The MLB offseason has been busy with deals in free agency and the trade market as well as other important roster news. Bally Sports' David Brown provides analysis on all of the key developments.

Tuesday, Jan. 31

USATSI_18348782

Apr 29, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Chad Green (57) pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Chad Green to Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays announced the signing of the right-handed pitcher to a two-year contract with options that guarantee him at least $8.5 million.

Green, who turns 32 in May, made 14 appearances for the Yankees in 2022 before getting Tommy John surgery on June 1. From 2017 to present, he has been one of the more effective relief pitchers in MLB, ranking eighth in WAR and 11th in RA9-WAR at FanGraphs. He has a 3.17 ERA and 494 strikeouts to go with 96 walks and 296 hits allowed in 383 2/3 career innings, all with New York since 2016.

During his most recent full season in 2021, Green ranked in the 85th percentile in fastball velocity (95 mph) and 94th in fastball spin. He also was 90th percentile in K% and 89th in BB%. Green's curve also spins more than about two-thirds of the league.

The contract reportedly will pay him $2.5 million this season before both sides are presented with a series of options that will determine terms for 2024 and, possibly, beyond. This offseason, the Jays traded for right-hander Erik Swanson to bolster their bullpen, which is led by closer Jordan Romano, Yimi García, Adam Cimber, Anthony Bass and left-hander Tim Mayza.

Tommy John rehab typically takes 12-14 months, which puts Green on target to help the Jays before hitting the final third of the season.

Monday, Jan. 30

USATSI_18907064

Aug 21, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Zack Greinke (23) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays in the second inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Zack Greinke returns to Kansas City Royals

The Royals agreed to bring back the veteran right-hander on a one-year contract that has a base salary that guarantees him at least $8 million to $10 million.

Greinke, who turned 39 in October, ranks 25th all time among all pitchers on Jay Jaffe's JAWS ranking system — just behind Clayton Kershaw and just ahead of Tom Glavine. Greinke is also 25th all time in Win Probability Added. A six-time All-Star, six-time Gold Glove winner and the 2009 AL Cy Young winner, Greinke has a 3.42 ERA, 223 wins and 2,882 strikeouts in 3,247 career innings. Only 100 pitchers in history have logged more carer innings, and only 99 have a better adjusted ERA. He is a strong bet for the Hall of Fame once he retires.

Greinke posted a 3.68 ERA in 26 starts in 2022, his first season in Kansas City since the Royals traded him in 2010 for a package that included Lorenzo Cain and others who helped the club reach the World Series five years later. Greinke made $13 million last year, but Kansas City management offered lesser deals this offseason that reportedly were weighted with incentives.

The Royals have added Jordan Lyles and left-hander Ryan Yarbrough in free agency to their rotation, which also includes Brady Singer and possibly Brad Keller, Daniel Lynch, Kris Bubic, Jonathan Heasley, Jackson Kowar and others. They've also added Aroldis Chapman, Josh Taylor and Nick Wittgren (a non-roster invitee) to the bullpen.

Thursday, Jan. 26

USATSI_18680676

Jul 10, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Cole Irvin (19) throws a pitch against the Houston Astros in the third inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

TRADE: Cole Irvin to Baltimore Orioles

The Athletics announced the trade of Irvin and minor league right-hander Kyle Virbitsky to the Orioles for minor league infielder Darell Hernaiz.

The left-handed Irvin, who turns 29 on Jan. 31, became Oakland's top starter after the A's traded right-hander Frankie Montas at the deadline last summer. In 2022, Irvin finished with a 3.98 ERA, 128 strikeouts and 36 walks in 181 innings, not far from his results in his first full season in 2021. Among the 36 qualified starters the past two seasons, his adjusted ERA ranks 32nd, about 6% worse than league average overall. A lot of his value comes in being able to stay on the mound; only 13 pitchers have logged more innings the last two years. Pitchers having similar value include José Quintana, Drew Smyly, and Sean Manaea.

Hernaiz, 21, is an infielder who ranked 16th among all Orioles prospects at MLB Pipeline. He's a .274/.341/.396 career hitter with 20 home runs in 877 at-bats, reaching as far as Double A for 13 games in 2022. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Hernaiz is said to excel at making contact with the barrel. He's a good athlete but shows an arm suited more for second base than shortstop. The 2019 fifth-round pick didn't rank in Baseball America's top 10 of Orioles prospects, but they did rank Baltimore as having the best overall system at midseason last year.

Virbitsky, 24, stands 6-7 and weighs 235. He has posted a 4.49 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 34 walks in 142 1/3 innings over parts of two seasons at two levels of Class A. His control was rated best in the A's system by Baseball America.

Irvin won't be eligible for arbitration until next year and isn't due for free agency until 2027, so the A’s aren’t saving a ton of money right now by moving him. Their rotation projects to include four right-handers — veterans Paul Blackburn and James Kaprelian and newcomers Drew Rucinski and Shintaro Fujinami. Left-handers Ken Waldichuk, JP Sears and Kyle Muller also figure to compete for a starting spot or space in the bullpen. The franchise is definitely in rebuilding, win-later mode as it continues to search for a new ballpark as the Howard Terminal saga with the city of Oakland drags on.

The rest of the Orioles rotation includes right-hander Kyle Gibson (a free-agent signee this offseason) along with Kyle Bradish, Dean Kremer and possibly Tyler Wells. Left-hander John Means continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery and figures to return at some point in 2023. The O's also have right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, one of the top five or 10 prospects in the majors, on the verge of making his MLB debut. Left-hander DL Hall, another big prospect who got a taste of the majors last year, also could make the team out of spring training.

Baltimore’s pitching overall made a big collective leap in 2022, but it still ranked in the bottom third in production. The Orioles should be a better unit going forward.

Tuesday, Jan. 24

USATSI_18097957

Apr 7, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi (27) during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

TRADE: Adalberto Mondesí to Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox agreed to acquire Mondesí from the Royals for left-hander Josh Taylor.

Mondesí, 27, is the son of former major leaguer Raúl Mondesí and is a one-time consensus top-25 prospect who has missed many dozens of games over the course of his career because of injuries. The infielder is a .244/.280/.408 career hitter with 38 home runs and 133 stolen bases in 1,366 plate appearances across seven seasons, and he played in just 15 games last year before tearing the ACL in his left knee in April.

The wiry 6-foot-1 Mondesí made his major-league debut at 20 years old in the 2015 World Series, and he is capable of big power, twice having posted an isolated slugging percentage of .222 (in 2018 and 2021). He also has frustrating career tendencies with strikeouts (30.2 K%) and walks (4.4 BB%). However, he is gifted on defense, posting a combined plus-9 total runs saved from 2019 to 2020, his healthiest period.

A free agent next year, Mondesí is theoretically a much-better stopgap option for the Red Sox at shortstop than Enríque Hernández, who can slide over to second base or resume his multi-positional role — as long as Mondesí can stay healthy. Infielder Christian Arroyo moves to a part-time role, and Trevor Story won't be healthy enough to play until much later in the season, if at all in 2023. Top-rated Red Sox prospect Marcelo Mayer, the club’s shortstop of tomorrow, just turned 20 and finished the 2022 season at advanced Class A.

Taylor, who turns 30 in March, was effective as a rookie in 2019 and in 2021 before a back injury knocked him out in 2022. He has a 29.4 K% and 10.0 BB% in 102 1/3 career innings, allowing hitters a .237/.323/.345 slash line though he's much more dominant against left-handed batters.

The value of certain situational relief pitchers has been muted in recent seasons because of the newer rules that don't allow for one- or two-batter appearances. Boston also has Joely Rodríguez in its bullpen but not a lot of other recognizable names from the left side. Conversely, the Royals have added several left-handed pieces in recent days, including Aroldis Chapman and minor leaguer Evan Sisk, who could make the jump to the majors soon. They have Amir Garrett back there as well.

FREE AGENCY: Jesús Aguilar to Oakland Athletics

The A’s reportedly agreed to sign Aguilar, a 32-year-old first baseman, to a one-year, $3 million contract.

Aguilar had a down season with the Marlins and Orioles in 2022, but for his career, he is a .254/.324/.449 hitter who produces 23 home runs, 22 doubles and 48 walks every 162 games. That comes out to about 7% above league average on the wRC+ scale at FanGraphs.

The A's are hoping to get Aguilar on the upswing as a possible cleanup hitter. He was an All-Star with the Brewers in 2018, when he batted .274/.352/.539 with 35 home runs in what was easily the best of his nine MLB seasons. He also produced above-average results in 2017, 2020 and 2021.

Aguilar had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee at the end of the 2021 season and had COVID-19 in 2022. He batted just .235/.281/.379 with 16 homers in 507 plate appearances last year.

This offseason, Oakland has added multiple free agents, including Jace Peterson (likely for third base) and Aledmys Díaz (elsewhere in the infield, DH or utility). Another newcomer, Esteury Ruiz, is a solid bet to play center field after coming over in the Sean Murphy three-way trade with the Brewers and Braves.

Monday, Jan. 23

USATSI_18911816

Aug 22, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Michael A. Taylor (2) makes a diving attempt on the ball during the fourth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

TRADE: Michael A. Taylor to Minnesota Twins

The Twins agreed to acquire Taylor from the Royals for two minor-league pitchers, right-hander Steven Cruz and left-hander Evan Sisk.

Taylor, who turns 32 years old in March, won a Gold Glove as a center fielder with Kansas City in 2021, and he leads all major-league outfielders in total runs saved at Fielding Bible since the start of the 2020 season. His defense is a big reason the Twins wanted him. Putting him in the same outfield with Byron Buxton and Joey Gallo could be fun to watch and hard to beat. It's also possible Taylor's acquisition is the next step in Minnesota moving right fielder Max Kepler.

A right-handed batter, Taylor hit .254/.313/.357 with nine home runs, 10 doubles, three triples and 35 walks in 456 plate appearances in 2022, producing about 10% below MLB-average results at the plate — which still was the second-best output of his career, based on wRC+ at FanGraphs. Taylor dedicated himself to drawing more walks and striking out less last year, as he finished with career bests in K% (23.9) and BB% (7.7). His best hitting results came in the first four months of the season before sustaining a shoulder injury in July. He hit well for a while after coming off the injured list, but once August came, his production went south.

The Royals reportedly wanted right-hander Josh Winder when news of a possible Taylor swap first leaked, but after Minnesota balked, they still came away with Cruz, who was the Twins’ No. 28 prospect at MLB Pipeline and No. 40 at The Athletic.

Cruz, who turns 24 in June, stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 225 pounds. Capable of reaching 100 mph with his fastball, he complements it with a slider. He appears to profile as a reliever, posting a 5.14 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 35 walks in 56 innings at Double-A Wichita in 2022. He has a 4.07 ERA with 259 strikeouts and 129 walks in 192 1/3 innings in five seasons. The Royals could see him in the majors this season.

Sisk, who turns 26 in April, has a 2.69 career ERA, striking out 236 with 102 walks in 207 2/3 innings over four seasons, almost all from the bullpen. He has been near 30% in strikeout percentage the past two seasons, with a .158 batting average allowed and a 12.5 BB% in 2022. He's not ranked as a prospect, but he could be a guy the Royals find helpful, having already logged 34 2/3 innings in Triple A.

Friday, Jan. 20

USATSI_19095364

Sep 20, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Twins designated hitter Luis Arraez (2) bats against the Kansas City Royals during the second inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

TRADE: Luis Arraez to Miami Marlins, Pablo López to Minnesota Twins

The Twins agreed to trade Arraez, the 2022 AL batting champion, to Miami for López and two prospects — infielder Jose Salas and teenage outfielder Byron Chourio. Additionally, the Marlins said they plan to make room on defense for Arraez by converting All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisholm into a center fielder, a switch the player reportedly backs 100 percent.

The possibility of an Arraez/López swap had been leaked some time ago on social media. Why did the deal happen? Quick answers: The Twins have strong depth in the middle infield with Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco, but they lacked starting pitchers who were signed beyond this season, as three-fifths of their rotation will be free agents in 2024. López, who turns 27 in March, is theirs through 2024 at least, longer if they can work out a contract extension. The prospects are intriguing and fun, particularly Salas, but likely won't be ready for several years.

As for the Marlins, they were deep in starting pitching behind Sandy Alcántara and could afford to move López. They also had one of the worst offenses in the league in 2022. Now they’ll have the 26-year-old Arraez, a great hitting talent, batting at the top of their order.

Miami also needed a center fielder and had few other good options. Chisholm is a great athlete who could pull off the switch with excellence. He reportedly said to expect a Gold Glove on defense. He also sustained a painful back injury last year and produced diminished results. How his health affects his ability to play at all this season is still a big question.

Arraez hit .316/.375/.420 with eight home runs, 31 doubles, 50 walks and just 43 strikeouts, results that earned him an AL Silver Slugger as a utility player. He's a .314/.374/.410 hitter with 137 walks and 131 strikeouts in four seasons overall. It is almost unheard of for a full-time player in this era to walk more than he strikes out. Arraez swings the bata lot like Hall of Famer Rod Carew — a fun coincidence because the previous time a reigning MLB batting champ had been traded came in 1979, when the Twins dealt Carew to the Angels for a package of four players, notably outfielder Ken Landreaux.

Arraez plays solid defense at second base and was really good at first base last year. If it doesn't work out with Chisholm playing center and he needs to return to the infield, Arraez could slide to first without a problem. (Hey, Carew did it.) GM Kim Ng also added free-agent infielder Jean Segura this offseason. His best position is also second base, but he'll start at third. The Marlins have an unconventional defensive plan overall.

There's a good chance López and the prospects will be a much fairer return for Arraez than what the Twins got for Carew so many years ago. The right-hander is a changeup specialist who logged a career-best 180 innings and posted a 3.75 ERA in 2022. He has a 23.2 K% and a 6.7 BB% for his career, which are both better than league average. He's also effective at generating soft contact and ground balls and staying away from home runs.

López slots among Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda in the Minnesota rotation. All but Ryan have their contracts expire at the end of the season. Since 2018, López ranks 56th of 171 qualified pitchers in win probability added at FanGraphs — right between Robbie Ray and Stephen Strasburg. López could be the Twins’ best starting pitcher in 2023. One cause of concern could be durability; he had a tired shoulder that limited him in 2021.

Salas, who turns 20 in April, was ranked the No. 83 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline and fifth in the Marlins organization. Chourio doesn't turn 18 until May, but he performed well in his first professional experience in the Dominican Summer League in 2022. They are fun aspects of the trade, but it's likely that López will be the key for the Twins.

Thursday, Jan. 19

USATSI_18810197

Jul 29, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Aroldis Chapman to Kansas City Royals

The Royals and the left-handed reliever reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.75 million contract that includes performance bonuses for more.

Chapman, who turns 35 in February, famously fled Cuba in 2009, came to MLB throwing 104-plus mph and became one of the top relief pitchers of his generation until he showed signs of decline the past two seasons. Amid mechanical inconsistencies with his delivery, his results in 2022 with the Yankees were the worst of his career — just nine saves, 4.46 ERA and 28 walks in 36 1/3 innings for a minus-1 win probability added. His K percentage dropped to 26.9 (40.9% for his career), and his walk percentage climbed to 17.5 (12.2% for his career). Chapman's fastball velocity was down, but he still ranked in the 96th percentile for speed across the league, instead of the 99th or 100th.

The seven-time All-Star also ended the season on a rotten note. An apparent disagreement with the Yankees coaching staff about how he would be used in the playoffs came ahead of a missed workout in October, a decision that probably cemented his end in the Bronx. He stayed AWOL as the postseason continued, saying only that he was working out at home in Florida, but the Yankees never called him to return after they advanced to the next round.

It wasn’t his worst behavior. In 2015, Chapman choked his girlfriend during an argument and fired gunshots in his garage as she hid in the bushes, according to a police report. He later drew a 30-game suspension from MLB for violating the league's policy on domestic abuse, but he finished the 2016 season with the Cubs when they won the World Series.

The Royals will be Chapman's fourth team in 13 seasons since he debuted with the Reds in 2010. Kansas City's bullpen ranked 23rd in WAR at FanGraphs in 2022, although closer Scott Barlow was ninth among individuals in WPA, right-hander Dylan Coleman was 44th and lefty Amir Garrett was 82nd. The Royals haven't made a hard push for quick improvement this offseason after winning 65 games in 2022, so they likely view Chapman as an asset that could be flipped for young depth at the trade deadline.

FREE AGENCY: Tommy La Stella to Seattle Mariners

The Mariners and La Stella reportedly agreed on a one-year contract. The left-handed hitter fits as a DH against right-handed pitching, with the club having already added right-handed-hitting A.J. Pollock as a free agent.

Seattle made room on the 40-man roster by designating left-hander Justus Sheffield for assignment. Sheffield, a consensus top-40 prospect before the 2019 season, hasn't developed as a major leaguer yet. He's still just 26 and has logged 186 innings in parts of five seasons.

La Stella, who turns 34 on Jan. 31, is coming off two brutal, injury-plagued seasons with the Giants in which he batted .245/.297/.380 with nine home runs and 29 walks in 437 plate appearances. He had surgery on both Achilles tendons after the 2021 season, but he had additional ailments last year and struggled even more at the plate in 60 games. Most of his playing time came at DH.

La Stella played just 76 innings on defense last season. His most prolific position has been second base, but he's also played third and a bit of first base.

When healthy, La Stella had a good run from 2016 to 2020 with the Cubs, Angels and Athletics, batting .282/.358/.436 with 29 home runs, 50 doubles, 102 walks and 112 strikeouts in 1,061 plate appearances. He was an All-Star in 2019.

The Giants still owed La Stella $11.5 million for 2023 but designated him for assignment in December before releasing him. The Mariners will pay him a prorated amount of the league minimum ($720,000), meaning the biggest risk they take with La Stella is simply that he doesn't produce.

Wednesday, Jan. 18

USATSI_18389059

May 29, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Kevin Pillar (11) makes a diving catch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Kevin Pillar to Atlanta Braves

The Braves and Pillar agreed to a minor-league contract for one year and $3 million if he makes the major-league roster.

Pillar, who turned 34 on Jan. 4, made just 13 plate appearances for the Dodgers in 2022 before sustaining a fracture in his left shoulder. He signed a minor-league deal with Los Angeles and tore it up in Triple A before being promoted last May, only to lose most of the season to injury.

The 10-year MLB veteran is a .259/.296/.408 career hitter who averages 15 home runs, 34 doubles, 14 stolen bases and 24 walks every 162 games. His overall results at the plate rate 13% below league average. An elite defender in center field earlier in his career, Pillar was effective in left field in his brief time with the Dodgers.

The Braves figure to use Michael Harris II and Ronald Acuña most of the time in two outfield spots, with left-handed hitting Eddie Rosario as the first choice in left and Marcell Ozuna as a DH. This offseason, they also added Sam Hilliard, Eli White and lefty masher Jordan Luplow as backup outfielders. Atlanta also has gone through a lot of outfielders the past two seasons, so it's possible the competition for playing time will extend into the regular season.

FREE AGENCY: Adam Duvall to Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox reportedly agreed with the free-agent outfielder to a one-year, $7 million contract that could be worth $10 million with performance bonuses achieved. They also added free-agent outfielder Raimel Tapia on a minor-league contract.

Duvall, 34, is a career .230/.289/.465 hitter who averages 32 home runs, 27 doubles and 40 walks per 162 games. He hit 38 home runs and won a Gold Glove in 2021 in a split season with the Marlins and the World Series champion Braves. Last year, his hitting dropped to .213/.276/.401 with 12 home runs in 86 games amid a wrist injury that required surgery and ended his season in July.

Duvall had a career .241 isolated power coming into 2022 (the MLB average during his career is .161). If his wrist is good to go, Atlanta will get a much better player than he was able to show last season. He fits as the everyday center fielder right now, flanked by newcomer Masataka Yoshida in left field and Alex Verdugo in right. Enríque Hernández figures to play shortstop most days after the departure of Xander Bogaerts to the Padres in free agency.

Tapia, who turns 29 in February, batted .265/.292/.380 with seven home runs and eight stolen bases for the Blue Jays in 2022 after playing six seasons with the Rockies. He's a .277/.318/.392 career hitter and was a plus fielder in left from 2020 to 2021 before performing neutrally in 2022, per Fielding Bible. He would seem a good bet to head north from spring training and provide outfield depth.

Boston also has added Justin Turner as a DH and catcher Jorge Alfaro to complement Reese McGuire. Right-handers Corey Kluber, Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin are the larger additions to the pitching staff. The Red Sox also are expecting left-handers Chris Sale and James Paxton to return from injuries. Their biggest move of the offseason has been the contract extension for third baseman Rafael Devers.

FREE AGENCY: Tommy Pham to New York Mets

The Mets reportedly agreed to sign the free-agent outfielder to a one-year, $6 million contract.

Pham, who turns 35 in March, hit .236/.312/.374 with 17 home runs in 622 plate appearances for the Reds and Red Sox in 2022. His numbers fell well-below his career norms (.259/.354/.433). He also made non-baseball news by slapping Joc Pederson over a fantasy-football argument which Pham also directed blame toward their league commissioner, Mike Trout.

Pham overall has a good clubhouse reputation, but he hasn't hit far above average since 2019, when he batted .273/.369/.450 with 21 home runs for the Rays. The Mets were looking for a strong right-handed bat to plug into the outfield or DH. Pham's defense, which had been a calling card earlier in his career, slipped in 2021 before rebounding to neutral in 2022.

The Mets also added catcher Omar Narváez to the lineup this offseason along with a flurry of changes to the pitching staff — notably Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga and José Quintana. The attempted Carlos Correa signing, infamously, fell through.

FREE AGENCY: Brian Anderson to Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers reportedly agreed with the free-agent outfielder/third baseman on a one-year, $3.5 million contract. Anderson could earn up to $2 million more in performance incentives.

Anderson, who turns 30 in May, hit .222/.311/.346 with eight home runs, 16 doubles and 37 walks in 383 plate appearances for the Marlins in 2022 amid shoulder injuries and other physical setbacks. He also struggled at the plate in 2021. From 2018 to 2020, he batted .266/.350/.436 and averaged 20 home runs every 162 games while playing home games in a tough park for hitters. He graded well on defense at third base from 2019 to 2021, per Fielding Bible, but his range was weaker in 2022. The condition of Anderson's shoulder will be key.

If healthy, Anderson's versatility on defense will help him find playing time, although Mike Brosseau and Keston Hiura are also right-handed hitters who can play different positions in reserve. The Brewers have Luis Urías to play third base most of the time and Rowdy Tellez at first base. The outfield situation could be fluid, aside from Christian Yelich in left. Garrett Mitchell gets first crack at center field, and Tyrone Taylor will play a lot in right.

Milwaukee also has good outfield prospects like Sal Frelick, the team’s 2021 first-round pick. Also, rookie Brice Turang will get a long look at second base in spring training, so how he handles it will have a domino effect on other positions.

The Brewers have also added Jesse Winker, who probably will DH most of the time against right-handed pitching, and made a trade for William Contreras, who figures to be the starting catcher.

Tuesday, Jan. 17

USATSI_18662658

Jul 8, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Connor Seabold (67) throws a pitch against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

TRADE: Connor Seabold to Colorado Rockies

The Rockies announced the acquisition of Seabold from the Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash. The right-hander projects to join Colorado's starting rotation, which includes Germán Márquez, Kyle Freehand, José Ureña and Austin Gomber.

Seabold, who turns 27 years old on Jan. 24, was ranked the No. 21 prospect in Boston's organization by MLB Pipeline before he was recently designated for assignment. He posted an 11.29 ERA with 19 strikeouts in five starts in 2022, allowing 35 hits, eight walks and five home runs in 18 1/3 innings. In his minor-league career, Seabold, a 2017 third-round pick of the Phillies, has a 3.46 ERA with 356 strikeouts, 87 walks and 32 homers allowed in 343 innings.

Seabold throws a 92-mph four-seam fastball and mixes in a slider and changeup (which the Red Sox wished he would’ve used more). In the lower minors with Philly, he was a better ground-ball pitcher than in recent seasons. It’s possible the Rockies see something in his history that could be attractive for Coors Field.

The Rockies, who went 68-94 and finished last in the NL West last season, have made a half-dozen or so small moves this offseason, notably the acquisitions of relief pitchers Pierce Johnson and Brent Suter. They also signed slugger Harold Castro and traded with Cleveland for third-base prospect Nolan Jones. They've lost free agents Carlos Estévez and Garrett Hampson, with José Iglesias, Chad Kohl, Alex Colomé, and Jhoulys Chacín still in limbo.

Monday, Jan. 16

USATSI_18745858

Jul 25, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; San Diego Padres catcher Jorge Alfaro (38) walks to the dugout during the fifth inning in a game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Jorge Alfaro to Boston Red Sox

Boston added depth at catcher by reportedly agreeing to a minor-league deal with Alfaro on a one-year, $2 million contract, which is contingent on him making the major-league roster. It includes opt-outs for June 1 and July 1 in case he is not called up.

The Red Sox appear to be happy with Reese McGuire as their starting catcher, and they also have a backup in Connor Wong, who was acquired in the Mookie Betts trade in 2020. Alfaro would seem to be in a good position to play a lot.

Alfaro, who turns 30 in June, batted .246/.285/.383 with seven home runs and 11 walks in 274 plate appearances for the Padres in 2022. His results at the plate were typical for his career. A right-handed power threat, Alfaro also is a high-strikeout (34.1%), low-walk (4.2%) hitter. In his most prolific season in 2019, he hit 18 homers in 431 at-bats for the Marlins. He spent his first three seasons with the Phillies.

Alfaro's performance on defense is a mixed bag. Some seasons, he has performed well at framing pitches and throwing out runners. Other years — like in 2022 — his results sagged. A catcher's defensive stats can hinge greatly on how well pitchers hold runners and how much work they make the catcher do behind the plate. Based on Austin Nola's results with the Padres last season, San Diego's pitchers were challenging to work with.

Saturday, Jan. 14

USATSI_19029253

Sep 11, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Trey Mancini (26) watches his grand slam home run in the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Trey Mancini to Chicago Cubs

Mancini and the Cubs reportedly agreed on a two-year contract worth $14 million guaranteed. The agreement includes a player opt-out for the second year, along with escalators and incentives for the upcoming season.

For his career, Mancini is a .265/.330/.457 hitter who averages 27 homers and 53 walks every 162 games. The 30-year-old batted .239/.319/.391 with 18 home runs, 23 doubles, 53 walks and 135 strikeouts in 587 plate appearances between the Orioles and Astros in 2022. His isolated power and HR percentage dropped to career lows after the Orioles excavated the left-field stands at Camden Yards, making home runs much more difficult for right-handed batters.

Mancini's results further dropped after a deadline trade to the Astros, where he batted .176/.258/.364 with eight homers (albeit with some apparent bad luck) in 51 games. After he went 1-for-21 in the postseason, Houston bought out Mancini's contract for 2023, making him a free agent. While it's likely that a normalized season will lead to a bump in production, it's also true that Mancini's best season is four years in the past.

A first baseman by trade, Mancini also has experience in the outfield. He's a likely DH most days with the Cubs, though his defensive ratings were a slight plus at first and left in limited time last year. He's also a testicular cancer survivor, having missed the 2020 season in recovery.

Mancini has a great reputation in the clubhouse, and he joins the team’s other offseason additions, which include Dansby Swanson, Eric Hosmer, Cody Bellinger, Tucker Barnhart, Jameson Taillon and Brad Boxburger. The Cubs, who went 74-88 in 2022, currently project a 2023 payroll of $168 million, which would rank 13th in MLB.

Friday, Jan. 13

GettyImages-854390804

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts as he rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam home run in the second inning during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at PNC Park on September 26, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The grand slam home run was the first of McCutchen's career. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

FREE AGENCY: Andrew McCutchen to Pittsburgh Pirates

After six years away from Pittsburgh, McCutchen is returning to the Pirates, his first MLB team.

McCutchen, who turned 36 in October, reportedly agreed with the Pirates on a one-year, $5 million contract. The outfielder batted .237/.316/.384 with 17 home runs, 25 doubles, 57 walks and eight stolen bases in 580 plate appearances for the Brewers in 2022, his 14th big-league season. His results computed to a 98 wRC+ about 2% below league average.

For his career, McCutchen is a .277/.369/.469 hitter who averages 25 homers and 84 walks every 162 games. From 2011 to 2015, only Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw objectively were more productive players in MLB. With the Pirates, McCutchen won the NL MVP award in 2013 and was a five-time All-Star as the front man of three NL wild-card playoff teams.

This time around, McCutchen will be a support player for Ke'Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz and other youngsters as Pittsburgh continues its rebuilding process. The Pirates want McCutchen to play left field, where he was plus-5 in total runs saved in 2022, per Fielding Bible.

McCutchen also has played for the Giants, Yankees and Phillies.

EXTENSION: Chris Paddack gets $12.5 million from Minnesota Twins

With an eye toward tomorrow, the Twins reportedly agreed to a three-year contract extension with Paddack, even though the right-hander is not quite eight months into rehab for his second Tommy John surgery.

Paddack, who turned 27 years old earlier this month, will get at least $12.5 million through 2025 in a deal that includes what would have been his first free-agent season. The contract also carries as much as $2.5 million in incentives for Paddack, who made just five starts for Minnesota in 2022 before being shut down in May because of a torn UCL.

Paddack also had Tommy John surgery in 2016, when he was a prospect with the Padres and barely out of his teens. He has a 4.20 ERA with 330 strikeouts and 67 walks with 52 home runs allowed in 330 1/3 innings since his rookie season in 2019. He also has a career 24.2 strikeout percentage and 4.9 walk percentage, complementing a 93-mph four-seam fastball with what can be a top changeup.

The key element in the Taylor Rogers trade, Paddack, with more development, should be an important member of the Twins rotation once he’s healthy. With this overture, Minnesota obviously want him to remove any potential long-term worries about financial security as he continues his rehab. The extension emphasizes the club’s commitment to Paddack now and in the future, and the financial risk to the Twins is relatively low if expectations aren't fully met.

The chances are that Paddack will be a good pitcher for them — even if his impact this season is low — which makes the extension a sound investment.

FREE AGENCY: Luke Weaver to Cincinnati Reds

The Reds signed Weaver to a one-year, $2 million contract. The 29-year-old right-hander posted a 6.56 ERA in 35 2/3 innings between Arizona and Kansas City in 2022, but he also passed through Seattle in the offseason.

His numbers on the surface weren't good, but he was still in the 70th percentile for fastball velocity, and 82nd for fastball spin. He also had a high BABIP with a low strand rate — a combination that indicates possible bad luck and an artificially high ERA. If you throw hard with good action on your pitches as Weaver apparently does and you have a first-round prospect pedigree, you'll probably keep getting opportunities.

The Reds have Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo at the top of their rotation, with Graham Ashcraft and Luis Cessa also present. Justin Dunn and Brandon Williamson also are ready for opportunities. The club definitely have a need that Weaver could fill.

A first-round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2014 who ascended to consensus top 50-75 prospect status in 2017, Weaver was among the package traded to the Diamondbacks for slugger Paul Goldschmidt. Weaver has rarely gotten through a season without dealing with arm injuries (he had elbow and blister issues last season), and for his career, he has a 4.79 ERA with 462 strikeouts, 148 walks and 61 home runs allowed in 450 2/3 innings — not bad, just short of expectations and muted by injuries.

Wednesday, Jan. 11

USATSI_19079217

Sep 19, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas (11) throws to first base to for an out during the fifth inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

TRADE: Miguel Rojas to Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers added a shortstop known for his defense whom they helped to develop in the minor leagues nearly a decade ago, and they traded away prospect depth to the Marlins to make it happen.

Los Angeles agreed to acquire the 33-year-old Rojas for minor-league infielder Jacob Amaya. The veteran of nine MLB seasons ranked second at Fielding Bible with 15 total runs saved at shortstop in 2022 and batted .236/.283/.323 with six home runs, 19 doubles, nine stolen bases and 26 walks in 507 plate appearances. For his career, he’s a .260/.314/.358 hitter who slashed .290/.361/.375 in 2017, his best full season.

MLB Pipeline ranked Amaya as the Dodgers' No. 15 prospect, which likely is better than a lot of players who are ranked in the top 10 in lesser systems. The 24-year-old batted .261/.369/.427 with 17 home runs and 81 walks in 567 plate appearances between Double- and Triple-A in 2022. He could emerge in Miami soon.

At shortstop, the Fish have Joey Wendle, a solid hitter with better defensive rankings than most would expect. Free-agent newcomer Jean Segura is the likely third baseman. Jazz Chisholm would seem ticketed for second base again, but there has been talk of him moving to shortstop if the Marlins make enough moves and he's healthy enough to try.

Rojas figures to play most of the time at short for the Dodgers, and he’ll certainly be in that spot at the end of most games when they have a lead. Gavin Lux figures to slide back to second, and Max Muncy appears to be the third baseman for now, with newcomer J.D. Martínez likely to DH most of the time. They also have Miguel Vargas, perhaps a top-25 overall prospect in MLB who’s ready to play third base or the outfield as needed. He also could go back to the minors for more seasoning.

Starting his career with the Reds organization as a 17-year-old in 2006, Rojas signed with the Dodgers as a minor-league free agent before the 2013 season. Two years later, L.A. flipped him (with Dee Strange-Gordon and Dan Haren) to Miami for Austin Barnes and, among others, Enrique Hernández. Rojas became a clubhouse leader with the Marlins and a strong engager of fans on social media, lesser but not irrelevant reasons why the Dodgers were interested in bringing him back.

FREE AGENCY: Shintaro Fujinami to Oakland Athletics

The A’s reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the right-handed Fujinami, a 10-season veteran of Nippon Professional Baseball who is expected to join Oakland's starting rotation.

Fujinami, who turns 29 in April, owns a 3.41 ERA to go with 1,011 strikeouts, 459 walks and 61 home runs allowed in 994 1/3 innings for his career. He stands 6-6 with a lanky frame and has a delivery reminiscent of Orel Hershiser. His fastball reportedly has been clocked at 100 mph, and he throws a splitter in the low 90s and a slider that has been inconsistent but sometimes formidable.

Fujinami has had command issues at times, as he has frequently been shuttled to the Western League, one of NPB's minor leagues. In 2022, he posted a 3.38 ERA in 66 2/3 innings for the Hanshin Tigers and a 1.77 ERA in 40 2/3 innings for their minor-league affiliate.

A member of the same class as Shohei Ohtani, Fujinami also went through the posting process in Japan, which means Oakland will have to set aside 20% of what it pays him for Hanshin, his NPB team, for negotiating rights. With such a short contract, the A's pose the risk of losing Fujinami after one season. For now, he joins left-hander Cole Irvin, Paul Blackburn, James Kaprelian and newcomer Drew Rucinski — who played in Korea for the past four seasons — in Oakland's starting five. Standing by are left-handers Ken Waldichuk and Kyle Muller (who was part of the return in the Sean Murphy trade).

The A's also have added infielders Jace Peterson and Aledmys Díaz, outfielder Esteury Ruíz and catcher Manny Piña this offseason, with the latter two coming over in the three-way package for Murphy. Right-hander Trevor May is new to the bullpen.

FREE AGENCY: Nelson Cruz to San Diego Padres

The Padres reportedly agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the 42-year-old slugger. The likely plan is for Cruz to be San Diego’s DH against left-handed pitching in 2023. The Padres also signed Matt Carpenter, a left-side hitter, this offseason.

Cruz, who turns 43 in July, is the second-oldest player in MLB, about 3 1/2 months younger than left-hander Rich Hill. He has 459 career home runs, which is 39th all time and third among active players. He batted .234/.313/.337 with 10 home runs in 507 plate appearances for the Nationals in 2022, his weakest performance since early in his 18-year career. Washington bought him out of his contract for $3 million.

One reason to think Cruz might have something left: He needed offseason surgery to address an infection in his left eye that had been affecting his vision. In 2021 with the Twins and Rays, he hit .265/.334/.497, and from 2008 to 2021, he had a .256 isolated power percentage.

Cruz also is so deep into his baseball life that he's the player/GM of the Dominican Republic's team in the World Baseball Classic. We could get an idea of how much is left in his tank during the tournament, which starts March 8.

Tuesday, Jan. 10

FREE AGENCY: Corey Dickerson to Washington Nationals

The Nationals announced the signing of outfielder Corey Dickerson to a one-year, $2.25 million contract, a deal which could be worth up to $3 million because of incentives.

Dickerson, who turns 34 in May, hit .267/.300/.399 with six home runs and 17 doubles in 297 plate appearances with the Cardinals in 2022 as a part-time outfielder and DH. An All-Star with the Rays in 2017 and a Gold Glove winner with the Pirates in 2018, the left-handed-hitting Dickerson is a career slash line of .281/.324/.481 with 134 home runs. He has a career wRC+ of 112 at FanGraphs, meaning his production is about 12% above league average. Assuming all goes well enough in spring training, Dickerson will play for his eighth franchise in 11 MLB seasons after breaking in with the Rockies in 2013. He's also played for the Marlins, Phillies and Blue Jays.

Washington probably will use Dickerson in left field against right-handed pitching, with Victor Robles appearing to be set in center and Lane Thomas likely in right — though Alex Call and Stone Garrett are recent additions with minimal service time who could provide competition. The arrivals of Dickerson and Dominic Smith this offseason allow Joey Meneses, whose breakthrough rookie season at 30 years old was the highlight of the Nats’ 2022 season, to be a DH most of the time. The Nationals also added Jeimer Candelario this offseason to play third base, another in a series of smaller moves following the mega-trade of superstar Juan Soto and slugger Josh Bell at the deadline last August.

Dickerson's overall numbers this past season don't pop out, but he did hit well in the second half after a miserable slump to start the year. He missed some time midseason because of a recurring calf issue, but he also got outplayed overall by teammates like Albert Pujols, Brendan Donovan and Lars Nootbaar. This is a chance for him to bounce back.

INJURY NEWS: Trevor Story out 4-6 months

The Red Sox announced that Story underwent surgery on his right elbow this week and had a brace implanted on his UCL. It's a modified Tommy John procedure with a shorter recovery time. No matter, the infielder will miss anywhere from four to six months, which means a return no sooner than mid-May.

Story, who turned 30 in November, signed a six-year, $140 million contract before the 2022 season after making two All-Star teams as a shortstop with the Rockies. In his first year with Boston, he hit .238/.303/.434 with 16 home runs, 22 doubles, 13 stolen bases and 32 walks in 396 plate appearances, and he finished eighth at Fielding Bible in total runs saved among second basemen. He was limited to 96 games because of multiple injuries/ailments, notably a wrist fracture sustained when he was hit with a pitch in July.

Elbow surgery is no doubt another setback in the shorter term, but it might help Story strengthen his throws in the long run and move his position back to shortstop. He was an outstanding defender at short with Colorado, but his arm strength flagged in recent seasons, which presumably was related to a faulty UCL.

As for this season, with star shortstop Xander Bogaerts gone to San Diego in free agency, the Red Sox have Enríque Hernández and Christian Arroyo as the likely starters up the middle. Niko Goodrum is a non-roster invitee to spring training. Jarren Duran will be given an opportunity in spring training to win the center field job (which Hernández had in 2022), with newcomer Masataka Yoshida slated to play left and Alex Verdugo set for right.

Boston recently signed third baseman Rafael Devers to a contract extension and are hopeful rookie Triston Casas can continue his auspicious start to his big-league career and play first base most days. The Red Sox also signed Justin Turner to DH and have Reese McGuire to catch most games.

The rotation is in flux. Left-handers Chris Sale and James Paxton hope to resume their careers after injuries and join Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, rookie Brayan Bello and free-agent newcomer Corey Kluber. Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin and Joely Rodríguez were added in free agency to help John Schreiber and Tanner Houck in the bullpen of a Boston club that won 78 games last season.

USATSI_19095394

Sep 20, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (4) reacts while running off the field during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Carlos Correa returns to Minnesota Twins

Will the third time be the charm for the free-agent infielder? Correa reportedly agreed with the Twins on a six-year, $200 million contract that could be worth up to $70 million more over four additional years if the options vest. The deal, which is still pending a physical, comes after two previous verbal arrangements with the Giants and the Mets were scuttled because the teams reportedly became concerned with an old leg injury that was found during Correa's physical.

So the Correa camp pivoted back to Minnesota, with whom he batted .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs, 24 doubles and 61 walks in 136 games in 2022. The 28 year-old also was plus-3 in total runs saved at Fielding Bible. He led the league among shortstops in 2021, his final season with the Astros.

Presumably, the Twins already know about Correa's leg fracture from 2014 because they signed him last year after giving him a physical. In November, the two-time All-Star opted out of the final two years of his first contract with Minnesota, leaving $70.5 million on the table after earning $35.1 million in 2022. The new deal has an average annual value of about $33.3 million, but once the option years start, the AAV drops significantly as the contract ages.

Concerns over Correa's future health apparently were too much for the Mets, who had agreed with him on a 12-year, $315 million deal on Dec. 21. When it came down to signing the contract, Mets owner Steve Cohen reportedly guaranteed just the first six years and $157.5 million and made the rest of the deal conditional on Correa's health. Some reports have speculated that any team would have had a difficult time fully insuring a contract with Correa that lasted 12 years, and that's the true source of hesitation.

Eight days before the Mets agreement went public, the Giants and Correa agreed on a 13-year deal for $350 million. A news conference was even scheduled, but the entirety fell apart because the Giants — who already had used Correa's likeness to sell tickets in online advertisements — felt similar misgivings about Correa's leg holding up in the long run.

The drama might not be over for the Mets if agent Scott Boras files a grievance on Correa's behalf with MLB over comments made by Cohen, who told the New York Post that adding Correa put the Mets "over the top” before going back on his verbal agreement. Meanwhile, rather than putting Correa at third base with Francisco Lindor at shortstop, the Mets can use Eduardo Escobar at the hot corner with top 50-75 overall prospect Brett Baty in the wings. They'll be OK.

The Twins lineup looks a little fuller with Correa hitting after leadoff man Luis Arráez and with newcomers Joey Gallo and Christian Vázquez near the bottom with Nick Gordon.

FREE AGENCY: Johnny Cueto to Miami Marlins

The Marlins added to their already bountiful starting rotation by reportedly agreeing to terms with Cueto on a one-year, $8.5 million contract with a club option for 2024 at $10.5 million.

Cueto, who turns 37 in February, had one of his better seasons in 2022, posting a 3.35 ERA with 102 strikeouts, 33 walks and 15 home runs allowed in 158 2/3 innings over 24 starts for the White Sox. His 15.7 strikeout percentage was the lowest of his career, but so was his walk rate of 5.1%.

The right-hander’s effectiveness has always stemmed from generating softer contact. In 2022, he was in the top-31st percentile in average exit velocity and in the top-26th percentile in chase rate. He'll frequently vary his delivery, to the point of using hesitation pitches, in a never-ending (and amusing) quest to keep hitters off balance.

The Marlins rotation is led by right-hander Sandy Alcantara, the NL Cy Young winner, and includes Pablo Lopez, left-handers Jesús Luzardo and Trevor Rogers and Edward Cabrera. They also have Braxton Garrett as an option, and Max Meyer and Sixto Sánchez are recovering from injuries. All are younger than 28.

There has been talk of Miami trading its starting depth all offseason. General manager Kim Ng has added Jean Segura in free agency (to play third base, as of now), reliever J.T. Chargois in a trade and infielder Garrett Hampson (formerly of the Rockies) as a non-roster invitee for more depth.

The Fish could use a big offensive improvement this season, but at the moment, most of it will have to come from within. It could happen if All-Star Jazz Chisholm has better luck with his health, along with Avisaíl García, Jorge Soler and Garrett Cooper.

Monday, Jan. 9

USATSI_18880662

Aug 14, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) bats during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Brandon Belt to Toronto Blue Jays

The Bay Area Brandons have broken up. The Blue Jays reportedly agreed to a one-year deal for $9.3 million with Belt, a move that leaves shortstop Brandon Crawford as the only remaining member of the Giants' recent championship era.

