Where will the biggest free agents sign this offseason? Let’s see what the experts think.
MLB.com polled 50 of its reporters and analysts about where 11 free-agent stars will end up for the 2023 season. Here are the consensus picks for each — Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom, Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, and more.
Here are MLB.com’s predictions on where the best free agents will sign.
The face of the Yankees will remain that way, according to voters. How could New York let him go after the historic season of 62 home runs?
Judge is the biggest superstar in baseball in the biggest market in baseball, and that marriage could be too strong to break. Judge turned down the Yankees’ $213.5 million seven-year extension offer on Opening Day, but a reunion is still the most natural way forward for both the 30-year-old outfielder and the Yanks, especially after Judge’s MVP year.
Judge staying in pinstripes makes too much sense, and the Yankees continue to look like the favorites to sign Judge, according to the latest rumors — above other potential suitors from Judge’s home state of California, the Giants and Dodgers.
Other teams getting votes: Giants, Dodgers
deGrom leaving the Mets? Yes, it can really happen. MLB.com voters just picked the Rangers over the Mets as the deGrom’s 2023 landing site in the closest free agent vote in the poll.
Early on in free agency, the Rangers look like deGrom’s best suitor from outside New York – their top priority this off-season is to start casting, there’s no bigger ace available than deGrom, and they’ve already reached out to the two-time Cy Young Prize winner .
It wouldn’t be a surprise if deGrom returns to the Mets, even though he chose not to pay the last year of his contract and $32.5 million in salary. Already one of the great assets in Mets history, the 34-year-old has spent his entire career in New York and owner Steve Cohen has proven he’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring top talent to New York – or to keep that there. But Texas has also begun to bring in free agents, as the club did with Corey Seager and Marcus Semien last winter.
Other teams receiving votes: Mets, Braves, Dodgers, Giants, Astros, Guardians, Padres
Another year, another loaded free-agent shortstop class. This low season there are Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson. Turner is arguably the best of the bunch, with his elite combination of contact hitting, power and speed. So many teams will be interested, but the Phillies already seem to be the favorites to get their hands on the 29-year-old star.
Trea allegedly happy to reunite with his former teammate Bryce Harper, and the Phillies are free to attack an elite shortstop without waiting for Judge’s market to develop, thanks to an outfield already filled with sluggers. But the Dodgers would definitely want to bring Turner back after their hugely successful blockbuster trade for him in 2021, and there are other high-profile teams entering the shortstop market as well, such as the Cubs.
Other teams receiving votes: Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, Cardinals, Giants, Red Sox, Mariners, Marlins, Yankees
That shortstop market is so robust, partly thanks to Correa – one of the big shortstops on the market last annual fair — opt-out of the $105.3 million three-year deal he signed with the Twins after the first season. Where is he going this time? Returning to the Twins for a longer-term deal is an option, but not the most likely in our voters’ view.
MLB.com predicts Correa will be the shortstop to replace Turner in Los Angeles. The Dodgers reportedly “love anything” that 28-year-old Correa brings to the table. But it remains to be seen whether they will seriously attack him, as he is unpopular with Dodgers fans thanks to his participation in the 2017 Astros. That made the Twins, Cubs and Yankees popular picks for Correa in the poll.
Other teams getting votes: Twins, Cubs, Yankees, Braves, Orioles, Phillies, Angels, Giants, Mariners, Red Sox, Tigers
Most of our constituents think Bogaerts will stay with the Red Sox, where the 30-year-old has already spent 10 of his big league seasons, won two World Series and made four All-Star teams, including his last in 2022. Bogaerts opted out of his deal with the Red Sox with three years and $60 million to go, but both sides have expressed interest in a reunion, and for the Sox, keeping Bogaerts as their shortstop number 1 priority is.
If Bogaerts re-signs with Boston, one of the best shortstops could disappear from the market, but if he does test that market, the other teams losing a shortstop of his caliber to free agency (Dodgers, Twins, Braves) could be an option just like those who are just looking for a top end shortstop (Phillies, Cubs). Those teams all received several votes as Bogaerts landing place.
Other teams receiving votes: Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Phillies, Twins, Braves, Mariners, Orioles, Yankees, Mets
Verlander is entering his 40-year season, but the 17-year veteran just finished another Cy Young-caliber season in 2022. Push series.
