MLB free agents sign blockbuster deals during offseason


Cassandra Joyce, Sports Co-Editor

As the 2022 baseball season came to a close and the Astros became World Series champions, talks immediately shifted to the offseason. With notable players becoming free agents, like Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom and Dansby Swanson, among many others, the debate over where players would sign became a hot topic in the baseball world. Although not every free agent has found a team yet, huge contacts have already been signed.

Aaron Judge
On Dec. 7, outfielder Aaron Judge signed a nine-year deal to stay with the New York Yankees for $360 million. Judge’s contract is the largest free agent contract in major league history. After batting .311 last season, leading the league in homeruns, runs, RBIs, on-base percentage, OPS+, total bases and slugging percentage, breaking the American League single-season home run record and winning the AL Most Valuable Player award, a large contract was expected. Earlier in the day before the contract was signed, rumors were pointing towards Judge going to the San Francisco Giants, but Judge ended up staying with the team he has been with since his rookie season when he broke the MLB rookie home run record and was Rookie of the Year.

Jacob deGrom
Pitcher Jacob deGrom signed a five-year, $185 million contract with the Texas Rangers. deGrom is a two-time Cy Young award winner and a four-time All-Star, but in recent years, his career has been plagued with injuries with only 26 starts over the past two seasons. Last season, deGrom had a 3.08 ERA and a 5-4 record with the New York Mets, who he has been with for the last eight years. His reason for signing with the Rangers was that their goal was “winning a world series,” which lines up with what he wants to do. deGrom’s signing is part of a series of moves by the Rangers, including signing Corey Seager and hiring a new manager, through an effort to improve their team after only winning 68 games and finishing fourth in the AL West last season.

Trea Turner
The Philadelphia Phillies signed an 11-year, $300 million contract with shortstop Trea Turner. Last season, he was awarded the Silver Slugger Award, was an All-Star and batted .298 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. By joining the 2022 National League champions, he reunites with old teammate Bryce Harper who he played with on the Nationals. According to Turner during his first press conference as a Philly, he said, “I pictured myself here. This is a fun place to play. We watched a lot of the playoff games. This place was rockin’.”

Justin Verlander
The New York Mets and starting pitcher Justin Verlander agreed to a two-year, $86 million contract on Dec. 5. Verlander will be 40 years old by the start of the season, which concerns some, but Verlander’s dominance has not faded. During the 2022 season, Verlander helped lead the Houston Astros to the World Series, won his third Cy Young, had an 18-4 record and posted a 1.75 ERA. One of the main reasons the Mets signed Verlander was to fill the gap created from notable pitchers becoming free agents, such as Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker and Jacob deGrom.

Xander Bogaerts
Xander Bogaerts signed an 11-year, $280 million contract with the San Diego Padres on Dec. 8. Bogaerts played with the Red Sox for the past nine seasons, posting a .292 career average. Last season, he batted .307 and was an All-Star. The Padres currently have two other shortstops on their rosters, but Fernando Tatis Jr. has been suspended from baseball because of a positive performance-enhancing drug test. When Tatis Jr. comes back, he is expected to play outfield and Ha-Seong Kim, who filled in for Tatis Jr. at shortstop, will play second. According to Bogaerts, “The roster is so stacked, top to bottom, it’s unbelievable.” Last year, the Padres lost in the NL Championship series, but according to the Padres chairman, Peter Seidler, winning the World Series is the goal this year. San Diego has never won the World Series before.