MLB free agency and trade mailbag: Bowden on shortstop market, contingency plans, more

On Tuesday, three free brokers ranked in my high 25 — Anthony Rizzo, Martín Pérez and Tyler Anderson — got here off the board as they agreed to offers with the Yankees, Rangers and Angels, respectively. So who will signal subsequent? What am I listening to in regards to the trade market? And what may some groups do, as they appear to handle their greatest wants, if they can not accomplish a high precedence?

Thank you to all the subscribers who submitted questions. In this mailbag, I answered 19 of them, beginning with a bunch of queries in regards to the free-agent shortstop market.

Questions have been edited for readability and size.


Do you see Andrew Friedman (and the Dodgers) making an actual effort to re-sign Trea Turner? —Robert F.

I do not assume Friedman goes to allocate $300 million for Turner, however he would really like him again his worth, no matter that’s. That mentioned, Friedman has loads of choices. He might attempt to signal Aaron Judge and transfer Gavin Lux to shortstop. He might pursue one of many different star free-agent shortstops: Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts or Dansby Swanson. However, he additionally has plenty of work to do on the pitching employees, and choices to make on Justin Turner (the Dodgers declined his membership choice however might pursue a reunion) and Cody Bellinger (deciding whether or not to trade or tender him). Friedman has the sources and payroll flexibility to do what he desires. The Dodgers might be one of the vital fascinating offseason storylines to observe.

If the Braves lose Swanson (in free agency), do they attempt to change him by signing a free agent or do they assume Vaughn Grissom can deal with shortstop on a every day foundation? — Kevin P.

Grissom definitely has the instruments, however he was uncovered on the plate late within the season and that must be a priority. My two cents: If the Braves cannot convey again Swanson, then they need to do every thing they’ll to land Trea Turner. This staff can turn into a dynasty, however not with out an elite shortstop who can dominate on the plate and within the discipline.

(If you are the Phillies), do you go along with Bryson Stott and Edmund Sosa up the center and spend on a starter and the bullpen, or go huge and signal somebody from the bumper shortstop class? — Daniel M.

The Phillies assume Sosa is an on a regular basis shortstop. I disagree; I feel he is an on a regular basis defensive shortstop, however I do not assume he would hit sufficient to be their on a regular basis shortstop. Therefore, I might signal one of many high shortstops, then transfer Stott to second base. I might attempt to convey again Zach Eflin as a starter, however would really feel snug realizing that prospects Andrew Painter and Mick Abel are going to be essential components of the Phillies’ future rotations, in order that they needn’t allocate cash for more elite beginning pitching Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Painter might be particular in 2023.

What’s your finest guess in regards to the Cubs signing one of many huge 4 free-agent shortstops? There’s been a lot again and forth about whether or not they would spend the cash or (supply) the years, so an informed guess can be good to listen to. — Susan M.

I feel the Cubs can land one of many high 4 free-agent shortstops if and provided that they’re ready to go 10 years and $300 million. Chicago must overpay as a result of most of these shortstops favor to play for a contender. Will staff president Jed Hoyer and Cubs possession supply a market deal or blow away the competitors, dangling probably the most years and {dollars}? Time will inform. They will not land one at simply market worth although. It’s not going to occur.


Bo Bichette (Dan Hamilton/USA Today)

If you are the Blue Jays, do you look to trade Bo Bichette and signal one of many (high free-agent) shortstops? — Dan W.

I’m not buying and selling Bichette; he is the Blue Jays’ long-term answer at shortstop. What the Blue Jays want is a left-handed hitting outfielder, and a free agent resembling Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto or Andrew Benintendi would match the invoice. Then they should take their surplus of catchers and flip one in every of them into two swing-and-miss relievers to spice up their bullpen.

So when the Giants miss out on Judge, Correa, Turner, (Carlos) Rodón and Bogaerts, who’s the comfort prize? — Brian H.

I do not assume they will miss out on all of these free brokers. The Giants have their checkbook out, loads of payroll off the books and a stadium that is paid for. It’s time for checkbook baseball within the Bay Area, and everyone knows I’m not referring to the A’s.

What can the Angels accomplish this offseason with their wants within the outfield and the rotation? And are they critically keen on any of the big-name shortstops? — Ed O.

After signing Anderson to a three-year deal on Tuesday, the Angels are anticipated to now work aggressively to land a shortstop and a nook outfielder.

Do you see the Tigers as a official contender for Correa? If so, what can be the plan with Javier Baez? Second base? — Steve H.

I’m not listening to the Tigers are “in” on any of the highest free brokers, and I do not view their staff as shut sufficient to contender standing to make such an funding, as they mistakenly did final season after they signed Baez. The Tigers have plenty of work to do in proper discipline, left discipline and middle discipline, however most likely ought to assault these areas with lesser free brokers and trades.

Red Sox questions:

1. Assuming it is not an inside choice, who would be the beginning catcher subsequent season?

2. Do Jarren Duran and/or Bobby Dalbec carry any worth on the trade market? They appear to be change of surroundings candidates.

3. Not counting Bogaerts or (Rafael) Devers, who might be (chief baseball officer Chaim) Bloom’s greatest free-agent signing? — Julian B.