Belt, who turns 35 in April, batted .213/.326/.350 with eight home runs in 78 games in 2022 amid injuries, notably chronic knee pain that required season-ending surgery in August. It was similar to his 2015 surgery. Belt, who reportedly passed his physical, has had a number of seasons cut short due to injuries, but he did slug .595 in 560 plate appearances combined during 2020 and 2021.

for ballparks and league norms, he's been about 25% better than a league-average hitter, and he ranks eighth in WAR at FanGraphs among all first basemen since he came to the majors in 2011. No doubt, playing home games next to McCovey Cove has put a crimp in his offensive totals, particularly home runs. With the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, Belt will play home games at a much friendlier environment for hitters.

While his numbers on defense have slipped in recent seasons, Belt has been one of the higher-ranking defensive players throughout his career, per Fielding Bible. He is one of the more underrated players of his era.

J.D. Davis and LaMonte Wade probably will get most of San Francisco's at-bats at first base. The Giants also have added outfielders Michael Conforto and Mitch Haniger in free agency.

Toronto has been active this offseason, also adding outfielders Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier to the lineup, right-hander Chris Bassitt to the rotation and Erik Swanson to the bullpen. Heading out are outfielders Teoscar Hernández and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno and right-hander Ross Stripling (who signed with the Giants).

FREE AGENCY: Brett Phillips to Los Angeles Angels

The Angels added one of the major leagues’ best defensive players in Phillips, who agreed to a one-year, $1.2 million contract. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Austin Warren was designated for assignment.

Phillips, who turns 29 in May, hasn't logged enough innings to win a Gold Glove, but he still is regarded widely for his defense. Only 10 others have more total runs saved in the outfield, per Fielding Bible, since Phillips debuted with the Brewers in 2017.

While not a good hitter compared to most of his peers, Phillips did deliver one of the biggest hits in World Series history in 2020. Coming off the bench first as a pinch runner and defensive replacement, he later lined an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4 to key the Rays’ comeback victory against Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers.

For his career, Phillips is a .188/.273/.348 hitter with 28 home runs, 36 stolen bases and 87 walks in 900 career plate appearances with four teams since 2017. He went 2-for-17 (two doubles) in eight games with the Orioles in 2022. He's also made four career appearances — some would call them amusing because of his attitude and oddball delivery — as a relief pitcher in mop-up situations. He has a reputation for being an earnestly endearing clubhouse presence, too.

FREE AGENCY: Luke Jackson to San Francisco Giants

The right-hander had his best individual season in 2021, when he helped the Braves win the World Series as a key part of one of the top bullpens in the major leagues. Now recovering from Tommy John surgery, Jackson is on the verge of pitching again with a new team.

Jackson and the Giants reportedly agreed to a two-year, $11.5 million contract that includes an option/buyout for 2025.

Jackson, who had surgery last April, is expected to return to the active roster sometime after opening day. He's the second bigger bullpen piece added by the Giants this offseason after left-hander Taylor Rogers. Jackson and Rogers join right-hander Tyler Rogers (Taylor's twin brother) and Camilo Doval at the back end of San Francisco's bullpen. John Brebbia, Scott Alexander, Jakob Junis, Sam Long and Anthony DeSclafani (maybe) provide depth.

Jackson, who turned 31 in August, posted a 1.98 ERA with 70 strikeouts, 29 walks and six home runs allowed in 63 2/3 innings during the 2021 season. He allowed a .198/.292/.317 batting line, striking out 26.8% and walking 11.1%. He also pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in the World Series, rebounding from a nightmarish loss in Game 3 of the NLCS. Jackson developed his injury the following spring without making an appearance in the Grapefruit League.

Saturday, Jan. 7

USATSI_18867264

Aug 13, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox left fielder AJ Pollock (18) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Detroit Tigers during the eight inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: A.J. Pollock to Seattle Mariners

The Mariners continued to tweak their lineup, reportedly agreeing with Pollock on a one-year, $7 million contract. The 35-year-old bought out his own contract option with the White Sox for $5 million in November, making himself a free agent. He otherwise would have earned $13 million in 2023, meaning he took a pay cut of $1 million to leave Chicago. It might have been worth it just to start fresh elsewhere.

In 2022, Pollock hit .245/.292/.389 with 14 home runs in 527 plate appearances with the White Sox, easily the worst offensive production of his career in 11 seasons in the majors. He did hit left-handed pitching well (.286/.316/.619) like he typically does, and the Mariners figure to play him against lefties in a platoon.

Pollock is solid against right-handers for his career (.273/.330/.442), but a slump that began the season and lasted into August skewed his results. He came around in his final 50 games: .266/.309/.458 — not too far from his career norms — and his defense in left field (probably where he'll play in Seattle) was solid. Pollock was plus-4 in total runs saved per Fielding Bible. The M's also have young Jarred Kelenic in left field, with star Julio Rodriguez in locked into center.

Seattle made the playoffs last season but finished 18th in runs scored. GM Jerry Dipoto continued to make changes on that side. Earlier in the offseason, the Mariners traded reliever Erik Swanson to the Blue Jays for outfielder Teoscar Hernández, who'll replace Mitch Haniger in right field. Kolten Wong, who came over from the Brewers for Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro, is set to play second base. Cooper Hummel, a switch-hitter acquired from the Diamondbacks in a trade for Kyle Lewis, can play the outfield, catcher or DH.

The Mariners figure to make one more addition to the offense, but who and where might depend on how confident they are in Kelenic during spring training.

TRADE: Gregory Soto to Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies reportedly added significant left-handed heft to their bullpen in a trade with the Tigers, acquiring Soto — a two-time All-Star and one of the hardest throwers in the majors — in exchange for infielder Nick Maton, outfielder Matt Vierling and catcher Donny Sands. Also heading to Philadelphia is infielder Kody Clemens, the son of MLB great Roger Clemens who reached the big leagues for the first time in 2022.

Soto, who turns 28 in February, has a 3.24 ERA with 136 strikeouts and just nine home runs allowed in 124 innings over the past two seasons. His average fastball (two-seam and four-seam) clocks at 98.4 mph. Only his new Phillies teammate, José Alvarado, throws harder among all lefties in MLB.

Soto’s sinker is his most effective pitch, and he also throws a slider. His overall command can be a weakness. His career walk rate is about 4.5% worse than league average, but it’s also something he improved in 2022.

Adding quality depth to a Philly bullpen that had to extend itself into November is a necessary move by club president Dave Dombrowski. Soto is not a free agent until 2026.

The Tigers, who lost 96 games last season, need help in more places than the Phillies, who are trying to get back to the World Series. Maton and Vierling helped Philly as bench and part-time players in 2022, and both should improve Detroit's starting lineup this season.

Maton, who turns 26 in February, came up as a shortstop and appears to have the arm for it, but his range is better at second base. He's also experienced in the outfield and at third base, which is where the Tigers could play him most of the time. Over parts of two seasons in the majors, Maton hit .254/.330/.434 with seven home runs in 216 plate appearances — improved production relative to his minor-league results.

Vierling, 26, ranked as a better prospect than Maton entering last season, and the Tigers are probably rolling the dice that he'll be the prize of the trade. While right field is probably his best spot, Vierling can play multiple positions (first base, second base, third base) and has base-stealing speed. As with other players who spent significant time in the minors during the disruptive COVID-19 pandemic, his future is a little harder to project. He could be an impact outfielder, but even if he's not, he'll likely be an effective fourth outfielder. Teams need those, too.

Sands, who turns 27 in May, is a .274/.343/.390 hitter in 1,706 minor-league plate appearances. Described as a "bat-first backup catcher" by one analyst, Sands was perhaps the 25th to 30th best prospect in the Phillies organization heading into 2022. At minimum, he's the kind of player all teams need to shuttle between Triple A and the majors on occasion.

Clemens has hit .252/.321/.450 with 48 home runs in about 1,431 minor-league plate appearances, and he reached the Tigers for 57 games in 2022, batting .145/.197/.308. He also mopped up seven times as a pitcher, finishing six games that presumably were blowouts. He allowed three runs and 12 hits over seven innings, striking out one. He’ not like his dad in that way.

Friday, Jan. 6

USATSI_16353263

Jul 1, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (R) talks with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (L) in the dugout against the Washington Nationals in the third inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

ROSTER MOVE: Los Angeles Dodgers release Trevor Bauer

The Dodgers designated Bauer for assignment, saying in a statement that "after careful consideration" the pitcher will no longer be part of their organization after completing a suspension for violating MLB's joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.

Friday was the deadline for the Dodgers to reinstate the right-hander to their 40-man roster after an independent arbitrator in December reinstated Bauer, who had his suspension reduced to 194 games from the original 324 games — the longest in MLB history for any active player for sexual assault or domestic violence.

Bauer, who hasn't pitched since the 2021 season, is due $22.5 million in 2023 from the Dodgers. Once the DFA process concludes in seven days and Bauer presumably clears waivers, any team can sign him for at least $720,000 (the league minimum), and he would immediately be eligible to play. The process includes the possibility of the Dodgers trading Bauer, but that seems unlikely to happen. Also, it’s a long shot to expect any MLB team to bring in Bauer anytime soon.

Bauer, who turns 32 on Jan. 17, came up with Arizona and Cleveland, and he won the NL Cy Young Award with the Reds in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season before signing a three-year, $102 million contract with the Dodgers before the 2021 season. He posted a 2.59 ERA in 17 starts before he was suspended for sexual abuse of a woman in San Diego.

A police investigation did not lead to charges after prosecutors said they were unable to prove the woman’s accusations beyond a reasonable doubt. Even in ending Bauer's suspension, the arbitrator in December said Bauer had violated MLB's policy.

FREE AGENCY: Brent Honeywell and Adam Engel to San Diego Padres

The Padres added two major-leaguers to max out their 40-man roster, agreeing to terms with Honeywell and Engel on one-year contracts for each.

The right-handed Honeywell, a significant prospect for several years with the Rays organization, has only pitched 4 1/3 innings in the majors because of rotten luck with injuries, notably Tommy John surgery. Recovery from that, plus the pandemic shutting down the minor leagues in 2020, kept him off the field for three years.

In 2021, seven years after he was drafted, Honeywell reached the majors for the first time, pitching in three games for Tampa Bay. Honeywell got mediocre results in the Athletics organization amid more injuries in 2022. This offseason in the Dominican Winter League, he has allowed three earned runs with six walks and 17 strikeouts in 28 innings for Leones del Escogido. It was enough for the Padres to commit a 40-man spot.

Engel, 31, developed into a helpful part-time outfielder with the White Sox before cratering at the plate in 2022. In 2020 and 2021, he batted a combined .270/.335/.488 with 10 home runs, 14 doubles and 14 walks in 233 plate appearances. He was particularly effective against right-handed pitching (even as a righty batter).

In 2022, Engel batted .224/.269/.310 with a 29.2 strikeout percentage amid injuries, though he always has spent a lot of time on the IL. Defensively, he is plus-21 in total runs saved in his career, ranking 22nd among all outfielders at Fielding Bible who have logged at least 3,000 innings since 2017.

Thursday, Jan. 5

ROSTER MOVE: Cincinnati Reds release Mike Moustakas

When the Reds signed Moustakas about two years ago, he was the most expensive free agent in the history of the franchise. The veteran of 12 MLB seasons will remain costly for Cincinnati in 2023, but he's no longer on their roster after the club released Moustakas.

Moustakas — whose contract still guarantees him $22 million combined for this season and a buyout for 2024 — can sign with any team. Wherever he goes within MLB, it likely will be for the league-minimum salary, which is the amount former Royals teammate Eric Hosmer received after being released by the Red Sox and signing with the Cubs.

Moustakas and Hosmer were heroes at the corners on Kansas City's World Series teams in 2014 and 2015. Now, they're just trying to keep their careers going.

Moustakas, who turned 34 in September, batted .212/.289/.356 with 13 home runs in 140 games over the past two seasons, which were marred by recurring injuries to his legs. C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic noted that Moustakas earned -1.8 WAR per Baseball-Reference after signing his $64 million contract, a return that probably won't encourage Reds ownership to spend freely going forward.

In his prime from 2015 to 2020, Moustakas batted .262/.326/.490 in 2,707 plate appearances, averaging 34 home runs per 162 games. He made the All-Star Game three times, including once with the Brewers. His offensive output was 13% above league average, and he was a net positive on defense.

It makes sense for Cincinnati to want to play Spencer Steer at third base and to use Jake Fraley at DH, but the Reds don’t have much depth behind them. They’re gambling that Moustakas won’t bounce back. If healthy (Moustakas missed the final six weeks of the 2022 season because of a calf injury), he could have helped them at least as depth. They already were going to be paying him.

Wednesday, Jan. 4

USATSI_18322431

May 21, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (11) watches the ball after hitting a two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

EXTENSION: Rafael Devers gets $331 million from Boston Red Sox

Boston didn't let Devers get away like it did with Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.

The Red Sox and the two-time All-Star reportedly agreed to an 11-year, $331 million contract that becomes officially the sixth largest in MLB history by total value once Devers passes his physical. He also projects to be the richest third baseman in league history. The average annual value of his deal ranks 29th overall among all players.

The extension news came a day after Devers and the Red Sox avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $17.5 million contract for 2023 that gave fans hope that a longer agreement would be forthcoming. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the extension voids the one-year deal signed Tuesday and runs through 2033. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported Devers did not receive a no-trade clause, a concession that bears watching in the coming years. Heyman and others also noted that the deal includes a $20 million signing bonus.

Devers, 26, has developed into one of the top sluggers, hitting a combined .283/.342/.512 with 139 home runs, 187 doubles and 229 walks in his first 2,958 career plate appearances since debuting in 2017. He had been on a course to hit free agency after the upcoming season, a scenario that concerned many fans that he would leave Boston like Betts and Bogaerts.

Both Betts and Bogaerts could not agree on long-term contracts with the Red Sox. After the 2019 season, Betts was traded to the Dodgers for a disappointing return of talent. This offseason, Bogaerts hit free agency, netting the Red Sox only a compensation draft pick this June after he signed with the Padres. Letting Devers leave at any price, much less for a return that was perceived as minimal, would have been another PR and roster disaster. Instead, he's a franchise cornerstone — at least for now.

Club president Chaim Bloom has had a busy offseason, adding several free agents such as outfielder Masataka Yoshida from Japan, slugger Justin Turner and right-hander Corey Kluber, along with three relief pitchers — Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin and Joely Rodríguez. Bogaerts, Rich Hill, J.D. Martinez, Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Strahm have left Boston, and Michael Wacha also could find a new team.

The Red Sox won 78 games last season after winning 92 and making the playoffs in 2021. Are all of these moves enough to put Boston back in contention in the AL East? Perhaps not, but locking up Devers at least gives some temporary comfort about where the franchise is headed.

FREE AGENCY: Wade Miley to Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers and the left-handed Miley reportedly agreed on a one-year, $4.5 million contract that could be worth up to $6 million with incentives. Few pitchers throw softer, but Miley is a survivor, setting up tons of soft contact with a cutter and changeup which, when right, don't allow batters to barrel him up easily. Miley posted a 3.16 ERA with the Cubs in 2022, but he made just eight starts because of injuries to his elbow and shoulder.

Miley, who turned 36 in November, has pitched for eight franchises. He made the All-Star team in his first full season in the majors and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting with the Diamondbacks in 2012. He pitched about as well over the next three seasons, even if his results weren't as strong, before slumping in 2016-17.

Since the 2018 season, Miley has compiled a 3.50 ERA with 355 strikeouts, 161 walks and 47 home runs allowed in 462 1/3 innings. He's been about as valuable as Jameson Taillon, Corey Kluber or Tyler Anderson, ranking 47th of 83 in runs allowed per nine innings-WAR among pitchers who've thrown a similar amount of innings in that span.

It's Miley's second turn with the Brewers. With Milwaukee in 2018, he had one of his best seasons despite a groin tear in spring training, and an oblique injury not long after that cost him most of the first half of the season. Healthy at the end, he was a key part of the Brewers' run to Game 7 of the NLCS.

This season, Miley figures to slow into the starting rotation among Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, left-hander Eric Lauer and Freddy Peralta. There has been talk of the Brewers doing a reshuffle by trading some of their starting pitching, but they've also committed to not doing so before the season starts. 

Milwaukee also has promising left-hander Aaron Ashby and Adrian Houser in its bullpen. Right-hander Janson Junk, who has been traded for Andrew Heaney and Hunter Renfroe in separate deals over the past two seasons, provides starting depth as well. Soon to be 27 years old, Junk showed potential in limited MLB appearances with the Angels before coming over for Renfroe in November.

Miley wasn't the only pitcher the Brewers added. Milwaukee also traded cash considerations to the Pirates for right-hander Bryse Wilson, who posted a 5.52 ERA in 115 2/3 innings and has made 43 career starts for Pittsburgh and Atlanta. His sinker has been effective, but finding a second and third option has been holding him back.

FREE AGENCY: Eric Hosmer to Chicago Cubs

The Cubs reportedly agreed to a one-year contract for $700,000, the MLB minimum, with the free-agent first baseman. Hosmer finished the 2022 season with the Red Sox after being traded in August by the Padres, who are paying him a total of $39 million for the next three seasons. That's (one reason) why the Cubs got him for the price they did.

Hosmer, 33, batted .268/.334/.382 with eight home runs, 19 doubles and 37 walks last season, and he was a league-average hitter after signing a big contract with the Padres before the 2018 season. The quality of his defense, which ranked well at Fielding Bible during Hosmer's prime with the Royals when he was a four-time Gold Glover, has fallen in three of the past four seasons.

The Cubs talked about having a big offseason, and they've made several positive moves, like adding shortstop Dansby Swanson, right-hander Jameson Taillon and reliever Brad Boxberger. And now they have Hosmer.

They also brought back left-hander Drew Smyly along with gambling on outfielder Cody Bellinger and adding defense-first catcher Tucker Barnhart (whose defense fell off in 2022). They talked about pursuing José Abreu, but he joined the Astros. Trey Mancini was available in free agency, but the addition of Hosmer could make it more likely that prospect Matt Mervis makes the club out of spring training as a DH.

The offseason isn't over yet, but what the Cubs have now doesn't seem to add up to a big improvement in the win-loss record.

FREE AGENCY: Zach Davies returns to Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks brought back one of their own free agents, reportedly agreeing to terms with Davies on a one-year, $5 million contract that includes incentives worth up to $3 million.

Davies, who turns 30 in February, posted a 4.09 ERA with 102 strikeouts, 52 walks and 21 home runs allowed in 134 1/3 innings over 27 starts with the D-backs in 2022. The right-hander’s adjusted ERA was about 2% below league average, and he ranked 112th of 124 in WAR at FanGraphs among starters who logged at least 100 innings. For his career, Davies rates higher: Among those with at least 500 innings since his first full season in 2016, he ranks 81st in WAR among 123 pitchers — about as good as Tyler Mahle, Michael Wacha and Jake Arrieta.

Aside from the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with the Padres when he posted a 2.73 ERA in 12 starts, Davies had his best seasonal performances with the Brewers, when his adjusted ERA was 10% better than league average. Over the past two seasons, when he threw mostly sinkers and changeups, he has been plagued by command issues (10.3% walk rate combined, a jump from 6.9% from 2015-2020).

Perhaps related is that his fastball doesn't spin at the same rate it used to. He's still able to generate soft contact better than two-thirds of the league. Can he be successful by bringing back his curveball and cutter? Or can he re-adapt without them? He managed to do it in 2020.

Davies fits into an Arizona rotation which includes Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, left-hander Madison Bumgarner and Ryne Nelson.

Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen has been busy this offseason, making a risky trade by moving young slugger Daulton Varsho to the Blue Jays for top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel. He also traded slugger Cooper Hummel (like Varsho, a catcher/outfielder hybrid) to the Mariners for outfielder Kyle Lewis (the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year). And he brought in Evan Longoria to play third base (or DH).

The D-backs won 22 more games in 2022 than they did in 2021, when they went 52-110.

TRADE: Erich Uelmen to Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies finalized their contract with Craig Kimbrel, who agreed in December to a one-year, $10 million deal to join their bullpen. Earlier in the day, they announced a trade with the Cubs, acquiring Uelmen, another right-hander, in exchange for cash considerations. Both moves had consequences for the makeup of Philly's 40-man roster.

To make room for Kimbrel, the Phillies designated for assignment right-hander Francisco Morales, so they have seven days to trade him or place him on irrevocable waivers. On the strength of a strong season at Class AA, Morales posted a 4.76 ERA with 70 strikeouts, 45 walks and just one home run allowed in 51 innings at two minor-league stops in 2022. He even got a taste of The Show with the Phillies, though he struggled with his command in three appearances over two stints.

Morales, who turned 23 in October, is a curious choice to DFA, given his status as the club's No. 11 prospect — along with the résumés of others at the back end of Philly's 40-man squad. It likely means the Phillies have a trade lined up, possibly for a player (or players) they can stash in the minors away from MLB roster restrictions.

Uelmen, who turns 27 in May, saw action with the Cubs in 2022, posting a 4.67 ERA with 21 strikeouts, 12 walks and a save in 27 innings. He throws 94-mph fastballs that lack elite spin. Sometimes they were two-seamers; sometimes they were four-seamers (which were more effective). He also throws a slider that was effective in making softer contact. The Phillies made room for Uelman by designating right-hander Vinny Nittoli for assignment.

The Cubs likely moved Uelman to make room on their 40-man roster for free-agent slugger Eric Hosmer.

Tuesday, Jan. 3

USATSI_18196168

May 3, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (2) reacts after hitting a two run double against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Dominic Smith to Washington Nationals

The Nationals hope Smith will rebound in 2023 after agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2 million with incentives for $2 million more.

Smith, who turns 28 in June, batted a career-worst .194/.276/.284 with zero home runs in 152 plate appearances for the Mets in 2022. He struggled at the start of the season before rolling his ankle in July. The Mets looked for other left-handed options thereafter.

Smith's adjusted stats for his career (.246/.308/.424) work out to league average, but from 2019 to 2020, he batted .299/.366/.571 with 21 home runs in 396 plate appearances. Drafted 11th overall by the Mets in 2013, Smith was a top-100 prospect as recently as 2017. They probably should have traded Smith when they had the chance, given the concurrent emergence of Pete Alonso and (mostly) a lack of a DH in the NL.

Smith's acquisition is similar to that of Jeimer Candelario, whom the Nationals signed in November to play third base. If both can bounce back to recent levels at the plate, the Nats will be improved on the corners. Smith's addition likely means Joey Meneses can DH full time after his breakout rookie season at age 30.

EXTENSION: Rafael Devers, Red Sox avoid arbitration

The Red Sox have developed several great hitters in the recent past, but they also chose to let Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts sign their big contracts elsewhere. Many fans fear that Devers will be the next great young player to go. Those who are worried got some possibly good news when the team and the third baseman reportedly agreed to a one-year, $17.5 million contract and avoided arbitration.

It’s good news for Devers/Red Sox fans that the two sides were agreeable enough to negotiate a resolution for the upcoming season while avoiding a potentially contentious hearing that could push the player away. It also means negotiations for a long-term deal in Boston remain possible. Devers, 26, hit .295/.358/.521 with 27 home runs, 42 doubles and 50 walks in 141 games. The two-time All-Star as a hitter is 23% better than league average via FanGraphs since 2017, and he ranks ninth in WAR among third basemen in that span — about as valuable as Kris Bryant and Eugenio Suárez.

Betts' relationship with the Red Sox ended after the 2019 season with what's been a disappointing trade for Boston, which acquired Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong from the Dodgers. Verdugo has been a little better than average in the outfield. The Red Sox lost Downs on waivers to the Nationals this offseason. Wong hasn't helped the Red Sox at the major-league level yet. Betts signed a 12-year, $365 million extension with the Dodgers and won the World Series with them in 2020. The Red Sox let Bogaerts become a free agent this offseason, and he signed an 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres.

TRADE: Ryan O’Hearn to Baltimore Orioles

The Royals parted with O'Hearn after parts of five season in the majors, trading the slugger to the Orioles for cash considerations.

O'Hearn, 29, heads to training camp in Sarasota, Fla., as a possibility to make the O's as a reserve first baseman/outfielder, and he could compete with Kyle Stowers at DH. The Royals tendered O'Hearn earlier in the offseason but bumped him off the 40-man roster in late December when they signed free-agent right-hander Jordan Lyles to a multiyear contract.

For his career, O’Hearn is a .219/.293/.390 hitter with 38 home runs, 40 doubles and 98 walks in 1,071 plate appearances since debuting in 2018. Using wRC+, FanGraphs ranks him as about 18% below league average as a hitter. His left-handed bat has shown promise from time to time, notably as a rookie when he batted .262/.353/.597 with 12 homers in 44 games. Over the past two seasons, O’Hearn’s walk rate has dropped about 8% and his isolated power has dipped more than 50%.

The Royals have Vinnie Pasquantino primed to play first base and MJ Melendez slotted at DH.

Friday, Dec. 30

USATSI_19148740

Sep 30, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan Longoria (10) hits a three-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Evan Longoria to Arizona Diamondbacks

Longoria is heading to his third MLB team after reportedly agreeing to a one-year, $4 million deal with Arizona. Longoria, who turned 37 in October, could earn up to $1 million in bonuses.

A multiple All-Star and Gold Glove winner earlier in his career with the Rays, Longoria batted .252/.333/.466 with 27 home runs, 30 doubles and 62 walks in 170 games with the Giants over the past two seasons. Among third basemen who totaled at least 550 plate appearances since the start of 2021, Longoria ranked 13th out of 42 with 118 wRC+ at FanGraphs.

Injuries prevented him from doing more. In 2022, Longoria missed time because of hamstring trouble in both legs, a left oblique strain, right-shoulder soreness and recovery time from surgery last March to repair ligament damage in his right index finger. One of the better defensive players of his generation, Longoria had his ratings slip at Fielding Bible this past season, and he might be ticketed for a lot of DH in 2023. The D-backs also have Josh Rojas to play third.

The JAWS' Hall of Fame meter ranks Longoria as the 18th-best third baseman in history, though Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado appear poised to overtake him soon. Longoria was one of the top defensive players at any position to start his career, and only three third basemen have more total runs saved at Fielding Bible (Arenado, Machado and Adrian Beltre) since he debuted in 2008.

It had been said Longoria wanted to join a winning team, and the Diamondbacks appear to be on the upswing in the long run. However, they won 74 games last season and face an uphill climb with the Dodgers and Padres (and the Giants) significantly ahead in the NL West.

Arizona has made two other significant moves this offseason, trading outfielder Daulton Varsho to the Blue Jays for top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel and acquiring outfielder Kyle Lewis from the Mariners (with Cooper Hummel heading to Seattle).

RETIREMENT: Steve Cishek

The side-arming right-hander announced his retirement after 13 MLB seasons. From 2010 to 2022, only two pitchers (Bryan Shaw and Kenley Jansen) appeared in more games than Cishek, and among the 26 pitchers who also logged at least 500 innings during that span, just eight earned more WAR at FanGraphs. Also, only nine pitchers had more saves than Cishek, who earned at least $43 million with eight teams starting with the Marlins and finishing with the Nationals.

Cishek, 36, posted a 2.98 ERA, 743 strikeouts, 288 walks, 54 home runs and 133 saves in 710 2/3 innings for his career. His adjusted ERA was 37% better than league average. His fastball, while just 90 mph, was still in the 73rd percentile for most spin. In two of his final three seasons, Cishek's effectiveness waned when compared to the rest of his career.

"It's time," Cishek said to Rich Maclone of The Bourne Enterprise. "It's gotten harder for me to bounce back game-to-game. The ball wasn't coming out as crisp as before, and it felt like I had to pitch differently. I know I'll get the bug and want to get back out there, but I don’t think I'm pulling a Tom Brady."

Cishek appeared in the postseason once, for the Cubs in the 2018 NL wild-card game. He threw two pitches, getting DJ LeMahieu to hit into a double play.

Wednesday, Dec. 28

USATSI_19055835 (1)

Sep 16, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Jordan Lyles (28) reacts after giving up a single to Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Jordan Lyles to Kansas City Royals

The Royals made official the signing of the right-hander to a two-year, $17 million contract, which includes a total of $1 million in performance bonuses.

The Royals, who also added left-hander Ryan Yarbrough in free agency, plan to have Brady Singer, Brad Keller and Daniel Lynch in their starting rotation. It's not a group that's likely to help them contend for the AL Central title, but it should be better than what they got in 2022.

A season ago, only the Orioles' rotation performed worse collectively, so it might seem a little strange to raid Baltimore's pitching staff to improve your own, but that's what Kansas City has done. Perhaps a new coaching staff on the pitching side can help Lyles double-down on his recent improvement.

At age 32 with his seventh organization in 12 years, Lyles had one of his best individual seasons in 2022, logging a 4.42 ERA with 144 strikeouts, 52 walks and 26 home runs allowed in 179 innings over 32 starts. He ranked 85th in WAR at FanGraphs of 124 starting pitchers who logged at least 100 innings in 2022. He was about as effective as Nick Pivetta, Carlos Carrasco or Corey Kluber.

Lyles brings durability. He's made 90 total starts over the past three full seasons (excluding the shortened 2020 pandemic year). He's generally capable of lasting at least five innings; he did so 25 times in 2022. He won't lose a lot of games by himself; Lyles allowed three earned runs or fewer in 20 starts and allowed more than four just five times. He was dominant or nearly dominant in 17 starts when he allowed two runs or fewer.

Lyles throws a 92-mph four-seam fastball a plurality of the time, allowing a .540 slugging percentage against it in '22. He throws a sinker too, about 45% less of the time and is less vulnerable against it. His slider and curve were more effective; his slugging percentage allowed was below .400 on both. His changeup lost effectiveness last season, but it hasn't been a strong pitch for him in several years.

FREE AGENCY: Corey Kluber to Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox and the right-hander reportedly agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract. A two-time Cy Young Award winner who threw a no-hitter in 2021 with the Yankees, Kluber posted a 4.34 ERA with 139 strikeouts over 164 innings in 31 starts for the Rays in 2022. Since the 2019 season, Kluber's role has been more of a fourth starter.

For his career, Kluber has a 3.31 ERA with a 26.2 K% and 5.4 BB% — all well above average — in 12 major-league seasons since breaking in with Cleveland in 2011. Only Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander have added significantly more value over the course of their careers since Kluber came into the league.

With left-hander Chris Sale sidelined for all but two starts and left-hander James Paxton out due to Tommy John surgery, the Red Sox had a middle-of-the-road starting rotation in 2022. Only right-hander Nick Pivetta, who made 33 starts, stands to be a big part of the rotation again in 2023.

Pivetta and Kluber are the only members who made a significant amount of starts with a major-league club last season. Garrett Whitlock or Brayan Bello stand to be one of the other starters. Sale has been the subject of trade talk, and if the Red Sox fail to contend for the playoffs again, count on it to heat up.

TRADE: Lucas Luetge to Atlanta Braves

The Braves took advantage of the Yankees' 40-man roster crunch by taking left-hander Luetge off their hands in a swap for two minor leaguers — infielder Caleb Durbin and right-hander Indigo Diaz. Right-hander Tommy Kahnle, a recent free-agent signee, had taken Luetge's roster spot in New York.

Luetge was a strong presence in the Yankees bullpen the past two seasons after not playing in the majors from 2016 to 2020 because of injuries and ineffectiveness, He joins A.J. Minter as a top left-hander in Atlanta's bullpen. Dylan Lee, who was effective in 2022 from the left side, now projects as depth. Postseason hero Tyler Matzek is recovering from Tommy John surgery in October. On the healthy side, the Braves also have right-handers Raisel Iglesias, Joe Jiménez, Collin McHugh, Kirby Yates, Nick Anderson, Jesse Chavez, Dennis Santana and more in the pen.

Luetge, who turns 36 in March, has a 2.71 ERA with 138 strikeouts, 32 walks and 10 home runs allowed in 129 2/3 innings over the past two seasons. He's been one of the 15 to 30 best relievers in MLB in that span, thanks to one of the top-spinning cut fastballs in the league, an effective slider and an impossible curveball, all of which yield tons of soft contact. The Braves are his eighth franchise since being drafted by the Brewers in 2008 at age 21.

FREE AGENCY: Jean Segura to Miami Marlins

The Marlins ended their quiet offseason by reportedly signing the free-agent infielder for two years and $17 million.

Segura, who turns 33 in March, batted .277/.336/.387 with 10 home runs and 13 stolen bases for Philadelphia in 2022. He's a .285/.330/.408 hitter for his career since 2012, and since 2016, he's about 8% better than the average MLB hitter. He was a leader and important complementary player for the Phillies during their run to the World Series.

It's not obvious where Miami plans to play Segura, who has been mostly a second baseman over the past three seasons before coming up as a shortstop. He also has logged 179 2/3 career innings at third base. The Marlins have Jazz Chisholm at second, and while he's a franchise centerpiece, he's also coming off a serious injury.

Joey Wendle and Miguel Rojas are the shortstops, though Segura probably doesn't have the range to play there every day anyway. Third base is open, with Brian Anderson in free agency and youngster Jordan Groshans not yet established. They also have invited Garrett Hampson, formerly of the Rockies, to spring training.

Miami’s other notable move this offseason was a trade for right-hander J.T. Chargois, who adds to its bullpen depth, possibly as a closer.

Tuesday, Dec. 27

USATSI_19136258

Sep 23, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy (12) during the fifth inning against the New York Mets at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Atlanta Braves extend Sean Murphy

The Braves announced a contract extension that locks up the newly acquired catcher's services until at least 2029. The six-year, $73 million deal covers three seasons of arbitration plus three more of free agency, and it includes a club option for a seventh year. For comparison, Willson Contreras recently signed a five-year, $87 million contract with the Cardinals as a free agent.

Murphy, 28, batted .250/.332/.426 with 18 home runs, 37 doubles and 56 walks in 2022 for the Athletics, who traded him to Atlanta this offseason for prospects. He's also one of the better pitch framers in the league, per MLB Statcast and Fielding Bible. Murphy's contract is the most recent in a series of extensions that expands the Braves' contractual control of their core players. The list also includes, per ESPN's Jeff Passan:

  • 3B Austin Riley — 2033
  • OF Michael Harris II — 2032
  • 1B Matt Olson — 2030
  • SP Spencer Strider — 2029
  • OF Ronald Acuña Jr. — 2028
  • SS Vaughn Grissom — 2028
  • 2B Ozzie Albies — 2027
  • SP Kyle Wright — 2026
  • SP Max Fried — 2024

Most of the deals, by media analysis, have been considered friendlier to the team than the individual — particularly the Albies and Acuña contracts. In Murphy's case (when compared to Contreras), he does seem to be giving Atlanta a price break in the present. But he also got his big deal earlier in his career than Contreras, who is 30.

Murphy wouldn't have hit free agency until he turned 32. Playing a position that typically takes a beating, he could be smart to hedge a percentage of his future earnings in exchange for security now. Certainly that's how the Braves framed it during negotiations, but it's definitely a great deal for them regardless.

FREE AGENCY: Rich Hill to Pittsburgh Pirates

Only 56 individuals in MLB history have pitched at least one game after turning 43 years old. Hill aims to be the next when the 2023 season begins, according to Baseball-Reference.

The left-hander and the Pirates reportedly agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract. Pittsburgh would be Hill's 12th franchise in 19 seasons. He owns a 3.85 ERA with 1,294 strikeouts in 350 appearances (covering 221 starts) and 1,259 innings since 2005 when he debuted with the Cubs.

When will he get over the "hill?" It didn't happen this past season when Hill posted a 4.27 ERA to go with 109 strikeouts, 37 walks and 15 home runs allowed in 26 starts with the Red Sox. He put up about as much value as Lance Lynn, Robbie Ray and 10 other pitchers via FanGraphs.

Hill's strikeout percentage did drop 2% and was about 4% below his career average, but it was still above league average. While his curveball spin also has been dropping, he was still in the 74th percentile in MLB, per Statcast. His fastball spin percentile is dropping as well, about 40% since 2017. The end of his career will come, just not yet.

Though Hill's one of the older players in MLB history, one reason he's still pitching into his early 40s is because of the time he missed due to two different elbow surgeries — Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in 2011, along with a different procedure in 2019 that implanted an internal brace in the joint. Hill pitched only 104 2/3 innings from 2010 to 2015, so he doesn't have the wear and tear on the rest of his body.

Hill joins right-hander Vince Velásquez, whom the Pirates signed in free agency a few weeks ago, and they are expected to slot next to right-handers Mitch Keller, JT Brubaker and Roansy Contreras in Pittsburgh's rotation. The Bucs also have added reliever Jarlín García to go with first baseman/DH Carlos Santana and catcher Austin Hedges in free agency. Ji-Man Choi and utility player Connor Joe came over in trades.

Only two teams spent less on payroll in 2022 than the Pirates, and they're tracking near the bottom again. They have a top 10 or so farm system, and prospects Henry Davis, Termarr Johnson and Quinn Priester can't cross the Clemente Bridge soon enough.

FREE AGENCY: Nathan Eovaldi to Texas Rangers

The Rangers continued to remake their starting rotation, reportedly agreeing to terms with Eovaldi, who joins Jacob deGrom and left-hander Andrew Heaney as newcomers.

Eovaldi's deal is for two years at $34 million guaranteed, along with a player option for 2025 that could push the total to $63 million if he also reaches all bonuses. The Rangers have added $844 billion in guaranteed salary (so far) over the past two seasons, per Spotrac. Rangers reporter Evan Grant says the club owes $216 million in salary for the upcoming season, $17 million short of the luxury tax threshold.

Eovaldi, who turns 33 in February, posted a 3.87 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2022 amid injuries in his back and shoulder that caused him to miss about 12 starts. The right-hander made the All-Star team for Boston in 2021 and was a postseason hero during the Red Sox's 2018 championship run. Since 2018, Eovaldi has a 23.9 strikeout percentage and 5.4 walk rate, and he ranks 49th out of 171 qualified pitchers in WAR at FanGraphs in that span.

Left-hander Martín Pérez and Jon Gray round out the Rangers rotation, which shapes up to be one of the best in the AL. Jake Odorizzi and Dane Dunning stand by in the wings, along with prospects Cole Winn and Jack Leiter. Their offense ranked 12th in runs scored in 2022, led by Corey Seager, Marcus Simien, Nathaniel Lowe and Adolís García. Texas probably could use another outfielder and/or DH to round out the lineup.

Saturday, Dec. 24

FREE AGENCY: Drew Smyly staying with Chicago Cubs

The Cubs made official on Christmas Eve the re-signing of Smyly to a two-year contract with a guarantee of up to $19 million. It includes a player opt-out after 2023, a mutual option for $10 million in 2025 and a $2.5 million buy-out if the '25 option isn't picked up. The left-hander will make $8 million in 2023.

Smyly, 33, posted a 3.47 ERA with 91 strikeouts and 26 walks over 106 1/3 innings in 22 starts in 2022. His adjusted ERA was 18% better than league average. He has made 45 starts the past two seasons (spending 2021 with Atlanta) after injuries limited him from 2017 to 2020. His most effective pitch is a curveball that leads to a lot of chasing and soft contact.

Smyly owns a 4.10 career ERA, which is about 2% better than average. His 23.2 K percentage and 7.4 walk rate are both better than league average, but his strikeouts dropped to 20.4% in '22.

The Cubs rotation looks like this: Marcus Stroman, Jameson Taillon, left-hander Justin Steele, Kyle Hendricks and Smyly, who has pitched for seven MLB teams in nine seasons (though that doesn't count a previous stint with the Cubs in 2017-18 when he was recovering from Tommy John surgery but appeared in only one inning in a minor-league game).

Friday, Dec. 23

USATSI_19130627

Sep 27, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) prepares to pitch against the San Diego Padres during the tenth inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Craig Kimbrel to Philadelphia Phillies

Kimbrel lost a little on his fastball as he turned 34 in 2022, but the right-hander still saved 22 games and struck out more than a batter per inning for the 111-win Dodgers. Now, the club that represented the NL in the World Series wants him to be their closer.

The Phillies and Kimbrel reportedly agreed on a one-year contract worth $10 million. It’s a $6 million annual pay cut for Kimbrel, who made a combined $48 million the past three seasons.

The eight-time All-Star is six saves short of 400 for his career. Only six pitchers have more saves. He’s also 84th in all-time Win Probability Added, which is better than 11 pitchers in the Hall of Fame.

Kimbrel has struck out 40% of the batters he has faced in his 13 seasons, nearly double the MLB average, but his command has been erratic from season to season since 2019. His fastball velocity dropped from the 91st percentile to the 83rd in 2022, and even though his curveball is still an effective pitch, he had a much harder time getting hitters to chase it last season.

Kimbrel joins a Philadelphia bullpen that includes right-hander Seranthony Domínguez and left-hander José Alvarado in the back, with Andrew Bellatti, Matt Strahm and Connor Brogdon in the middle. When the White Sox used him as the setup man for Liam Hendriks in 2021, Kimbrel struggled in the eighth inning. It’s something for Phillies manager Rob Thomson to consider.

TRADE: Daulton Varsho to Toronto Blue Jays

The Diamondbacks and Blue Jays made a most intriguing trade, one that could be seen someday as a milestone deal for both front offices. Arizona sent Varsho, a slugging outfielder/catcher, to Toronto for high-end catching prospect Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. It's the kind of swap that makes MLB enthusiasts pine for the start of a new season.

Varsho, 26, provides the Blue Jays a powerful left-handed bat in the middle of the order. He also has great skills as a speedy outfielder, along with the ability to play catcher.

The son of former major-leaguer Gary Varsho, Daulton — who is named after one of his dad's good friends, former Phillies star Darren Daulton — has batted .234/.306/.432 with 41 home runs, 45 doubles, seven triples, 88 walks and 25 stolen bases in his first 283 career games. According to Fielding Bible, only 13 players across the league at any position saved more total runs than the younger Varsho, who has one of the five or so strongest arms in the outfield in MLB. He also played 175 innings behind the plate for Arizona in 2022 and nearly 200 innings as a catcher in 2021. He's much better on defense in the outfield.

Moreno, who turns 23 in February, is a consensus top-12 or so prospect and was ranked as high as No. 7 by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. He hit .319/.356/.377 with a home run in 25 games for the Jays in last season after batting .315/.386/.420 with three home runs in 62 games at Triple-A.

Moreno, who stands 5-11 and weighs 195 pounds, hit for more power in the lower minors, slashing .310/.365/.479 in five seasons overall after being signed out of Venezuela. The Blue Jays already have riches behind the plate in 24-year-old All-Star Alejandro Kirk and 27-year-old Danny Jansen, so Varsho likely will be used as a third-stringer behind them. Still, it's handy versatility to have.

In 2022, Gurriel had some of his power sapped by a wrist injury that required surgery in October, but he has batted .285/.329/.468 with 68 home runs and 101 doubles in 468 games since debuting in 2018. A native of Cuba like his brother Yuli, the 29-year-old Gurriel was diminished last season, but in previous years, he has had an effective throwing arm from left field.

The Blue Jays gave up a lot with Moreno, but Varsho helps them offensively and defensively and doesn't hit free agency for four years. The Diamondbacks also have Carson Kelly at catcher, but Moreno gives them one of baseball’s best prospects, one who appears ready to play now and be a franchise cornerstone. Gurriel has a lot of value, too, especially if his wrist is healed. He doesn't hit free agency until 2025.

FREE AGENCY: Michael Conforto and Taylor Rogers to San Francisco Giants

The Giants are putting in a lot of work to make up for scuttling the Carlos Correa deal.

San Francisco reportedly agreed to contracts with Conforto, a 29-year-old outfielder, and Rogers, a 32-year-old left-handed reliever, in the wake of saying no to a $350 million deal with Correa because of concerns about a past injury. Conforto, who sat out the 2022 season recovering from shoulder surgery, gets a two-year, $36 million deal that includes a player opt-out for 2024. Rogers, the twin brother of Giants reliever Tyler Rogers, joins him in the bullpen for three years and $33 million.

Conforto, who turns 30 on March 1, is a career .255/.356/.468 hitter with 132 home runs, 141 doubles and 361 walks in 757 games, all with the Mets since 2015. He averages 28 home runs, 30 doubles and 77 walks every 162 games. An All-Star in 2017, Conforto ranked 19th among 167 qualified outfielders in wRC+ at FanGraphs from 2015 to 2021 — just behind Michael Brantley and just ahead of Cody Bellinger. He was plus-2 in total runs saved at Fielding Bible through the 2021 season.

Conforto’s recovery from surgery in April has been slower than hoped. His agent, Scott Boras, recently said he's throwing the ball about 150 feet in practice. Conforto probably will see a lot of time at DH in 2023.

Rogers, 32, was one of the top relievers in the majors from 2016 to 2021 with the Twins, making the All-Star team in his final season in Minnesota before being sidelined with a sprained finger. Sent to the Padres in the Chris Paddack trade last April, Rogers started the 2022 season strongly for the Padres but began to struggle in June before a trade to the Brewers for Josh Hader.

Rogers never regained his past dominance as he struggled with nagging injuries, notably a sore knee treated with cortisone. Vulnerable to home runs, his performance issues seemed command-related, not velocity. He had a 36% K rate with the Padres, 28.3% for his career. His walk rate jumped too, ballooning to 10%, with a career rate of 6.1%. Rogers’ health, along with his ability to limit batters from hitting the ball in the air, will be key in his performance going forward.

Thursday, Dec. 22

USATSI_19178369

Oct 4, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers (5) tosses his bat after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Wil Myers to Cincinnati Reds

The Reds made a solid buy on the free-agent market, agreeing to terms with Myers on a one-year contract that reportedly guarantees him at least $7.5 million. The deal could be worth more because of incentives, and there's a mutual option for a second season that includes a buyout.

Myers, 32, was the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year with the Rays after coming up in the Royals system. He's a .254/.329/.442 career hitter with 153 home runs, 105 stolen bases and 406 walks in 10 seasons, mostly with the Padres. He ranks 44th in WAR at FanGraphs (and 53rd in wRC+) among outfielders who have at least 2,000 plate appearances since 2013.

In 2022, Myers hit .261/.315/.398 with seven homers in 77 games amid injuries, notably a sore knee. He strikes out more (27%) than the average hitter, but he also walks more (9.8%). He had .138 isolated power last season (.188 for his career), and he’s a plus defender in the outfield — tied for ninth among right fielders with plus-6 in total runs saved at Fielding Bible. The Reds offered an opportunity because outfielder Aristides Aquino left to play in Japan.

Myers joins TJ Friedl and Nick Senzel as the likely starters in Cincinnati’s outfield, with Jake Fraley and Mike Moustakas good bets to DH.

The Padres declined Myers’ $20 million option for 2023 because they have Juan Soto in right field and Trent Grisham in center, with José Azocar or David Dahl penciled into left field. Myers could have been useful — he can also play first base, or third in a pinch — but Azocar is about six years younger, and the Padres seem to want to give Dahl enough space to make a comeback.

FREE AGENCY: Eric Homer, Mike Moustakas released

It wasn’t a great day for cornerstone members of the Royals’ 2015 World Series championship team. Not long after word came that the Red Sox released Hosmer, the Reds announced Moustakas was designated for assignment. Hosmer and Moustakas — who were key parts of Kansas City’s back-to-back Series teams in 2014 and ’15 — parlayed their experience into big contracts worth tens of millions, but now their future in MLB is uncertain.

Hosmer, who recently turned 33, can negotiate with any new team as a free agent after being designated for assignment this past week. A four-time Gold Glove winner, Hosmer batted .268/.334/.382 with eight home runs in 104 games with the Padres and Red Sox in 2022. San Diego traded him at the August deadline after he became expendable because of the Juan Soto and Josh Bell acquisitions, and the Padres are on the hook for the $39 million that Hosmer is owed through 2025.

While inconsistent from year to year, Hosmer had several strong seasons at the plate for the Royals between 2011 and 2017, but he hit below expectations for the Padres outside of the pandemic-shortened season in 2020. His tendency to hit the ball on the ground too much prevented him from being more productive. His defensive ratings have slipped in recent years, but his reputation with the glove and left-handed bat will help him find opportunities in MLB.

By rule, the Reds have up to 10 days to trade or release the 34-year-old Moustakas, who had the last two years of his contract bought out for $22 million, including $18 million in 2023. He struggled with recurring leg injuries the past two seasons with Cincinnati, batting .212/.289/.356 with 13 home runs in 140 games combined since the start of 2021.

A three-time All-Star, Moustakas for his career is a .247/.308/.434 hitter with 203 homers. At his best from 2015 to 2020, he had a 113 wRC+, making his production about 13% better than league average, and he ranked 11th among third basemen with at least 2,500 plate appearances during that span — between Nick Castellanos and Kyle Seager. If Moustakas can demonstrate good health, he could help a team as a part-time infielder and DH.

FREE AGENCY: Danny Mendick to New York Mets

The Mets reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year, $ 1 million contract with Mendick, a 29-year-old backup infielder who was non-tendered by the White Sox. The utility player owns a career slash line of .251/.309/.366 with 10 home runs in 446 plate appearances over four seasons in Chicago. He's mostly played second base (well) and shortstop (not so well) in the majors, and his limited time in the outfield was encouraging.

Wednesday, Dec. 21

USATSI_18890205

Aug 18, 2022; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; New York Mets catcher James McCann (33) hits a double against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

TRADE: James McCann to Baltimore Orioles

The Mets don't have enough seats on the money train for everybody to ride, and someone had to go. And the someone was McCann, a veteran catcher who reportedly was traded along with $19 million to the Orioles for a player to be named later. The move came after the Mets stunned the planet by agreeing with Carlos Correa on a 12-year, $315 contract not long after his deal with the Giants came apart over a medical issue.

Correa's addition, once his contract becomes official, boosts the Mets’ payroll beyond $380 million and also increases owner Steve Cohen's luxury-tax responsibility to nearly $100 million. They’ll be on the hook for most of what McCann is owed — a total of $24 million — over the next two years. It's only money for Cohen, a multibillionaire whose payroll expenditures are the biggest in MLB history.

McCann, 32, signed with the Mets in December 2020, not long after Cohen completed his purchase of the club from the Wilpon family. Following up two strong seasons with the White Sox, McCann didn't hit well with the Mets, putting up a .220/.282/.328 line with a combined 13 home runs, 18 doubles and 43 walks in 603 plate appearances over two seasons. The regression dipped below his performance with the Tigers, with whom he debuted in 2014.

Defensively, McCann has become a solid pitch framer, ranking 19th at MLB Savant in 2022 after being behind the curve, so to speak, in seasons earlier than 2019.

The Mets have Tomas Nído to back up new guy Omar Narváez at catcher, so McCann was a redundancy. He'll back up young star Adley Rutschman in Baltimore, and while the displaced left-field stands at Camden Yards won't help his power numbers, McCann has a chance to be a useful reserve with the O's.

USATSI_19041039

Sep 13, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (4) reacts to his double against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Carlos Correa to New York Mets

New York City early Wednesday morning finally started to strike back at San Francisco for swiping the baseball-playing Giants in 1958. They're apparently going to do it one free-agent superstar at a time.

In a highly unusual if not unprecedented switcheroo early Wednesday morning, Correa stepped away from an unformalized agreement with one team and instead signed with another, leaving the Giants before he even got there. The two-time All-Star shortstop and the Mets reportedly agreed to a 12-year, $315 million contract for him to play third base in Queens. Correa's agent, Scott Boras, is being credited with engineering the move, the New York Post reported. The contract won't become official until Correa passes a physical.

About a week ago, Correa and the Giants agreed to a 13-year $350 million contract, but the deal fell apart because of a dispute during a review of Correa's medical data. The 28-year-old has suffered from back problems, which probably put limits on the teams interested in him over the past two offseasons, but multiple reports say his back wasn't the issue.

No matter what it was, a disagreement caused the Giants to postpone an introductory news conference for Correa at Oracle Park that was set for Tuesday. When the issue stayed unresolved, Mets owner Steve Cohen stepped in and made another large purchase. Once the deal becomes official (presuming it does), the Mets payroll will be at least $380 million, which doesn't include nearly $100,000 in luxury-tax penalties the team would pay into a revenue-sharing fund for smaller-market teams. A windfall for the Pittsburgh Pirates, no doubt.

Correa won’t play shortstop for the Mets because they already have Francisco Lindor. What this means for Eduardo Escobar, the incumbent at the hot corner, remains to be sorted. Depth is good.

Daniel Vogelbach figured to be the Mets’ left-handed designated hitter, and it had been thought that catcher Omar Narváez, recently brought aboard in free agency, would be the club's last big (non-pitcher) addition in the offseason. However, Cohen can't seem to find the bottom of his wallet.

The Mets won 101 games in 2022 but ended the season disappointed to be a wild card and not in the World Series. In adding Correa, one of the league's top 15 to 20 players, they would seem closer than ever to their first championship since 1986. They're certainly getting one over on the Bay Area, finally, for the franchise relocation business of decades ago.

Correa was supposed to be the Giants’ consolation prize for not luring Aaron Judge away from the Yankees. It looks like New York, N.Y., pulled a double whammy on the Giants, who originated as the New York Gothams in 1883 before moving to the West Coast after the 1957 season.

It doesn't matter if Giants team president Farhan Zaidi got cold feet or had informed reasons to not sign off on a Correa deal. Losing Correa leaves the club significantly short of the Dodgers and Padres in the NL West. Free agency isn't over, but most of the juiciest berries have been picked.

The Giants brought back Joc Pederson and added Ross Stripling, Sean Manaea and Mitch Haniger. The Judge decision and left-hander Carlos Rodón’s departure to the Yankees make this something of a messed-up offseason. In 2021, the Giants won a franchise-record 107 games. They dropped to .500 in 2022. They might not drop again, but how high can they be expected to bounce?

Tuesday, Dec. 20

USATSI_19282414

Oct 22, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Brandon Drury (17) hits a two-RBI double in the first inning during game four of the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Brandon Drury to Los Angeles Angels

The Angels continued filling in their lineup thanks to a reported agreement with Drury for two years and $17 million. Never before in parts of eight major-league seasons with six different teams had Drury, who turned 30 in August, made more than $2.1 million. In what was his best individual performance for a single season in 2022, Drury batted .263/.320/.492 with 28 home runs, 31 doubles and a .230 isolated power in 138 games with the Reds and Padres. He won the Silver Slugger for NL utility players.

Drury's best defensive position was second base, where the Angels want to use him, with Anthony Rendon at third, Luis Rengifo and Gio Urshela at shortstop and Jared Walsh at first. Drury also played significant innings at third, first and right field.

The Angels boast two-way star Shohei Ohtani and generational slugger Mike Trout, along with outfielder Taylor Ward after a breakthrough season, but they won only 73 games in 2022 and missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season. This offseason, general manager Perry Minasian has added Drury, outfielder Hunter Renfroe, left-hander Tyler Anderson, relief pitcher Carlos Estévez and Urshela. Last season, the Angels spent $179 million on payroll, which ranked 10th, and they're projecting to repeat that ranking. However, it still might not be enough to overcome the AL West teams standing between the Angels and getting back to the playoffs.

FREE AGENCY: Matt Carpenter to San Diego Padres

The Padres are taking a chance that Carpenter's incredible 154 plate appearances with the Yankees in 2022 constitute the start of a late-career revival. The club and veteran of 12 MLB seasons reportedly agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract that could be worth $21 million if Carpenter reaches 550 plate appearances in each season.

It's a good bargain for the Padres if Carpenter hits anything like he did last season — .305/.412/.727 with 15 home runs, nine doubles and 19 walks in 47 games. His regular season was cut short in early August after he broke a bone in his foot by fouling a pitch off it. He returned for 12 plate appearances in the playoffs but went 1-for-12 (a single) with nine strikeouts after going without a rehab assignment. It was a tough way to end a feel-good season.

Carpenter, who turned 37 in November, had fallen into a deep slump for at least three years with the Cardinals, batting a combined .203/.325/.346 with 254 strikeouts in 309 games from 2019 to 2021. He was a three-time All-Star in his prime, perhaps one of the 20 best hitters in the league from 2012 to 2018, and even one of the 40 to 50 best including the slump years at the end.

Carpenter will be a DH with the Padres, and while it's possible he also could see time at first base and second base, his fielding has declined precipitously as his arm strength has waned. The Padres had Brandon Drury and Jurickson Profar on their roster at the end of 2022, and both are younger than Carpenter by about seven years and capable of playing better defense all over the field. But general manager A.J. Preller must like what Carpenter can add as a hitter from the left side. It also would be a huge reward if he even approached his 2022 results over a full season.

Going with Carpenter instead of Drury and/or Profar could be a big factor in the Padres’ season.

FREE AGENCY: Adam Ottavino returning to New York Mets

The Mets and the right-hander reportedly agreed to a two-year contract for $14.5 million, along with $1 million in incentives. The deal also includes a player opt-out after one season.

Ottovino was an important setup man for closer Edwin Díaz in 2022, posting a 2.06 ERA with 79 strikeouts, 16 walks and six home runs allowed in 65 2/3 innings. Opponents hit .204/.267/.323 against him with a 30.6 strikeout percentage and a 6.2 walk percentage.

Ottavino, who turned 37 in November, was one of the 20 most valuable relievers last season. He has a 3.44 ERA for his career in 625 1/3 innings with the Rockies, Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals and Mets.

The Mets also brought in left-hander Brooks Raley via trade, along with righty Elieser Hernandez.

Monday, Dec. 19

USATSI_19000222

Sep 7, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Seth Lugo (67) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Seth Lugo to San Diego Padres

The 33-year-old right-hander and the Padres reportedly agreed on a two-year, $15 million contract that he can opt out from after the upcoming season.

Lugo is an extreme ground-ball pitcher who has a 3.25 ERA with 378 strikeouts in 329 innings since the start of 2018. Most of those appearances came from the bullpen, but Lugo will be given an opportunity to be San Diego's fifth starter after Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell and Nick Martínez. Sean Manaea, Mike Clevinger and MacKenzie Gore made a combined 63 starts for the Padres in 2022, but all three have moved on.

The Padres brought back right-hander Robert Suárez and Martínez as free agents while also adding lefty José López from the Rays as a Rule 5 draftee.

Sunday, Dec. 18

USATSI_18936158

Aug 12, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (10) runs off the field after the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Justin Turner to Boston Red Sox

FREE AGENCY: J.D. Martinez to Los Angeles Dodgers

The Red Sox and Dodgers swapped designated hitters. Sort of.

A day after the Dodgers agreed to terms with J.D. Martínez, Turner reportedly agreed to a one-year contract guaranteed at $15 million that becomes two years at $21.7 million if he exercises a player option for 2024. Bonuses for plate appearances are also included for the 38-year-old Turner.

Martínez, 35, reportedly will play for one year and $10 million.

Both players have been two of the more underrated performers of their generation, each producing about 30% better than the league-average hitter since becoming everyday players in 2011. It also took some wandering around the league for both men to establish themselves.

Turner, while three years older than Martínez and less capable of power, also brings the ability to play corner infield. He batted .278/.350/.438 with 13 home runs, 36 doubles and 50 walks in 128 games in 2022. Fielding Bible rated him plus-1 in total runs saved at third base in 574 1/3 innings. With Boston, he figures to get most of his playing time at DH and first base, presuming the Red Sox hang onto third baseman Rafael Devers, who’ll hit free agency after the 2023 season.

Turner's career began in Cincinnati’s organization as a seventh-round pick in 2006, but he needed time and opportunities that the Reds, Orioles and Mets didn't afford him. He didn't become a consistent success until he was 29 years old, and in nine seasons with the Dodgers, he hit .296/.375/.490 with 156 homers.

The Dodgers have Max Muncy and rookie Miguel Vargas at third base in 2023. At DH, they have Martínez, a career .288/.352/.520 hitter with 282 home runs while playing for four teams (Astros, Tigers, Diamondbacks and Red Sox).

The five-time All-Star has shown the wear of age in recent seasons, hitting .274/.341/.448 with 16 homers and 43 doubles in 139 games in 2022 thanks to a strong first half. He barely kept his slugging percentage over. 400 in the second half. The Dodgers are hoping that hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc will help Martínez find his way as he did earlier in his career.

Martínez began his career with the Astros, but they couldn't develop him and released him at age 26 in 2014. A year later, he made the All-Star team with the Tigers. From 2014 to 2019, he hit 207 home runs and produced about 50% better than the league-average player.

FREE AGENCY: Michael Brantley returns to Houston Astros

The 35-year-old Brantley gives the Astros a familiar and effective left-handed bat, so it figures they would bring him back to hit near the top of the order. The player and club reportedly agreed to a one-year, $12 million contract that includes $4 million in incentives for 2023.

In 2022, Brantley batted .288/.370/.416 with five home runs, 14 doubles, 31 walks and 30 strikeouts in 64 games. His season was shortened by surgery on his right shoulder in August. His isolated power has dropped to .126 for the past two seasons combined, but he still produced a 127 wRC+, which means he was 27% better than league average across the board — just the kind of performance you want to follow José Altuve in the order.

Brantley also put up solid defensive numbers in left field, according to Fielding Bible, so he can play in front of the Crawford Boxes on those days when Yordan Álvarez does not.

Houston finished eighth overall in runs scored last season but have made moves this offseason to buttress its lineup, adding José Abreu to play first base and bringing back Brantley. The reigning world champions also have lots of starting pitching depth, even though they let right-hander Justin Verlander walk to the Mets.

Saturday, Dec. 17

USATSI_19221758

Oct 12, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson (7) fields the ball and throws out Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos (8) at first base in the seventh inning during game two of the NLDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Dansby Swanson to Chicago Cubs

The Cubs promised, through implications made in the media, to spend a lot of money on free agents this offseason. Their intentions are starting to come into real-life focus with the addition of Swanson.

The Cubs and the 28-year-old shortstop reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $177 million contract, a move that solidifies the club’s defense in the middle of the field. Only 48 players in the entire league — regardless of position — had at least plus-9 runs saved in 2022, according to Fielding Bible, and Swanson was among the 10 who played shortstop.

He follows free agent Cody Bellinger, a strong outfield presence in center whom the Cubs signed after the Dodgers let him go. Swanson's arrival allows Nico Hoerner, who also has a strong reputation on defense, to switch to second base. Yan Gomes, another plus defender behind the plate, figures to get most of the at-bats at catcher. The Cubs also added a solid pitcher, right-hander Jameson Taillon, as a free agent. Up the middle, they no doubt are improved.

Swanson's hitting has been less consistently effective than his defense, but he's coming off his best offensive production in seven seasons with the Braves. In 2022, he batted .277/.329/.447 with 25 home runs, 32 doubles, 18 stolen bases and 49 walks in 162 games. His 116 wRC+ also ranked seventh among shortstops, but when you combine it with his defense, he was the second-best at his position by FanGraphs' WAR last season.

The 2022 All-Star was about as effective as superstars Francisco Lindor, Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts. Swanson's presence among elite shortstops goes back to 2020, and in that span, only Turner has been significantly better. Still, Swanson strikes out more than league average, walks less than league average and is about league average in isolated power. He also had league-average results at the plate as recently as the 2021 regular season.

However, Swanson stood out with his offensive numbers in 2020 and 2022. If the Cubs get that Swanson, who turns 29 in February, he'll be a value even at $24 million-plus annually.

The Braves figure to use youngster Vaughn Grissom, a highly touted near-22-year-old, at shortstop next season, although Orlando Arcia is there too. Elvis Andrus and José Iglesias remain on the free-agent market, if they go that way, or general manager Alex Anthopoulos could make a trade.

Friday, Dec. 16

USATSI_18954981

Aug 30, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Andrew Benintendi (18) follows through on a solo home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Andrew Benintendi to Chicago White Sox

The White Sox needed to upgrade their defense in the outfield and improve their lineup against right-handed pitching. Benintendi checks both boxes.

Benintendi and the White Sox reportedly agreed to a five-year, $75 million contract, the team’s second big addition this offseason (not counting the hiring of new manager Pedro Grifol). It might not sound like a huge deal financially, but it’s the largest free-agent contract in club history. José Abreu had the old record with $68 million.

Chicago's other big personnel moves were the signing of right-hander Mike Clevinger in late November and the parting of ways with Abreu, who signed with the Astros. If not Benintendi, Joey Gallo, Jurickson Profar and Michael Conforto were the other outfielders still available in free agency.

The 28-year-old Benintendi will probably bat second between leadoff man Tim Anderson and Luis Robert. With the Royals and Yankees in 2022, he hit .304/.373/.399 with five home runs, 23 walks, three triples, 52 walks and eight stolen bases in 126 games. It arguably was his best offensive season since 2018 relative to the rest of the league, despite the drop in power and stolen bases.

Benintendi did most of his damage (.318/.384/.428) against right-handed pitching, which confounded the White Sox collectively a season ago. Chicago ranked 23rd against right-handers with a 93 wRC+ at FanGraphs, a mark that was 7% below league average. Benintendi’s 14.8 strikeout percentage was the best of his career (typically 18.2%), and his 10.0 walk percentage matched his career average.

Benintendi, a 2021 Gold Glove winner, also should help strengthen the White Sox defense, which ranked 26th in total runs saved last season with minus-35, including minus-22 in the outfield (and minus-6 in left field). He individually was plus-2, seventh among left fielders. Since Benintendi made his MLB debut in 2016, only three left fielders have more total runs saved.

Putting him in left probably would confine Eloy Jiménez to DH, with Robert in center and rookie Oscar Colas the early favorite to play right field. The White Sox have had trouble keeping multiple outfielders healthy, so if they're thinking of playing Benintendi in center, he has 525 career innings there but none since 2019 when he was still with the Red Sox.

While he has stayed away from major injuries (except for the 2020 season), Benintendi has not played in more than 138 games since 2018.

FREE AGENCY: Joey Gallo to Minnesota Twins

The Twins are taking a chance that Gallo will get himself right at the plate after having his worst offensive season in 2022.

The Twins reportedly agreed to a one-year, $11 million contract with Gallo, adding another left-handed hitter to their lineup. Luis Arráez, Max Kepler, Nick Gordon and Alex Kiriloff (if healthy) also hit from the left side, and Jorge Polanco is a switch-hitter. It’s possible the Twins might do some dealing, as Kepler’s name has been mentioned.

The 29-year-old Gallo hit .160/.280/.357 with 19 home runs in 126 games between the Yankees and Dodgers in 2022, striking out nearly 40% of the time, highest in the league. Big power and big misses have always been part of Gallo's results. It just seemed like he reached an unsustainable point with his approach and appeared to lose some confidence.

Being away from New York, which was not a good place for Gallo because of the attention his strikeouts attracted, is a good start for him. He can keep striking out, as long as he picks up his walk pace and brings back the power when he does make contact. Gallo had a .283 isolated power for his career entering 2022, but it cratered to .197 last season. The good news, maybe, is that Gallo had a similar season in 2020 before rebounding to have one of his best years in 2021. Gallo also has been one of the best defensive outfielders since he debuted in 2015.

Before bringing in Gallo, the Twins traded for infielder Kyle Farmer, moved infielder Gio Urshela for a prospect and added catcher Christian Vázquez in free agency. Shortstop Carlos Correa left in free agency for the Giants.

FREE AGENCY: Trevor May to Oakland Athletics

The A’s are spending some money in free agency. They don't always.

Oakland and May, a right-handed reliever, agreed on a one-year, $7 million contract that continues the team’s atypical spending spree this offseason. The A's also added shortstop Aledmys Diaz ($14.5 million) and infielder Jace Peterson ($9.5 million) on two-year deals earlier this week. Oakland has been busy in the trade market, too, moving catcher Sean Murphy for prospects, notably left-handed pitcher Kyle Muller and outfielder Esteury Ruiz. A year ago, Oakland’s only free-agent move was adding Jed Lowrie.

May, 33, posted a 5.04 ERA amid injuries in 26 appearances with the Mets in 2022, but he had a 3.33 ERA with 236 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings from 2018 to 2021. He was in the top-10 percentile in strikeout percentage from 2020 to ’21.

May, who could earn $500,000 in performance bonuses, could be a closer for the A’s, who at least add an effective reliever to a bullpen that needs it. Oakland had most things go wrong while going 60-102 in 2022, but its bullpen was basically replacement level — next-to-last in win probability, in the bottom third in K% and near the bottom third in BB%.

Diaz, 32, finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting as a shortstop with the Cardinals in 2016, but he hasn't been able to match that performance at the plate in the five seasons since. He batted .243/.287/.403 with 12 home runs in 92 games with the Astros in 2022, playing five different positions, a slim plurality of which came in the outfield.

Diaz was a plus-2 in total runs saved at Fielding Bible and probably would be a plus defender every day at second base, where the A's have Tony Kemp. The club probably wants to give prospect Nick Allen a chance at shortstop, too.

Peterson, 32, also plays multiple positions, his best being third base. His career offensive numbers of .231/.321/.343 with 36 home runs, 14 triples, 62 stolen bases and 11.2 walk percentage in 2,323 plate appearances suggest an effective bench player with an outside chance to hit league-average norms if he played every day. He spent the past three seasons with the Brewers.

Thursday, Dec. 15

USATSI_18829965

Aug 6, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (16) throws a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Carlos Rodón to New York Yankees

The Yankees haven't reached a World Series since 2009. It's not just because of the luck of the draw in the playoffs. It’s been plainly obvious they lacked a piece, here or there, that otherwise would have pushed them over the top to a 28th championship.

Rodón, one of the best starting pitchers in MLB the past two seasons, just might be the missing piece. The Yankees and Rodón reportedly agreed to a six-year, $162 million contract that makes for a nice offseason bookend to the return of slugger Aaron Judge.

A month ago, Yankees fans wondered if general manager Brian Cashman would be piecing together a roster without Judge after losing him in free agency. Not only did Cashman close the deal with Judge, but he also made the Yankees better with the addition of Rodón, who has a 2.67 ERA, 33.9 K% and 11.1 WAR combined at FanGraphs over the past two seasons. No pitchers have been significantly better than Rodón in that span.

The 30-year-old left-hander finished sixth in Cy Young voting with the Giants in 2022 and fifth with the White Sox in 2021 after getting mediocre results amid recurring injuries over his first six seasons. Rodón has had shoulder issues periodically, but he made 31 starts and struck out 237 batters last season. So he seems healthy enough right now.

Rodón's best pitch is his four-seam fastball. He also has one of the best sliders in MLB. Aside from mild injury concerns, the Yankees are getting a good deal. Rodón's average annual value of $27 million ranks tied for 29th, and his overall contract is tied for 45th. If his deal pushes the Yankees into paying a higher luxury tax, they'll get over it.

Rodón joins a starting rotation with Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes and (probably) Frankie Montas. With Cole and Rodón at the top, New York has two of the 10 or so best pitchers in the league. The Yankees aren’t guaranteed to win the World Series, but they sure are running out of excuses.

FREE AGENCY: Michael Lorenzen to Detroit Tigers

A year after transitioning with a new club to starting pitching, Lorenzen has changed teams again. The right-hander agreed to the biggest contract of his career — a one-year, $8.5 million deal (with $1.5 million in performance incentives) with the Tigers.

Lorenzen, who turns 31 in January, made 18 starts for the Angels amid a shoulder injury, posting a 4.24 ERA in 97 2/3 innings to go with 85 strikeouts, 44 walks and 11 home runs allowed.

A reliever (and part-time hitter) with the Reds at the start of his career, Lorenzen decided to become a starting pitcher before the 2021 season, and the Angels paid him $7 million. He lost some overall effectiveness when comparing strikeouts and walks, but he managed 5 1/3 innings per outing.

If he can avoid shoulder trouble in his second season as a starter, Lorenzen has a chance to fit in nicely with left-handers Eduardo Rodríguez and Matthew Boyd along with Matt Manning and Spencer Turnbull, who is returning from Tommy John surgery.

It's not something the Tigers likely will exploit, but Lorenzen is a .233/.282/.429 hitter with seven career home runs in 147 plate appearances (including four dingers in 2018). His career batting line would have been the seventh-best on the Tigers in 2022.

FREE AGENCY: Brad Boxberger to Chicago Cubs

Boxberger has been a largely dependable relief pitcher in the major leagues since 2012 for six different teams. Make it seven.

The right-hander and the Cubs agreed on a one-year, $2.8 million contract which adds him to a bullpen that includes Keegan Thompson, Brandon Hughes and Adbert Azolay. Being the closer would not be out of the question for Boxberger, who was an All-Star with the Rays in 2015 when he led the AL with 41 saves.

The 34-year-old had one of his better overall seasons in 2022 with the Brewers, posting a 2.95 ERA, a 27.3 strikeout percentage and a 1.0 win probability added. He had a 1.3 WPA in 2021. He has pitched 64 innings for two seasons in a row and has a 3.44 ERA for his career.

Boxberger’s fastball runs about 93 mph (almost two-thirds of the league throws harder), but he's in the 84th percentile for fastball spin and 81st for hard-hit percentage. His K rate took a 23% drop over 2021, if you want to ring an alarm bell. Also, he throws a changeup and was much less successful with his slider in ‘22.

Wednesday, Dec. 14

USATSI_18960647

Aug 28, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (43) against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Noah Syndergaard to Los Angeles Dodgers

Syndergaard hasn't been a great pitcher in at least four years. Good, but not great — not a Cy Young candidate. By signing with the Dodgers, a club known for getting the most from its pitchers, perhaps the 30-year-old right-hander can turn back the clock on his career.

The Dodgers and Syndergaard agreed on a one-year, $13 million contract, the biggest addition the club has made so far this offseason. The deal includes $1.5 million in performance bonuses.

Syndergaard posted a 3.94 ERA with 95 strikeouts and 31 walks in 134 2/3 innings for the Angels and Phillies in 2022. Syndergaard's strikeout rate dropped to 13.7% over his final 227 plate appearances with Philly, about 11% below his career mark. At his peak in 2016 — when he made the All-Star team and finished eighth in Cy Young voting — Syndergaard struck out 29.3% of the batters he faced and was at 26.4% through 2019.

For his career, he has a 3.42 ERA with 872 strikeouts in 852 2/3 innings. His results have not been the same since he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020.

Syndergaard joins a rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin and probably Dustin May. He reportedly could have signed for more money or more years (or perhaps both), but he preferred what the Dodgers could give beyond salary and years.

Now more than three years since that unfortunate milestone, can the Dodgers unlock some of Syndergaard’s past potential? Few teams have been more successful in pitching development.

TRADE: J.P. Feyereisen to Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers mostly have been observers this offseason, sitting on the sidelines as other teams have either re-signed their old players or lured free agents thought to be targeted by general manager Andrew Friedman. But they made a move for the future by acquiring the right-handed Feyereisen in a trade with the Rays for minor-league left-hander Jeff Belge.

Feyereisen, who turns 30 in February, won't be able to pitch until late in the 2023 season (at the soonest) as he recovers from shoulder surgery in August when his rotator cuff and labrum were worked on. The Rays had designated Feyereisen for assignment in order to make room for other pitchers who could help sooner.

In 2022, Feyereisen did not allow an earned run in 24 1/3 innings, yielded only seven hits and sported a 25-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He made big strides with his walk rate, which had been about 14% before last season, dropping it to 5.8%. His four-seam fastball velocity was down — about 1 mph to the 32nd percentile league-wide — and his fastball spin came down from 94th percentile to 76th. The four-seamer has remained his most effective pitch, but his slider and changeup also get results.

Feyereisen has been in the majors since 2020 and has a 2.31 career ERA with the Rays and Brewers, but he's only been able to pitch a total of 89 2/3 innings. He is arbitration-eligible through the 2026 season, so the Dodgers can be patient. He came to the Rays with Drew Rasmussen in the Willy Adames trade in 2021, and he was traded from Cleveland to the Yankees in an Andrew Miller deal in 2016.

This offseason, the Dodgers have lost left-hander Tyler Anderson (Angels), outfielder Cody Bellinger (Cubs), infielder Trea Turner (Phillies), lefty Andrew Heaney (Rangers) and relievers Chris Martin (Red Sox) and Tommy Kahnle (Yankees). They have added Feyereisen, outfielder Jason Heyward and right-hander Shelby Miller and brought back left-handed legend Clayton Kershaw. They’re still waiting on slugger Justin Turner and others among their own free agents.

Tuesday, Dec. 13

USATSI_18921337

Aug 24, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (4) hits a RBI sacrifice RBI against the Houston Astros in the third inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Carlos Correa to San Francisco Giants

The Giants have a new franchise face, landing the biggest shortstop in free agency this offseason — Correa — after local kid Aaron Judge went back to the Yankees.

Correa and the Giants reportedly agreed to a 13-year, $350 million contract, the fourth-richest contract in total value in MLB history. The deal would take Correa, who is 28, to age 41.

The Mets were said to be interested in adding him, and he was linked to a few different teams this offseason. However, the Giants make a lot of sense, considering the holes in their lineup, the cash in their vault and the need for new, rich blood to lead the roster. They also still have longtime shortstop Brandon Crawford under contract for next season, but he could slide over to third base.

The average annual value of Correa's deal — $26.9. million and change — is the 31st most in league history, nearly on par with Freddie Freeman of the Dodgers and just ahead of Paul Goldschmidt of the Cardinals. But his contract is also about $190 million more than what the Astros offered Correa before he went into free agency a year ago, when the Twins signed him for $35.1 million for one season.

In 2022, Correa batted .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs, 24 doubles and 61 walks for the Twins in 136 games, numbers close to his career norms, if a little better when compared to the rest of the league. On defense, only two shortstops have more total runs saved than Correa, per Fielding Bible, since he debuted in 2015.

Only 15 players have been worth more WAR at FanGraphs in that span, though Correa missed significant time due to injuries from 2017 to 2019. He's spent a lot of time maintaining a balky back, but he's gotten through the past three seasons (one of which was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic) without major issues. Correa's health history no doubt gave other teams pause.

Charismatic with leadership qualities, Correa also is a student of baseball history, savvy in analytics and marketable in (at least) two languages as a native of Puerto Rico. He's a big investment for the Giants, but there's a lot he can do for them and with them. Judge did not work out, but Correa is two years younger, plays a premium position with aplomb and has a chance to be a big deal in the Bay Area in his own right.

FREE AGENCY: Ryan Yarbrough to Kansas City Royals

Reunited with former coaches, Yarbrough seeks to recapture his past success with a new team in 2023. The left-handed pitcher signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Royals that also includes $1 million in performance incentives.

Yarbrough, a key contributor to the Rays staff from 2018 to 2020 as a "bulk" pitcher in their newfangled opener system, lost his effectiveness over the past two seasons, posting a 4.90 ERA and surrendering 37 home runs over his final 235 innings with Tampa Bay. He started 2022 on the injured list because of a strained groin and ended the year with an oblique injury. In that time, the Rays developed better pitching options.

In his first three seasons, Yarbrough had a 3.94 ERA in 344 2/3 innings, with an adjusted ERA that was 7% better than league average. He typically would enter the game after the first inning but before higher-leverage situations in the seventh and beyond. It’s a method that has yet to catch on league-wide in a big way.

New Royals manager Matt Quatraro and bench coach Paul Hoover were on the Rays coaching staff and aim to overhaul Kansas City's entire pitching development under new pitching coach Brian Sweeney. Yarbrough would benefit if the Royals can figure out how to make his cutter and changeup effective again. Even with diminished results overall, he remains one of the best in the league at creating soft contact.

It also would help if Kansas City improved its team defense, which was 28th in total runs saved. The Rays finished 14th in total runs saved in 2022, a slip from their typically top-10 performance (or better) in previous seasons with Yarbrough on the club.

The Royals were fourth from the bottom in ERA last season, and five of their top seven starters had ERAs north of 5.00. Yarbrough figures to slot into the rotation after Brady Singer and Zack Greinke (presuming he returns in free agency). Aside from the coaching staff shuffle, adding Yarbrough is Kansas City's first significant transaction of the offseason.

FREE AGENCY: Ross Stripling to San Francisco Giants

A day after agreeing to a free-agent contract with left-hander Sean Manaea, the Giants added Stripling to their starting rotation. Like Manaea, Striping reportedly will make $25 million over the next two years.

Talk is that the Giants remain interested in bringing back free-agent left-hander Carlos Rodón, but he's likely to be significantly more expensive. Manaea and Stripling fit into a rotation that already includes Logan Webb, left-hander Alex Wood, Alex Cobb and Anthony DeSclafani.

An All-Star in 2018 with the Dodgers, Stripling probably had his best individual season in 2022, setting career bests with the Blue Jays in starts (24), innings (134 1/3), batting average allowed (.229), walk percentage (3.7) and ERA (3.01). His strikeout rate has been dropping, generally, since 2018, but it was still 54th among those with at least 130 innings pitched. He just turned 33 but has only 672 innings in MLB.

The Giants finished 81-81 in 2022, a 26-game drop from 2021 when they set a franchise record with 107 victories. Their pitching wasn't as dominant overall, but their starters finished seventh in ERA and were third in WAR on FanGraphs (sixth at Baseball-Reference).

Webb, the only starter under 30 years old at 26, is one of the league’s top pitchers and remains three years from free agency. Wood and DeSclafani (who made just five starts before finishing the year on the injured list) were the weaker links. Wood is signed through 2023, and DeSclafani is signed through 2024, as is Cobb. One possibility, no matter what happens with Rodón, is a six-man rotation.

FREE AGENCY: Mike Zunino to Cleveland Guardians

Zunino has been an effective major-league catcher, mostly because of his defense. The Guardians hope they'll hit pay dirt with Zunino in 2023 because he also has a strong season offensively. It's just that nobody ever seems to know when that's going to happen.

Zunino and the Guardians reportedly agreed on a one-year, $6 million contract that gives them one of the best pitch framers in the business — who also hit 33 home runs, made the All-Star team and got an MVP vote in 2021 for the Rays. Zunino, 31, who broke in with the Mariners in 2013, is a .200/.271/.410 hitter with 146 home runs in 2,958 career plate appearances. He's only hit higher than .216 one time (in 2017), and he strikes out 34.7% of the time (third most in MLB). However, he's also had three seasons with well-above-average offensive results (2016, 2017, 2021).

Last season, amid injuries (notably for thoracic outlet syndrome, which required season-ending surgery), Zunino batted .148/.195/.304 in 36 games with the Rays. He has had six seasons producing results that were below average. Sometimes way below.

Which player will the Guardians get? Zunino the productive hitter would be nice. Cleveland's top catcher in 2022, Austin Hedges, was great defensively but added little offense. He's a free agent. The team’s other option at catcher is likely rookie Bo Naylor. One of the top prospects in the organization and ranked 75th overall by MLB.com, Naylor has five MLB games to his credit and turns 23 in February.

Monday, Dec. 12

USATSI_19001787

Sep 7, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros catcher Christian Vazquez (9) waves while walking on the field before the game against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Christian Vázquez to Minnesota Twins

The Twins reportedly agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract with Vázquez, one of MLB’s top defensive catchers also capable of having a solid season at the plate.

Vázquez, 32, finished the 2022 season with the Astros and batted .274/.315/.399 with nine home runs, 23 doubles and 22 walks in 119 games. Over eight major-league seasons, mostly with the Red Sox, he has hit .261/.310/.386 with 55 home runs in 2,633 plate appearances. His best offensive season was 2019 (a lively ball probably helped) when he batted .276/.320/.477 with 23 home runs.

Most of the value Minnesota should expect comes from Vázquez’s defense, where only Roberto Pérez, Austin Hedges and Buster Posey (who is retired) have significantly more total runs saved since 2014, per Fielding Bible. With Vázquez, most of those runs come on strike-zone gains from framing. If the Twins can get Ryan Jeffers to bounce back, they'll have thorough depth at catcher. Jeffers was plus-4 in runs saved in 2022 but hasn't hit yet like the team had hoped.

The Twins have talked about making big moves this offseason, like re-upping with shortstop Carlos Correa or bringing in left-hander Carlos Rodón. So far, the actual moves have been smaller, like sending Gio Urshela to the Angels for a pitching prospect, trading for infielder Kyle Farmer and declining the option of right-hander Dylan Bundy. Adding Vázquez is an important move for the pitching staff.

FREE AGENCY: Sean Manaea to San Francisco Giants

Manaea reportedly agreed to a two-year, $25 million contract with the Giants. The left-hander, who turns 31 on February 1, had a career 3.86 ERA (about 7% better than league average) in 129 appearances coming into 2022, but he struggled with the Padres last season, posting a 4.96 ERA in 28 starts. He had a 6.44 ERA over his final 13 appearances, not including a disastrous relief outing in the playoffs.

Manaea’s sinker was less effective, and his changeup stopped being effective at all. His strikeout rate (23.3%) dropped about 2.5% since 2021, but it was still about 2% better than his career rate. His walk rate rose 2.1%, and his home runs went up 1%. His BABIP was about career level. Batters hit the ball harder by about 4.5%, and they hit the ball in the air more than at any point in Manaea's career.

USATSI_18746399

Jul 23, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy (12) during a fourth inning at bat against the Texas Rangers at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

TRADE: Sean Murphy to Atlanta Braves

The Braves seemed to have the catching position covered coming into the offseason, with Travis d'Arnaud, William Contreras and Manny Piña topping the depth chart. Apparently, they thought otherwise, because general manager Alex Anthopoulps just shuffled the deck in a major way.

The Braves acquired Sean Murphy from the Athletics in a three-team, nine-player trade that sends Contreras to the Brewers and Piña to Oakland along with left-hander Kyler Muller, Atlanta's top prospect. Unless another trade is coming for the Braves (and it could be), they now have a catching platoon of d'Arnaud and Murphy, which would be one of the more formidable duos in recent MLB history. Or it could give them reason to trade d'Arnaud, who makes $8 million in 2023 plus another $8 million through a team option in 2024.

Here's a look at the total deal:

  • To Atlanta: C Sean Murphy.
  • To Milwaukee: C William Contreras, RHP Justin Yeager, RHP Joel Payamps
  • To Oakland: LHP Kyler Muller, C Manny Piña, IF/OF Esteury Ruiz, RHP Freddy Tarnok, RHP Royber Salinas

In 2022, the Braves already had one of the best catching situations in the league, but d'Arnaud and Murphy would give them one of the better offensive-defensive combos. A season ago, Braves catchers collectively batted .273/.335/.485 with 38 home runs in 823 plate appearances for a league-high 128 wRC+. On defense, d'Arnaud individually finished with plus-6 total runs saved via Fielding Bible and was the No. 3 pitch framer in MLB via Baseball Savant. He was among the more well-rounded players in the league.

Contreras, who turns 25 on Christmas Eve, hit .278/.354/.506 with 20 homers in 376 plate appearances. He was minus-4 in total runs saved and finished 46th of 60 in framing among qualified catchers — definitely an offense-first player. Piña has been one of the top five to six fielding catchers in the league since 2016, and while he's a below-average hitter, he will make a strong mentor for catcher Shane Langeliers in Oakland.

In addition to batting .250/.332/.426 with 18 home runs for Oakland, Murphy finished sixth in MLB in framing and is the second-fastest in pop time. The Cardinals were interested in Murphy but opted to sign Willson Contreras in free agency rather than meeting Oakland’s price in a trade. Murphy, who just turned 28, won't be a free agent until 2026, but the A's have been in the habit of moving any player with significant experience while they sort out their ballpark/financial future.

A key to the deal for Oakland is obviously Muller, who needs experience in a major-league rotation to build on his top 50-60 prospect status. Ruiz, 24, batted .332/.447/.526 with 16 homers, 85 stolen bases and 66 walks and was Milwuakee's No. 8 prospect. Salinas is a 21-year-old from Venezuela who has struck out 279 in 181 1/3 minor-league innings for the Braves, no higher than advanced Class A. He needs to improve his command, but if he does, the A's will have a gem.

For the Brewers, adding a hitter like Contreras will help improve their offense, which was 10th in runs scored but lacked a big right-handed bat after Willy Adames.

FREE AGENCY: Chris Bassitt to Toronto Blue Jays

Among the 30 or so best starting pitchers since establishing himself in 2019, Bassitt found big money plus a stable place to work by agreeing to a three-year, $63 million contract with the Blue Jays.

The 34-year-old right-hander joins a starting rotation that includes Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, José Berríos and left-hander Yusei Kikuchi. Last season, Bassitt had a 3.42 ERA with 167 strikeouts in 30 starts for the Mets, helping them win 101 games and a playoff berth. His 2022 results looked a lot like his career numbers, with similar strikeout and walk rates. In fact, many of Bassitt's statistics are oddly consistent from year to year.

A 16th-round pick by the White Sox from Akron in 2011, Bassitt never became a huge prospect but consistently got results before reaching the majors at age 25. He was packaged in a trade with Marcus Semien for Jeff Samardzija at the Winter Meetings in December 2014. The White Sox probably should have just kept Bassitt, whose ERA is about 1.00 lower than Samardzija's since the trade.

Bassitt has worked around Tommy John surgery (in 2017) and a scary line drive off his face (in 2021) to become an All-Star. If the Jays could get Berríos also back on track, they surely would have one of the top rotations in MLB.

Saturday, Dec. 10

GettyImages-1332841235

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 07: Pitcher Kodai Senga #21 of Team Japan throws in the sixth inning against Team United States during the gold medal game between Team United States and Team Japan on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 07, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

FREE AGENCY: Kodai Senga to New York Mets

The Mets' offseason spending spree continued with the news that Senga has agreed to come to Queens.

Senga reportedly gets a five-year contract for $75 million, which includes a player opt-out following Year Three. The Mets already had projected to have a payroll just over $308 million for 2023 after adding free-agent pitchers Justin Verlander, José Quintana and David Robertson and bringing back outfielder Brandon Nimmo and closer Edwin Díaz. Senga rounds out the starting rotation, which also includes Max Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco. Jacob deGrom and Taijuan Walker signed elsewhere, and Chris Bassitt appears likely to leave as well.

No matter, the Mets are paying a record amount for payroll in 2023, not to mention the luxury tax penalties.

Senga, who turns 30 in January, has been clocked throwing his fastball 101.9 mph, with an average of 96 mph. His top off-speed pitch is a split-finger forkball nicknamed "Ghost Fork." In 2022, he had a 1.89 ERA with 156 strikeouts, 49 walks and just seven home runs allowed in 144 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the NPB's Pacific League.

For his career, Senga has a 2.59 ERA with 1,252 strikeouts and 414 walks in 1,089 innings pitched. He reportedly requested more than once to be posted by his club, but Fukuoka denied him every time, which is why he's only coming to MLB now.

Senga is obviously a great talent, but two concerns stick out among his basic stats. He has surpassed 150 innings in a season just twice, and 414 walks in 1,089 innings is a lot.

FREE AGENCY: Kevin Kiermaier to Toronto Blue Jays

Since he came into the league in 2013, no outfielder has earned more total runs saved than Kevin Kiermaier. This is why, despite a roughly league average output at the plate, the 32-year-old has been one of the 50 or so most valuable players in the league by WAR at FanGraphs. Look no further than that as to why the Blue Jays reportedly agreed to a contract with him for the 2023 season. The Dodgers also were interested after losing Cody Bellinger.

Salary details have not been reported yet, but Kiermaier earned $12.1 million with the Rays in 2022 before they declined an extension. The three-time Gold Glove winner endured a hip injury that required surgery in August. Injuries limited him to 63 games last season, when he batted .228/.281/.369 with seven home runs, six stolen bases and 14 walks. He's a .248/.308/.407 hitter with 82 homers and 112 stolen bases for his career, with his most recent Gold Glove coming in 2019. Kiermaier turns 33 in April, so we’ll see how much the effects of surgery have on his game, especially in the early part of 2023.

Thursday, Dec. 8

USATSI_19176311

Oct 4, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) celebrates his solo home run against the Washington Nationals with teammates in the dugout during the fourth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Brandon Nimmo and David Robertson to New York Mets

The wallet of Mets owner Steve Cohen remained wide open for business, even though the Winter Meetings had closed, at least officially, the day before.

The Mets' projected payroll for 2023 zoomed past $300 million with the news they had agreed to sign Nimmo, their own free-agent outfielder, and Robertson, a right-handed relief pitcher. Nimmo's deal is for eight years and $162 million, and Robertson will earn $10 million on a one-year pact.

The final amount of the payroll is to be determined, but the Mets are the biggest spenders in MLB history.

Nimmo, who turns 30 in March, has been a strong top-of-the-order presence since making his debut in 2016, he just lacks a consistent history of staying healthy. He played close to a full 162-game season for the second time in his career in 2022, batting .274/.367/.433 with 16 home runs, 30 doubles, a league-high seven triples, 102 runs scored and 71 walks in 673 plate appearances — easily his most since 2018. For his career, Nimmo is a .269/.385/.441 hitter, and only 10 outfielders have accumulated more WAR at FanGraphs since his first full season in 2017. He's been about as valuable as Ronald Acuña and Kris Bryant. In the field, he's been a neutral center fielder (better at the corners), though Fielding Bible ranked him at minus-3 total runs saved in the outfield.

Robertson, even as age 38 approaches, remains a consistent middle-late option for every bullpen he joins. Robertson put as much spin on his fastball as any pitcher in the league, enabling him to finish in the 90th percentile in strikeout percentage despite averaging a mediocre 93 mph with his cutter in 2022. He posted a 2.40 ERA with 20 saves in 63 2/3 innings with the Cubs and Phillies in 2022, and he has a 2.89 ERA in 731 career games. He also has a 2.78 ERA in 41 career postseason appearances.

Wednesday, Dec. 7

TRADE: Joe Jiménez to Atlanta Braves

After losing right-hander Kenley Jansen in free agency, the Braves found an underrated replacement for one of the most dominant relievers in history.

The Braves acquired the right-handed Jiménez from the Tigers for two prospects, outfielder Justyn-Henry Malloy and left-hander Jake Higginbotham. Atlanta plans to use Raisel Iglesias in the closer's role going forward, slotting Jiménez among left-handers A.J. Minter and Dylan Lee and righties Collin McHugh, Kirby Yates, Nick Anderson and Dennis Santana.

Jiménez, who turns 28 in January, primarily uses a 96-mph four-seam fastball and an 85-mph slider that improved in 2022. He posted a 3.49 ERA with 77 strikeouts and 21 walks in 56 2/3 innings, bouncing back after a pair of down seasons. His 33.3 strikeout percentage and 5.6 walk percentage were the best of his career. Batters are bothered by the speed and spin of his four-seamer, and he's effective at getting them to chase pitches out of the zone.

An All-Star in 2018, Jiménez has a 5.24 ERA in nearly 300 appearances since his rookie season in 2017. He'll be a free agent in 2024, and with the Tigers apparently not on the verge of competing in the AL Central, moving Jiménez makes some sense.

Malloy is an intriguing prospect, ranked No. 11 on the club by MLB.com, who has batted .285/.404/.450 with 22 home runs, 33 doubles, nine stolen bases and 121 walks in 738 career plate appearances over two seasons. He has played 82 games at third base and 62 in the outfield. Malloy, who turns 23 in February, ascended as far as Triple A (for eight games) in 2022. He batted .306/.438/.444 with a home run, five doubles and 16 walks in 20 games in the Arizona Fall League.

FREE AGENCY: Xander Bogaerts to San Diego Padres

The Padres missed on Trea Turner, couldn't entice Carlos Correa and appeared to be a third wheel with Aaron Judge. But general manager A.J. Preller had free-agent money to spend on a star and, doggone it, he was going to spend it.

The Padres and Bogaerts reportedly agreed to a contract for 11 years and $280 million late Wednesday night, giving San Diego a lineup that also includes Manny Machado, Juan Soto and, once he returns from PED suspension, Fernando Tatis Jr. With Bob Melvin managing and much of the baggage of previous seasons tossed away, the Padres reached the NL Championship Series in 2022 before running into the Phillies. They’ve added a big piece in Bogaerts, a four-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger recipient.

This offseason, the Padres also re-signed Nick Martinez and Robert Suárez while losing Josh Bell and Mike Clevinger. The status of Brandon Drury, Jurickson Profar, Sean Manaea, Wil Myers and others remains up in the air. San Diego was sixth in payroll in 2022 and second in 2021, and it appears headed to that zone again after zooming past $230 million in payroll.

Bogaerts, who turned 30 in October, batted .307/.377/.456 with 15 home runs, 38 doubles and 57 walks in 150 games for the Red Sox, with whom he had played parts of 10 seasons and helped to win two World Series. Bogaerts also ranked 15th among shortstops with at least 500 innings in total runs saved (+5), per Fielding Bible. He also plays third base, but it seems unlikely that Machado is being moved off the corner.

There has been talk, along with some action, of Tatis being moved to the outfield. It would appear that is in the offing for real now. With Tatis out in 2022, the Padres got a great season at shortstop from Ha-Seong Kim, who now figures to slide to second base with Jake Cronenworth moving to first. Kim is a better defender at short than anyone else on the team, but he’s down a few rungs in the shortstop hierarchy.

Among shortstops, only Francisco Lindor has accumulated more WAR at FanGraphs than Bogaerts since he came into the majors in 2013. During that span, Bogaerts is also third among shortstops in win probability added (behind Turner and Corey Seager), and he's ninth in wRC+ (118). His base-running reputation is also among the three or four best at his position.

The Red Sox have been active, notably adding closer Kenley Jansen and outfielder Masataka Yoshida from Japan, but the loss of Bogaerts is significant. Boston, which missed the playoffs last season, figure to put Trevor Story — if healthy — back at shortstop in 2023.

USATSI_16508421

Aug 4, 2021; Yokohama, Japan; Team Japan outfielder Masataka Yoshida (34) hits a single against Korea in a baseball semifinal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Masataka Yoshida to Boston Red Sox

Yoshida and the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a five-year, $90 million contract, with Boston also having to pay a $15.4 million fee to his former team. He is a bit of a mystery and gamble because he comes from Japan's major leagues, but the outfielder might be the most intriguing talent on the free-agent market.

The Red Sox hope, not without good reason, that Yoshida's amazing bat-to-ball skills translate from the NPB. The 29-year-old batted .336/.449/.559 with 21 home runs, 28 doubles, 82 walks and 42 strikeouts in 121 games for Osaka's Orix Buffaloes of the Pacific League. He stands a reported 5-foot-8 and 176 pounds and has drawn comparisons to Dustin Pedroia.

The pitching styles differ across the Pacific, so comparisons can be tricky. However, only Luis Arráez of the Twins had a lower strikeout rate among MLB players. Yoshida's most recent results are consistent with those from throughout his career with the Buffaloes, who posted him earlier in the offseason. He has led the league in OPS the past two seasons.

The Red Sox figure to put Yoshida at (or near) the top of their lineup and play him in left field.

FREE AGENCY: José Quintana to New York Mets

Placed on waivers by the Angels amid deep struggles in 2021, Quintana appeared to figure out his issues in 2022. The left-hander produced his best results in years and turned his resurgence into a multiyear contract with the Mets.

Quintana, who posted a career-low 2.93 ERA in 32 starts for the Pirates and Cardinals last season, agreed to a two-year, $26 million contract to join Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Carlos Carrasco and perhaps another big name in the Mets’ starting rotation. Quintana, who turns 34 in January, tied with left-hander Tyler Anderson for 16th among all starters with 4.0 WAR at FanGraphs, but he didn't fare as well using Baseball Prospectus' deserved run average — he was 99th of 140 pitchers who had at least 100 innings.

Still, he’s the type who frequently outperforms expectations of advanced metrics. To that end, Quintana has a 3.75 ERA with 1,532 strikeouts and 504 walks in 315 career appearances (289 starts) with six teams over 11 MLB seasons. He is a good bet to help the Mets win more games relatively inexpensively. One notable side factor regarding his salary: The arrival of Verlander and Quintana will push the Mets beyond a 90% luxury tax threshold, a line that jokingly is nicknamed after Mets owner Steve Cohen. The Mets also will be penalized in the draft, but it’s likely to be well worth it.

Quintana actually started his professional career in the Mets organization out of Colombia, and he moved to the Yankees organization while still in his teens. The White Sox picked him up as a minor-league free agent, and he reached the majors for the first time with them in 2012 at 23. By 26, he was an All-Star, and while it hasn't always been 100% smooth sailing, his career has been a big success.

TRADE: Brooks Raley to New York Mets

The Mets struggled to find effective left-handed relief options in 2022, so they are being proactive about addressing their bullpen. They agreed to a trade with the Rays for Raley, a left-hander who posted a 2.68 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings with Tampa Bay in 2022. Raley, 34, joins Edwin Díaz and Drew Smith as a late-inning option for manager Buck Showalter.

Pitching prospect Keyshawn Askew, a 21-year-old left-hander with two pro seasons no higher than advanced Class A, heads to the Rays.

Raley limited left-handed batters to a .155/.200/.282 batting line in 76 plate appearances, and he was solid against righties (.208/.301/.272) in 143 plate appearances. He's effective at using a slider and a changeup to create soft contact, and he has a 26.7 strikeout percentage and 8.2 walk percentage for his career. FanGraphs rated him as the 54th most valuable reliever, near Brock Burke and Ryne Stanek, but there’s also not much difference between ranking 37th and 73rd.

Raley stands to make $4.5 million in 2023 and $6.5 million in 2024, which is a team option year with a $1.25 million buyout. The Rays typically have a lot of pitching depth and are conditioned to cut costs where expedient, so they must figure Raley can be replaced with a similar arm. Tampa Bay can use money earmarked for him on someone else. Askew, a 10th-round pick in 2021, is also 13 years younger.

FREE AGENCY: Kenley Jansen to Boston Red Sox

Continuing to address what was a collective weak spot this past season, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a two-year, $32 million contract with Jansen. The relief ace, who recently turned 35, had strikeout and walk rates in 2022 that weren't far off from his career norms, but he did have seven blown saves, one off his career high. Overall, he has been the most valuable relief pitcher, or 1A with Craig Kimbrel, since he debuted with the Dodgers in 2010.

Jansen, who led the NL with 41 saves for the Braves in 2022, has 391 career saves over 13 seasons, and he has an adjusted ERA that's nearly 60% better than league average. His win probability added is fourth all time among qualified relievers, his 35.4 strikeout percentage is eighth all time and his soft contact percentage is 24th since 2010. There's a lot of ways Jansen can still get hitters out, and while he wasn't as effective this past season, he still was among the top 40 or so most valuable relievers as ranked by FanGraphs.

The Red Sox also have added right-hander Chris Martin and left-hander Joely Rodríguez to a bullpen that was one of the worst collectively in 2022 but has some intriguing options. John Schreiber emerged as one of the 15 or so top relievers as a rookie, Tanner Houck still showed promise last season and Garrett Whitlock could be in the ‘pen too if starting doesn't pan out.

FREE AGENCY: Willson Contreras to St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals couldn't do much better at catcher than Yadier Molina, particularly during the prime of his career. They knew replacing a strong Hall of Fame bet would be a significant undertaking this offseason, the first in almost 20 years the Cardinals wouldn't have Molina ensconced behind the plate and in the lineup. Fortunately for them, one of the top catchers of the current generation was made available in free agency.

On the last official day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego, the Cards pounced at the opportunity to add Contreras, the most productive hitter among catchers not only in 2022 but also since he debuted in 2016 with the Cubs. The Cards and Contreras reportedly agreed to a five-year, $87.5 million contract that fills the biggest gap in St. Louis' lineup. Contreras will cost the Cards a draft pick after he turned down the Cubs' qualifying offer, and his deal is the ninth-biggest for a catcher (per season) in MLB history, according to Cot's Contracts.

Contreras joins NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt and perennial Gold Glove slugger Nolan Arenado as another star in the Redbirds order. He batted .243/.349/.466 with 22 home runs, 23 doubles and 45 walks in 113 games with the Cubs in 2022. He's a .256/.349/.459 career hitter with 117 homers in 2,859 plate appearances for his career, producing a 118 wRC+ that outpaces every catcher in that span — Yasmani Grandal, Buster Posey (who is retired), J.T. Realmuto, Salvador Perez. All of ‘em.

The 30-year-old isn't as strong defensively among his contemporaries, or when compared to Molina, but only five active catchers have played more innings behind the plate since 2016. Contreras is +11 in total runs saved in that span, per Fielding Bible, which ranks him 32nd of 86 catchers. His pitch framing ranked 35th among qualified catchers in 2022. The legend he replaces, Molina, actually was the ninth-best framer in the league, per MLB Savant, in his final season.

The Cardinals still need to pursue additional starting pitching, with left-hander Carlos Rodón, one of the top free agents heading into the offseason, still available. Top shortstops like Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson also are available.

USATSI_19083942

Sep 20, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates his 60th home run of the season with teammates in the dugout during the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Aaron Judge returns to New York Yankees

He might have been a Giant, but Judge won’t follow the career path of Barry Bonds after all. The 30-year-old outfielder reportedly considered leaving the Bronx for the team of his childhood before deciding New York was indeed the best place to make hundreds of millions playing baseball.

Judge, who set the single-season AL record while wearing a Yankees uniform in 2022, will return in 2023 and beyond after reportedly agreeing to a nine-year, $360 million contract. Judge will make more per season than any other player in MLB history. It was said he could have instead picked the Giants, his favorite team growing up in Northern California, but he went with the Yankees.

Judge did the free-agent dance with his original club, turning down preseason extension offers that produced serious amounts of angst in New York before finally agreeing once Yankees ownership upped its offer amid pressure from the Giants and other teams, including the Padres at the last moment. Judge bet on himself and won, the narrative went repeatedly during the season and after.

Judge, who turns 31 in April, batted an absurdly good .311/.425/.686 with 62 home runs, 131 RBIs, 133 runs scored, 111 walks and even 16 stolen bases this past season in one of the top offensive performances since Bonds broke myriad records a generation ago.

Unlike Bonds, who jumped from the Pirates to the Giants in free agency exactly 30 years and one day earlier, Judge is sticking with the club that drafted him. Bonds has said he nearly picked the Yankees instead, incidentally. Now that Judge has opted to remain in New York, the Bronx Bombers can continue to add pieces around him in an effort to win the World Series for the first time since 2009.

The Giants, who hours earlier announced that outfielder Mitch Haniger had agreed to a three-year, $43.5 million contract with them, also need to get back to work to close the gap on the Dodgers (and Padres) in the NL West.

Tuesday, Dec. 6

FREE AGENCY: Jameson Taillon to Chicago Cubs

Promising to be more active with bigger names in free agency for the first time in a while, the Cubs agreed late Tuesday to a four-year, $68 million contract with Taillon. A few hours earlier, the Cubs agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Cody Bellinger.

Taillon, the second overall pick in 2010 and a former top-10 consensus prospect with the Pirates, has overcome two Tommy John surgeries and testicular cancer to find long-term security with the Cubs. The right-hander posted a 3.91 ERA with 151 strikeouts and just 32 walks in 177 1/3 innings over 32 starts with the Yankees in 2022.

Taillon, who turned 31 in November, has a 3.84 ERA in parts of six seasons since 2016. He's made 61 starts combined the past two seasons in the Bronx and has been about the 40th most-valuable starting pitcher in that span, per FanGraphs.

USATSI_19226231

Oct 13, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger (17) reacts after scoring against the Houston Astros on a a one-run RBI single hit by left fielder Dylan Moore (not pictured) during the fourth inning of game two of the ALDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Mitch Haniger to San Francisco Giants

With the possibility brewing for the biggest name in free agency to join him soon, Haniger and the Giants agreed to a three-year, $43.5 million contract. The deal includes a player opt-out after the second season.

Haniger, who grew up in the Bay Area before becoming an All-Star with the Mariners, used his own signing as an opportunity to recruit Aaron Judge, whom the Giants also have been linked this offseason. Judge appears to be deciding between joining the Giants, who also are his hometown team, and returning to the Yankees for a reported sum between $300 million and $400 million.

The Giants, for sure, will have Haniger, who turns 32 just before Christmas and batted .246/.308/.429 with 11 home runs in 57 games for Seattle in 2022 after returning from an ankle injury and COVID-19. He's had terrible injury luck throughout his career; only twice has Haniger played a full season, most recently in 2021 when he hit 39 home runs in 157 games.

For his career, he's a .261/.335/.476 hitter with a 122 wRC+, which makes Haniger about 22% above the average player offensively. Since he came into the league with Arizona in 2016, Haniger ranks 60th among qualified bats, regardless of position.

Haniger was +3 in total runs saved in 2022 and is +17 in total runs saved for his career (mostly in right field), which ranks 46th among 232 outfielders with at least 1,000 innings logged on defense since 2016.

FREE AGENCY: Cody Bellinger to Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are taking a chance that Bellinger can recover his lost MVP hitting stroke, after both sides reportedly agreed to a one-year, $17.5 million contract for 2023.

Bellinger, who won NL Rookie of the year in 2017, NLCS MVP in 2018 and NL MVP in 2019, hasn't been the same hitter over the past three seasons, bottoming out in 2021 when he hit .165/.240/.302 in 95 games for an incomprehensibly low 47 wRC+ — offensive production that stood 53% below league average.

In 2022, Bellinger was better, batting .210/.265/.389 with 17 home runs in 144 games, stats that calculate to 17% below league average. He has had chronic shoulder problems, infamously dislocating it when celebrating a big home run with a forearm bash in the 2020 World Series. It's possible that a balky shoulder explains at least part of his struggles at the plate. But will it get any better?

Bellinger has a strong reputation on defense. Fielding Bible rated him as neutral in center field in 2022 and about the same in 2021, but he ranked as the seventh-best center fielder in 2020 and the third-best right fielder in 2019. He also rates highly as a baserunner. He's still just 27 years old.

Coincidentally (or not), Bellinger's abilities, production and issues mirror those of Jason Heyward, whom the Cubs recently let go a full year before his massive contract ran out. Heyward was a strong hitter early in his career and, even as his bat flattened out, remained an elite fielder until his last two to three seasons.

As for the Dodgers, they have watched other teams scoop up multiple free agents of theirs, including Bellinger, Trea Turner, Tyler Anderson, Tommy Kahnle and Andrew Heaney. Justin Turner also might land elsewhere. But they did re-up with legendary lefty Clayton Kershaw.

FREE AGENCY: Taijuan Walker to Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies kept busy by adding right-hander Taijuan Walker to a four-year, $72 million contract a day after they added star shortstop Trea Turner.

Walker, 30, had his best individual season with the Mets in 2022 after making the All-Star team with them for the first time in 2021. One of the 40-50 best starting pitchers in the league this past season, Walker posted a 3.49 ERA to go with 132 strikeouts, 45 walks and just 15 home runs allowed in 29 starts covering 157 1/3 innings.

For his 10-year career, which also includes stints with the Mariners, Diamondbacks and six starts with the Blue Jays in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Walker has a 3.89 ERA and 806 strikeouts in 898 innings. He slots into Philly's rotation behind Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and left-hander Ranger Suarez. Side note: Walker actually will make more money in 2023 than Wheeler or Nola.

The Phillies also added left-handed reliever Matt Strahm for two years and $15 million.

FREE AGENCY: Josh Bell to Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians made their first serious foray into free agency in at least five years, reportedly agreeing to a two-year, $33 million contract with Bell that includes a player opt-out after the upcoming season. Assuming the slugger returns to previous form at the plate, Bell gives the Guardians the kind of big stick in the middle of the lineup they lacked in 2022 during an overwhelmingly successful, if surprising, run to the playoffs.

Bell, 30, began 2022 having one of his best individual seasons with the Nationals, batting .301/.384./.493 with 14 home runs, 24 doubles and 49 walks in his first 103 games. Once he was traded to the Padres with Juan Soto at the deadline, Bell finished with the worst 53-game offensive stretch of his career, batting .192/.316/.271 with just three homers. Bell's massive slump appears to have cost him a lot of guaranteed money on the free-agent market, at least for now, and it’s why he wanted an opt-out clause.

Adding Bell makes a lot of sense for Cleveland, which is a stronger bet to win the AL Central again and go further in the postseason in 2023. For his career, he is a .262/.351/.459 hitter who averages 25 homers, 30 doubles and 77 walks for every 162 games.

The Guardians haven't been a big player in free agency since bringing in first baseman Yonder Alonso for two years and $16 million before the 2018 season. Alonso had a nearly league average season before he was traded the following offseason to the White Sox. A year before, right after making the World Series, Cleveland added Edwin Encarnacion for three years and $60 million. After two typically strong seasons, Encarnacion was traded to Seattle. Regardless, Guardians ownership has been shy about spending on free agents until now.

FREE AGENCY: Andrew Heaney to Texas Rangers

Heaney parlayed the lowest ERA of his career into a big free-agent deal, reportedly agreeing to a two-year, $25 million contract (with up to $37 million in incentives) that includes an opt-out for the player after the upcoming season. It's a complementary move for Rangers GM Chris Young, who added ace Jacob deGrom to lead the club's starting rotation. Heaney slots after deGrom, left-hander Martín Pérez and Jon Gray and ahead of Jake Odorizzi, Dane Dunning and high-end prospect Cole Winn.

With the Dodgers last season, Heaney posted a 3.10 ERA with 110 strikeouts and 19 walks over 72 2/3 innings in 16 appearances (including 14 starts). He also made a three-inning relief appearance against the Padres in Game 2 of the NL Division Series, a 2-1 loss. In all, it was the best season of Heaney's career when compared to the rest of the league. The Dodgers overhauled his delivery and repertoire, having the 31-year-old left-hander throw a sweeping slider with big success.

Before the Dodgers experience, Heaney always had been a pitcher with tantalizing stuff but mediocre results. For his career, he has a 4.56 ERA with 760 strikeouts and 198 walks in 137 appearances with four teams, mostly the Angels. His career adjusted ERA is about 7% below league average, but even without the recent improvement, he would bring value in being average for 5.4 innings per start for his career.

FREE AGENCY: Tommy Kahnle to New York Yankees

Kahnle got his professional start with the Yankees organization 12 1/2 years ago and had significant success as a high-leverage reliever with them. The right-hander returns to the Bronx for the next phase of his MLB career at age 33.

The Yankees reportedly signed Kahnle to a two-year, $11.5 million contract, bolstering an already deep and effective bullpen and keeping him away from other suitors, notably those the AL East like the rival Red Sox.

This past season, Kahnle recovered from Tommy John surgery two years ago in time to pitch 12 2/3 innings for the Dodgers down the stretch, posting a 2.84 ERA with 14 strikeouts. That, plus a positive history with the Yankees from 2017 to 2020 and the promise of more, was enough to make New York commit.

Kahnle, a fifth-round pick of the Yankees in 2010 who was lost to Colorado in the Rule 5 Draft before the 2014 season, has a 3.78 ERA with 358 strikeouts in 298 career appearances with four teams. He does have a recurring injury history, having reached 60 innings just three times in parts of eight full seasons. However, two of those seasons came with the Yankees.

The Yankees were only 24th in bullpen usage in 2022 but were fifth in WAR (at FanGraphs) and win probability. Clay Holmes appears set as the closer, with Kahnle, Jonathan Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta as important setup options. Ron Marinaccio and Albert Abreu also emerged as key depth in 2022.

One area where Kahnle can help improve the Yankees is strikeouts. He had a 30.4 strikeout percentage in his short time with the Dodgers in 2022, and he owns a 29.3 strikeout percentage for his career. Yankees relievers ranked 12th in strikeouts at 24.2%. Houston relievers (28.3%) were first.

Monday, Dec. 5

USATSI_18879323

Aug 16, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) delivers against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Justin Verlander to New York Mets

Cy Young out, Cy Young in. The Mets wasted little time replacing one of their elite starting pitchers with another one of similarly high repute.

Free-agent right-hander Justin Verlander reportedly agreed Monday to leave the Astros for a two-year, $86.66 million contract with the Mets that includes a vesting option for a third year. His deal comes in the wake of the Mets losing right-hander Jacob deGrom to the Rangers on Friday.

Verlander's annual salary of $43.33 million equals that of teammate Max Scherzer, who signed with the Mets before the 2022 season for $130 million over three years. Verlander and Scherzer are, per season, the highest-paid players in MLB.

Verlander, who turns 40 in January, won the AL Cy Young award in 2022 and finished 10th in MVP voting in helping the Astros win the World Series. One of his best individual seasons came two years after losing most of the 2020 season and all of 2021 to Tommy John surgery and recovery. His league-leading 1.75 ERA was the lowest of his 17-year career, which includes three Cy Young trophies and the 2011 AL MVP. Verlander is a likely Hall of Famer once he retires. He needs 56 more victories to become the 25th 300-game winner in MLB history.

The Mets needed to pivot after losing deGrom, who, at 34, signed with Texas for five years and $185 million, plus an option year that could boost the total value to $222 million. They are banking on Verlander's overall health continuing to be strong as his Tommy John surgery gets further in the rearview mirror. They saw deGrom, who also had Tommy John 10 years ago, as riskier because he has missed about 38 starts the past two seasons with various injuries, including an ominous-sounding stress reaction in his scapula.

FREE AGENCY: Trea Turner to Philadelphia Phililes

The Phillies finished two victories short of winning the World Series in 2022, so it was logical for them to pursue big names in free agency. They just needed to show the will to spend the big money that comes with the big names.

The Phillies continued their expensive pursuit of a championship by reportedly adding one of the biggest names on the market — shortstop Trea Turner — for 11 years and $300 million. It's tied for the ninth-most lucrative contract, in total value, in MLB history.

Turner ranks 10th in WAR at FanGraphs, just ahead of Manny Machado, since becoming a full-time player in 2016, and he was considered the top shortstop available in free agency ahead of Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson. Turner, who turns 30 in June, batted .298/.343/.466 with 39 doubles, 21 home runs, four triples, 45 walks and 27 stolen bases for the Dodgers in 2022. He has made two All-Star teams and finished in the top-11 in MVP voting three times since debuting with the Nationals in 2015. Defensively, he rated -1 on total runs saved at Fielding Bible but is +14 in 7,145 career innings.

The Phillies have added many big names in recent years, starting with Bryce Harper but also including Zack Wheeler, J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos. They went over the luxury-tax threshold by about $7 million in 2022 thanks to a $237.1 million payroll, and, according to Cot's Contracts, they have about $25 million of space before they would surpass it again in 2023.

While pricey, Turner gives them another great player to complement Harper, Schwarber and Realmuto, and he can bat at the top of the order and make Philly's offense even more potent.

FREE AGENCY: Clayton Kershaw returns to Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers brought back their left-handed legend who continues to be a relative bargain in his mid-30s.

They re-signed Kershaw to a contract for the 2023 season worth $20 million, a $3 million raise over 2022 but still much less than what he was making three years ago. Kershaw posted a 2.28 ERA with 137 strikeouts and 23 walks in 22 starts this past season, making the All-Star team for the ninth time in 15 years with the Dodgers.

Kershaw made the bulk of his career money, about $231.3 million, from 2015 to 2020, when he averaged about $33 million in salary per season. Kershaw has taken big pay cuts the past two seasons, when he's made a combined $37 million. He could have insisted on more money or likely gotten it from another team, such as his hometown Rangers, but the Dodgers seem to realize that Kershaw likes where he’s at in life.

Kershaw, who turns 35 in March, is not as effective today as he was at his peak, when he topped at 8.6 WAR on FanGraphs in 2015 and averaged 7.3 WAR from 2011 to 2016. But he's still one of the 10 or so most valuable pitchers since 2018. His output has been reduced because nagging injuries have caused him to miss occasional starts, perhaps 20 combined the past two seasons.

EXTENSION: Brian Cashman signs four-year deal with Yankees

The Yankees announced that Cashman, their senior vice president and general manager, had been signed to a four-year contract extension. Cashman, 55, has been the Yankees' GM since 1998 when he was 30 years old. Media reports late in the regular season indicated that ownership wanted him to continue, and why not?

The Yankees have been a straight-up success under Cashman, although more so in the earlier days when the team won the World Series during his first three seasons in charge. They added another championship in 2009 and have won the AL East 14 times since he was promoted to replace Bob Watson. The Yankees have missed the playoffs just four times in 25 seasons since then, averaging about 93 victories per season.

FREE AGENCY: Carlos Estévez to Los Angeles Angels

The Angels signed the right-handed reliever to a two-year contract reportedly worth $7 million, as general manager Perry Minasian continues to add pieces in an effort to get the club back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Estévez, who debuted in 2016, has experience closing games and posted a 3.47 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 57 innings for the Rockies in 2022. He's had three above-average seasons as a reliever with Colorado, not an easy achievement for anyone with home games at Coors Field.

His 23.0 strikeout percentage and 9.8% walk rate in 2022 are typical of his career. He improved his percentage of soft contact by more than double last season.

The Angels bullpen was a definite weak spot, ranking 25th in FanGraphs WAR and next-to-last in soft-contact percentage. Jimmy Herget and Ryan Tepera also could compete for the closer's job this spring. Aaron Loup, Andrew Wantz, José Quijada, and Jaime Barria are also in the ‘pen.

The Angels started their offseason reshuffling early, adding left-hander Tyler Anderson in free agency and acquiring infielder Gio Urhela and outfielder Hunter Renfroe in separate trades. In smaller deals, they added right-handers César Valdez and Chris Devenski to the bullpen depth. Their rotation would seem set with Shohei Ohtani, Anderson, Patrick Sandoval, José Suárez and Reid Detmers. All had sub-4.00 ERAs in 2022.

Saturday, Dec. 3

USATSI_19082781

Sep 20, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Kyle Gibson to Baltimore Orioles

The right-hander signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the Orioles after turning down an identical offer from the Blue Jays. Gibson, who turned 35 in October, posted a 5.05 ERA in 31 starts and made two scoreless postseason relief appearances for the Phillies in 2022. He was an AL All-Star with the Rangers in 2021 before coming over to Philly in a deadline trade. He has a 4.52 ERA in 267 appearances (261 starts) over 10 seasons, mostly with the Twins.

Gibson's adjusted ERA is about 6% below league average for his career, but he does add value with 5.7 innings per start. The Orioles had one of the more improved pitching staffs in the league in 2022, but they still finished 21st in starters' ERA at 4.35. Gibson makes them better and keeps him away from one of their AL East competitors.

Friday, Dec. 2

USATSI_18543051

Jun 15, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets injured pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) looks on from the dugout during the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Jacob deGrom to Texas Rangers

The Rangers pulled off the biggest blockbuster move of the offseason so far, signing 34-year-old right-hander Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 million contract that makes him the second highest-paid player — per season — in MLB history. Only former Mets teammate, Max Scherzer, makes more money annually.

The biggest addition possible to the Rangers rotation comes on the heels of the club spending $500 million in free agents last offseason when they brought in Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray and Martín Pérez. The Rangers improved from 60 to 68 victories in 2022, but they probably should have won more. Changes were made at manager, with the hiring of Bruce Bochy, and in the front office, with general manager Chris Young given the reins.

The Rangers are probably not done dealing, considering they're spending significant amounts of owner Ray Davis' money. Adding a pitcher like deGrom to what they already have should make them contenders for something. He's widely considered to be the best pitcher in the league when healthy, and since he came into the league in 2014, only Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw have been more valuable.

Over the past two seasons, deGrom has missed about 38 starts for scary-sounding reasons like a stress reaction in his scapula and, before that, plain-old elbow pain. He had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and surgery in 2016 to repair nerve damage in his elbow. It should be noted that the Rangers have one of the most respected surgeons, Dr. Keith Meister, as their team physician.

Even at his salary, with a potential injury risk, deGrom is potentially a value. As big as his deal is at $37 million per season (with no deferrals and no state income tax in Texas), it's still dwarfed in total value by the $325 million heading Seager's way through the 2031 season. In terms of all-time total value, deGrom's deal barely breaches the top 30, according to Cot's Contracts. If a sixth-year option kicks in, he stands to make $222 million, which would put him 19th.

The Mets don't have deGrom anymore but they still have a lot of options, many of which $35 million to $40 million per season can cover. They could add a left-hander like Carlos Rodón (who has been linked to the Rangers, and still could go there!) or a right-hander like Justin Verlander, if you prefer likely Hall of Famers. They also could bring back Chris Bassitt, another of their own free agents. The Mets, while they’re the still Mets, will be fine.

Thursday, Dec. 1

USATSI_18596371

Jun 25, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin (56) throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: Zach Eflin to Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are on the verge of spending big money in free agency like never before in their history. They reportedly are set to sign Eflin to a three-year, $40 million contract. Once he passes a physical and the deal becomes official, the right-handed pitcher would eclipse lefty Wilson Alvarez, who signed for $35 million over five years in 1997, as the richest free agent by total value in club history.

In 2022, Eflin posted a 4.04 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 15 walks over 75 2/3 innings in 13 starts for the Phillies. They used him as a high-leverage reliever late in the season and during the playoffs after chronic knee problems continued to hound him, and he ran out of time before the postseason began to be stretched out for starts.

From the start of September through the playoffs, Eflin posted a 2.45 ERA with 21 strikeouts and two walks over 18 1/3 innings and was key in helping the Phillies reach the World Series. He also switched to a curveball and ditched his slider. For his career, he has a 4.49 ERA in 659 1/3 innings and is about 5% better than league average in adjusted ERA since 2019.

In addition to having strong command, Eflin allows a lot of soft contact. The Rays finished 14th in the league with 15 total runs saved on defense (per Fielding Bible) but were in the top 10 over four seasons before that.

Eflin, who turns 29 in April, will round out a Rays rotation that also includes right-handers Tyler Glasnow and Drew Rasmussen, along with left-handers Shane McClanahan and Jeffrey Springs. Tampa Bay's starters combined for the third-best ERA in the majors in 2022 but were last in innings pitched. The Rays were one of the first teams to drastically scale back the workload of their starting pitchers and use an oversized revolving stable of short relievers to finish games. Eflin averages 5.6 innings per start for his career.

Tuesday, Nov. 29

GettyImages-1428619005

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Shelby Miller #18 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the top of the six inning at Oracle Park on September 28, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

FREE AGENCY: Shelby Miller to Los Angeles Dodgers

Miller has a 7.02 ERA over 202 2/3 innings since the start of the 2016 season amid unrelenting injury problems, but the Dodgers must think they have something. Swiping him away from the Giants after a resurgence that came mostly in the minors, the Dodgers reportedly offered Miller a major-league contract with a spring-training invitation for 2023. At 32, the right-hander is probably a bullpen or opener option going forward for an organization that has proven adept at reclaiming pitchers previously thought to be damaged.

Miller was an All-Star at 24 with Atlanta in 2015 and was one of the 50 or so best starting pitchers overall from 2013 to 2015 until injuries (notably Tommy John surgery) overtook his career. Used as bait for Arizona in the Dansby Swanson trade, Miller has bounced around seven organizations since 2016. He cut back to two pitches — an effective slider and a 94-97 mph fastball — and put together two solid seasons in the minors before getting to the Giants in the majors in September/October. He struck out 14 (with a 46% K rate) over seven innings. The Giants reportedly wanted him back but not on a major-league deal.

The Dodgers appear to be confident that Miller will make the big club out of spring training. He is guaranteed $1.5 million plus incentives. Because of his lively fastball and slider, Dodgers Digest suspects he has a lot of upside.

Monday, Nov. 28

USATSI_18992164

Sep 5, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) hits a single against the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

FREE AGENCY: José Abreu to Houston Astros

The Astros upgraded significantly at first base by signing Abreu to a three-year, $58.5 million contract. They finished eighth overall in runs scored in 2022 on their way to winning the World Series, but, aside from catcher, first base was Houston's weakest offensive position. Only three teams in the league got less production there, with Yuli Gurriel getting most of the at-bats for the Astros.

Abreu turns 36 in late January, but only a few first basemen have been significantly better since he debuted in 2014. An AL MVP, a three-time All-Star and a three-time Silver Slugger winner with the White Sox over nine seasons, Abreu batted .304/.378/.446 with 15 home runs and 40 doubles in 157 games in 2022. His 137 wRC+ ranked 21st among all qualified hitters in MLB, right behind Cleveland's José Ramírez and just ahead of Abreu's new teammate, Alex Bregman. Abreu's 16.2% K% was the lowest of his career, and his 9.1% BB% was his second best.

A native of Cuba who joined White Sox at age 27, Abreu won the MVP in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but he has consistently been a key member of the White Sox clubhouse since he arrived, crossing language and cultural lines. He was deemed expendable by upper management because of a glut at his position and designated hitter, where the White Sox have several younger and cheaper alternatives who also need playing time. Andrew Vaughn figures to get most of the at-bats at first base in 2023.

Abreu's overall offensive results in 2022 were among the best of his career, but the White Sox also could be gambling that his power is running low. An approach apparently seeking more contact produced a .141 isolated power, which had been .225 for his career coming into the season and was a career-best .300 in 2020. Only 21 qualified players hit the ball on the ground more. He also slugged .414 with just four homers in the second half.

FREE AGENCY: Mike Clevinger to Chicago White Sox

The White Sox hope the right-hander can regain his pre-Tommy John form in 2023. He stands to make $12 million guaranteed after the two sides reportedly agreed to a one-year contract

Clevinger, who turns 32 just before Christmas, was one of the 10 or so best starting pitchers in the majors at his peak (2018 to 2019) and into 2020 with Cleveland before needing elbow reconstruction. In the two full seasons before his surgery, only Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer added significantly more value than Clevenger, according to FanGraphs.

In 22 starts with San Diego in 2022, Clevinger posted a 4.33 ERA with a reduced strikeout rate and 20 home runs allowed in 114 1/3 innings. He uses three kinds of fastballs along with a slider, changeup and curve, and he was one of the top strikeout pitchers in the league but regressed to the lower quarter in MLB in 2022, per MLB Statcast.

Clevinger gives the White Sox an impressive-sounding rotation that also includes Cy Young finalist Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn and Michael Kopech. Of that group, only Cease and Lynn were at their best in the second half as the White Sox lost ground to Cleveland and failed to repeat as AL Central champions.

Friday, Nov. 25

FREE AGENCY: Carlos Santana to Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates actually spent a relatively significant amount of money on a free agent, adding the first baseman/DH for a reported $6 million after he hit .202/.316/.376 with 19 home runs and 71 walks in 506 plate appearances for the Royals and Mariners in 2022. Santana's numbers work out to 102 wRC+, about 2% better than average when accounting for ballparks and the scoring environment in MLB. He was about as productive as Trey Mancini, Ketel Marte, Luke Voit and C.J. Cron.

Santana turns 37 in April, but he stands to benefit from the limitations put on defensive shifting next season. Nobody was shifted as much as him in 2022. For his career, Santana is a .242/.359/.432 hitter with 278 home runs, 1,148 walks, and 1,246 strikeouts over 13 seasons. The switch-hitter is reliably more potent from the right-handed batter's box. He was an All-Star in 2019 with Cleveland, his first MLB team, and has a strong reputation for leadership and clubhouse culture. He should blend in well with young Bucs like Ke'Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz, and Roansy Contreras.

The Pirates, who also traded for left-handed slugger and acrobatic first baseman Ji-Man Choi in November, had not spent so much on free agents since the 2016-2017 offseason, when they added right-handers Daniel Hudson and Ivan Nova. They're not expected to be playoff contenders in 2023.

Featured Podcast

See all