Where are all the trades and free agent signings this Major League Baseball offseason?
It’s been nearly a month since the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2022 World Series, yet there hasn’t been much activity in terms of actual player movement. There’s been some smoke, sure. Just no fire.
Well, we’d advise you to grab a bag of marshmallows and some roasting sticks, because the hot stove is about to ignite. Or so it seems. The MLB winter meetings begin Sunday in San Diego, and according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, executives and agents anticipate a flurry of action.
The free agent market is overflowing with top-tier talent, with Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson, Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodón among the biggest names available. And several franchises that historically haven’t been afraid to spend money — including the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox — all could factor into the frenzy.
We asked members of our NESN Digital team to each offer one prediction for the MLB winter meetings, which run through next Wednesday. It could’ve been anything, with boldness encouraged, and the responses are below.
Mike Cole: The New York Yankees will sign Dansby Swanson.
Assuming the Yankees aren’t able to retain Aaron Judge, they kind of need to do something, right? There has been chatter about them getting involved in the shortstop market — Xander Bogaerts’ name was mentioned by ESPN’s Buster Olney — but I think they end up “settling” for Swanson, the most relatively cost-effective option available.
Ricky Doyle: The Texas Rangers will sign Carlos Rodón and trade for Corbin Burnes.
You want bold? The Rangers proved last offseason — when they signed Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray — they’re serious about winning right now. But they still need an impact arm atop their rotation. Well, how about two? Texas seemingly has the financial flexibility and the prospect depth to make waves in both free agency and the trade market. Rodón is a logical target to check the former box, whereas the Milwaukee Brewers could make Burnes available to maximize their return ahead of him reaching free agency in 2024.
Scott Edwards: The Baltimore Orioles will make a splash.
After a season where they surprised everyone by finishing 83-79, the O’s are only going to get better as their young team matures. Bringing in a star and some veterans to fill out their weak spots would not only make the AL East more exciting. It also would show Baltimore knows what it has on the roster right now — and that’s talent.
Adam London: The Los Angeles Angels will trade Shohei Ohtani.
This feels like it could be a “start fresh” move for all parties involved. The two-way phenom only has one year left on his contract and the Angels could replenish their prospect pool by trading away a full season of arguably the game’s most talented player. A handful of prospects with high ceilings surely would be welcomed by an organization that might be sold in the near future. Ohtani, meanwhile, has to love the idea of competing for a World Series after being on board for five consecutive losing seasons in Los Angeles.
Jason Ounpraseuth: The Baltimore Orioles will sign Carlos Correa.
It’s an unconventional path for the shortstop to go from the Houston Astros to the Minnesota Twins and then sign with the O’s. But Baltimore surged in the second half of the 2022 season, and that might have inspired confidence it can compete in 2023. The Orioles do that by signing a top free agent, and Correa would be a good fit in Baltimore.
Keagan Stiefel: The Seattle Mariners will trade for Shane Bieber.
Let us talk trade, shall we? I think the Mariners want to make a splash, and they have the horses to do it. I feel a deal for Bieber coming. That would be fun.
Ben Watanabe: The Philadelphia Phillies will sign Dansby Swanson.
Even before Dave Dombrowski came to town, Philadelphia wasn’t afraid to be aggressive in stealing away a stud within the division. (See: J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler.) Swanson is coming off a career half-season in 2022 — whereas he was basically career-average for the other half — and the defending NL champs simply might be willing to go higher than other bidders for a historically 2.0 WAR-per-season player.
Lauren Willand: The Philadelphia Phillies will sign Trea Turner.
If Turner is the first shortstop domino to fall, then he will set the bar for how others on the market (Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson) will be paid. Dave Dombrowski always figures out a way to get the big deal done, and after the Phillies reached the World Series in 2022, he probably has even more motivation to sign a big-name shortstop.