Free agent notes: Judge, White Sox, Strahm

The Dodgers are increasingly believed to land the AL MVP winner Aaron JudgeJon Heyman reports from New York Post. Heyman notes that the Dodgers have freed up $100 million Cody Bellinger, Craig Kimbrel, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, David Price, Trea Turnerand Justin Turner is no longer on the roster and that the Dodgers need to fill a void in the outfield. Justin Terranova of the New York Post adds that the Dodgers were previously considered on the fringes of the Aaron Judge bet, with the Giants posing the biggest threat in his return to the Bronx. The Yankees have already sent a new offer to the superstar’s camp, but Terranova notes that the Giants have “indicated that they were willing to break the bank for the judge’s services.”

There has been speculation that Judge, who grew up outside of San Francisco, might be inclined to play closer to home, with NJ.com’s Randy Miller noting that the star is spending “parts of his offseasons in Linden” but lives in Tampa. For his part, Judge played coy when asked about his free agency, telling reporters after winning the AL MVP that he was “looking forward to starting the free agent process,“, but noted that “a lot of things will not start until the winter meetings in December” for Newfoundland.

Elsewhere in the league:

  • White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz indicated that his team “need[s] another starter“with Johnny Cueto according to Tim Stebbins of NBA Sports Chicago. Katz adds that Chicago has discussed bringing Cueto back, and it was previously reported that Cueto was open to returning to the team. Cueto signed a minor league contract in early April and joined Chicago in late May and had one of his strongest seasons in five years. The 36-year-old worked to a 3.35 ERA in 158 1/3 innings, albeit with a 15.7% strikeout rate and a strong 5.1% walk rate. As noted in MLBTR’s 2022-23 Free Agent Starters article, Cueto’s age, lack of missed at-bats and 91 mph fastball likely won’t fetch him much, but he’ll almost certainly earn a guaranteed rotation spot in the 2023 season.
  • After a successful season in Boston Matt Strahm according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe , he is looking for an opportunity to start on the free agent market. However, Speier notes that the seven-year veteran has only discussed bullpen opportunities so far this offseason. Strahm last started in the 2019 season before moving into a bullpen role for the Padres in July of that season. After a slow recovery from patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2020, he was placed on DFA following the 2021 season and subsequently picked up by the Red Sox on a one-year, $3 million contract. Despite being limited to just 27 1/3 innings in 2020–21, Strahm played an integral role in Boston in 2022, posting a 3.83 ERA in 44 2/3 innings and earning four saves. Importantly, after two years with a sub-20% strikeout rate, Strahm has struck out an above-average 26.9% of opponents while walking a solid 8.8%.

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