1) It might be a platoon of Reese McGuire and Connor Wong. 2) I might be calling the Pirates, Marlins and Nationals to search out out. 3) Hopefully for Red Sox followers, will probably be Bogaerts or signing one of many different huge free-agent shortstops. However, I will not be stunned if Bloom as a substitute chases undervalued free brokers, going for amount over high quality.

We all assume the Yankees will re-sign Judge. But if he goes elsewhere, what’s Brian Cashman’s huge transfer? (Jacob) deGrom? (Justin) Verlander? Correa? — Bill L.

Like final offseason, the Yankees will not be planning to pursue any of the middle-infield free brokers, even when they lose out on Judge. They are dedicated to rookie Oswald Peraza and prospect Anthony Volpe as their future center infield. In phrases of massive strikes in the event that they lose out on Judge, I might see the Yankees pivoting to deGrom, Verlander or Rodón to improve the rotation and additionally focusing on a free-agent outfielder with a excessive on-base proportion, like Nimmo or Benintendi.

If deGrom finally ends up elsewhere, to whom might you see the Mets reallocating that cash? — Nick H.

Pitching, pitching and pitching. DeGrom, Verlander, Rodon, Chris Bassitt, Nathan Eovaldi. The Mets want two of them if they do not wish to be a third-place staff subsequent 12 months.

The backside a part of the Astros’ lineup is weak. Which free brokers would you advise them to focus on at DH (if Yordan Alvarez performs more left discipline), first base (Yuli Gurriel is a free agent and approaching 39 years outdated), middle discipline (except you assume Chas McCormick is the reply), and/or catcher (since Martín Maldonado hits so poorly). —Jase L.

I might goal free brokers José Abreu or Josh Bell to play first base, particularly after Rizzo agreed to return to the Yankees on a two-year cope with a membership choice. I might preserve Alvarez in left discipline, the place he’s snug. I might goal Willson Contreras to share catching duties with Maldonado and be the designated hitter half of the time. Maldonado is among the finest defensive catchers within the sport and can name a recreation and body pitches with the very best of them. However, to your level, the Astros want to enhance the underside of the order, and a mixture of Abreu or Bell and Contreras is simply what the GM ordered.


Jordan Walker (Mark J. Revilas / USA Today)

With Jordan Walker‘s debut coming quickly, even the Cardinals taking a look at transferring any of their outfielders to get a catcher or beginning pitching? — Drew C.

The Cardinals are prioritizing the catching place, and everyone knows after they do this it is solely a matter of time earlier than they land one. My finest guess can be both Sean Murphy of the A’s or Gabriel Moreno of the Blue Jays in what can be an enormous prospect trade that may most likely embrace one of many Cardinals’ outfielders. I feel Walker goes to be National League Rookie of the Year in 2023. And I feel St. Louis will look to signal a beginning pitcher in free agency, maybe bringing again southpaw José Quintana.

What might the Pirates fairly anticipate different groups to supply for Bryan Reynolds in a trade? — Matthew D. and Michael V.

I might anticipate a package deal of three prospects: a high 5, a high 15 and a high 30 from the buying group.

We all know (Mariners president) Jerry Dipoto and (GM) Justin Hollander like to swing a trade. Whom do you see because the Mariners group’s finest trade chip(s) this offseason? Additionally, who could be a shock trade candidate? — John C.

The Mariners will attempt to land a center infielder and nook outfielder in free agency. If that does not work, they’re keen to buy pitchers Marco Gonzales and Chris Flexen together with outfielder Jesse Winker and/or a few their high 10 prospects (however not Harry Ford, Emerson Hancock or Gabriel Gonzalez) to perform their targets.

Are the Padres concentrating on a primary baseman or are they planning on (Jake) Cronenworth shifting over? — Will H. and Katie S.

One of the Padres high offseason priorities is first base, as Bell, Brandon Drury and Wil Myers are all free brokers (and two have been Silver Sluggers this 12 months). I feel they will preserve Cronenworth at second, Ha-Seong Kim at brief and Manny Machado at third, however will transfer Fernando Tatis Jr. to the outfield.

Will the Guardians lastly package deal some prospects for a giant trade, like we have been ready for them to do? — Andy L.

The Guardians try to land a catcher in a trade and have had discussions with the Blue Jays and A’s about offers that would come with prospects going within the different course. They additionally wish to land a giant bat if doable and definitely have the farm system depth to make that sort of deal. So, to reply your query, my guess is sure!

Do the Orioles have a shot at Rodón, or will they swim within the Jameson Taillon/Taijuan Walker finish of the pool? — Matthew S.

The Orioles are swimming within the “deep finish” and touching base with the brokers for nearly all the free-agent pitchers. The huge query: Are they able to compete financially with the big-market groups to really land one?

Do you see the Rangers selecting up an ace? — Kevin J.

GM Chris Young and supervisor Bruce Bochy have determined that the highest of the rotation is their precedence. So no, I might not be stunned if the 2 of them, with possession’s backing, land an ace this offseason. The Rangers have already introduced again Pérez, who on Tuesday accepted the one-year, $19.65 million qualifying supply.

(Top photograph of Trea Turner: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

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