Of course, the Astros are just such a team, and since Verlander just led them to a second World Series championship, staying in Houston is the most likely outcome in the eyes of our constituents. The two New York teams could also be chasing Verlander as the Yankees and Mets try to make deeper post-season runs in 2023 and topple the Astros.
Other teams getting votes: Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Braves, Giants, Angels, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Padres
Swanson doesn’t have as much star power as Turner, Correa and Bogaerts, but his breakthrough over the past few seasons has been a big part of the Braves’ success, and when he’s hot on the plate, the 28-year-old is as good as any short stop, especially as he has emerged as a top defender in that position. Atlanta knows that all too well, which is why the Braves are MLB.com’s choice to lock up Swanson, who has not played for any other club since they traded for him when he was a prospect with the D-backs.
Atlanta was by far the most popular choice for Swanson in the poll. Otherwise, some of the voters think he would be in the game for the Cubs, who had an equally electric but streaky short stop in Javier Báez before trading him to the Mets last July. Or the Dodgers, as Swanson profiles as a similar type of shortstop to Turner.
Other teams getting votes: Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Phillies, Twins, Cardinals, Orioles, Red Sox, Royals, Yankees
deGrom out, Rodón in? If the Mets lose a dominant ace, they can replace it with another. Going into his 30-year season, Rodón is 27-13 with a 2.67 ERA and striking out 422 in 310 2/3 innings since the start of 2021, with a 90s power fastball and wipeout slider like the Grom, but then from the left.
deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball when healthy, but Rodón is also good enough to be a co-ace of Max Scherzer if the Mets lose deGrom. The MLB.com pundits have the Grom for the Rangers and Rodón for the Mets, but the opposite could also be true — deGrom could return to the Mets and the novice pitcher-needed Rangers could take Rodón. Texas was almost as popular as the Mets — MLB.com voters think both teams will get a first-class free-agent starter, but which team will get which pitcher?
Other teams getting votes: Rangers, Cubs, Giants, Angels, Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles
For the first time in more than 15 years, the Cardinals need a new catcher. Yadier Molina is retiring, and while no one can really replace the franchise icon in St. Louis, Contreras is one of the few real stars in the position, and he just happens to be a free agent.
The Cubs and Cardinals may be rivals, but jumping from Chicago to St. Louis would be a perfect fit for Contreras, so the Cardinals are the clear voter favorite of MLB.com. But the World Series champions are another strong option, as the Astros relied on the aging Martín Maldonado, who is not the common threat that Contreras is. Contreras, who can punch, run and throw, got a few teams significant votes in the poll, with a return to the Cubs also in the game, as well as a deal with the Tigers as part of their rebuild.
Other teams getting votes: Astros, Tigers, Cubs, Red Sox, Guardians, Mets, Yankees, D-backs, Giants, Padres, Rays, Rockies
Nimmo is the best outfielder on the free-agent market, unnamed Aaron Judge. And like Judge, the experts at MLB.com think Nimmo will stay in New York.
Nimmo was a linchpin for the 101-winning Mets as their daily leadoff hitter and center fielder in 2022, so they must do everything they can to re-sign the 29-year-old, who has been a Met since he was their first-round draft pick in 2011. But like his fellow free agent deGrom, Nimmo is going to talk to other teams, and maybe one of those teams will get his hands on him. The Rockies, Giants and Mariners (who already have a former Met in their field in Jarred Kelenic) all generated significant votes for Nimmo, and even the crosstown rival Yankees could be in the game if Judge leaves town.
Other teams getting votes: Rockies, Giants, Mariners, Yankees, Astros, Padres, Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, White Sox
The 2020 AL MVP has struggled year after year for the White Sox since his big league debut in 2014. Why go anywhere else now as he enters his 36-year-old season?
Most MLB.com voters think Abreu will stay in Chicago and continue to anchor the White Sox lineup. But a good portion also thinks he’ll stay in Chicago…but jump to the Cubs. The Cubs were the second most popular choice for Abreu, as they do not currently have an established first baseman in the big league, let alone one with Abreu’s track record.
Other teams getting votes: Cubs, Padres, Marlins, Giants, Guardians, Mariners, Rays, Twins, Astros, Brewers, Cardinals, Mets, Orioles, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies