low AAV to get a five-year deal, even in this market. He just doesn’t have the profile of the guys who get five+ years, typically. More of a steady, solid, three or *maybe* four-year mid-rotation type. I am into the Cubs being into him, but I’m not sure they want to sign any older starting pitcher to a five-year deal.
- Yoshida and Fujinami are officially on the market, and I wonder if their reps are getting in some meetings this week – they have a long time to sign if they want:
- Note that Kodai Senga is not being posted – he’s a true free agent. So there’s no 45-day limit on him. He’ll probably sign well before that, though, and I could imagine he is waiting to see what happens with Verlander and Rodon, assuming those pursuits shake out quickly. Things have gone radio silent on the Cubs and Senga since the start of the offseason, when it kinda felt all hot and heavy.
- The Pirates say they aren’t going to trade Bryan Reynolds despite his trade request, but you ALWAYS say that in the hopes that a team will try to bowl you over:
- And if you missed it, the Cubs-Xander Bogaerts connection feels increasingly plausible. To that end, a little added thing – I had forgotten about this: