MLB Rumors: Aaron Judge to Meet Giants This Week;  Yankees check Jacob deGrom

MLB Rumors: Aaron Judge to Meet Giants This Week; Yankees check Jacob deGrom

While there may be a small flurry of movement here during Major League Baseball’s offseason, Thanksgiving is looming in a few days and that means it’s likely going to be a slow week. Still, very few free agents have signed and most of the big names who would be on the trading block have so far not been dealt with. That means we’re bound to see a slew of rumors this week.

Let’s take stock of the latest rumours.

Judge to meet giants

Outfielder Aaron Judge has arrived in San Francisco and is scheduled to meet the Giants on Tuesday, according to Judge, a native of Northern California, was ranked by CBS Sports as the best free agent available this offseason. Here’s what we wrote back then:

Here is the most menacing judge of this side of Cormac McCarthy’s work. It may not make a difference what men think of WAR, but Judge has amassed more during the pandemic era than any player except Shohei Ohtani, according to Baseball-Reference calculations. How could he not have it? It hits for average; he walks; he hits for power (obscure fact: he broke the American League single-season home run record); and he has one of the strongest outfield arms in the majors. The Yankees even used him at center for most of the season, a nod to his athleticism. The blows against Judge remain the same as in the spring, when he rejected a seven-year extension offer worth $213.5 million: 1) he’s on the wrong side of 30 (he’ll be 31 in April) and 2) he’s had his share of injuries. So the biggest number on Judge’s stat sheet might not be 62 but rather 152, or his average number of games played over the last two years.

A reunion doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but industry insiders expected the Giants to be among the top potential suitors for Judge. We’ll see if anything else favors between the sides.

Yankees check deGrom?

The Yankees have requested medical information on Jacob deGrom, according to SNY, although the report contains the caveat that this does not necessarily mean the Yankees will sue deGrom in free will. It appears to be simply a request for due diligence.

The Yankees’ top priority this offseason remains the return of Aaron Judge. Until then, they will likely continue to work as backup, contingency plans they hope will not be needed.

DeGrom, 34, has been one of baseball’s best pitchers since his debut in 2014 and has been outrageously good since the start of 2018 (2.05 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 876K, 645 1/3 IP), but arm injuries have weathered him 26 starts over the past two seasons combined.

In addition to the Mets, the Braves and Rangers have also been mentioned as suitors for deGrom. I’ll speculatively add the Dodgers too.

Bellinger wants a one-year contract

Considering he’s a former MVP and only 27 years old, it might surprise some to hear that Cody Bellinger is up for a one-year free agency deal. That’s exactly the case, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, citing Bellinger’s agent Scott Boras.

“I’ve been offered several years already,” Boras said. “Most likely, because of his age, we don’t want a multi-year.”

The rationale here is that Bellinger and Boras believe the 2020 shoulder injury persisted into 2021 and affected his performance even in 2022. They would like a one-year deal to rebuild value before hitting free agency for a large salary on a long-term contract. , then.

It was quite a race for Bellinger. He won MVP in 2019 with the Dodgers, then played through a separated shoulder for part of 2020. He underwent surgery to repair it in November of that year. He then hit .165/.240/.302 in 95 games in 2021 and .210/.265/.389 in 144 last season. The Dodgers didn’t offer him Friday, sending him to free agency.

There’s already been a ton of reported interest in Bellinger. Even if the Dodgers didn’t want to retain him — which seems like a red flag, on the face of it — he’s a more center-field defender who can also handle first base. He also runs the bases well, so even if he doesn’t hit, he could be useful to many teams. He’s also not that far off from hitting .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs and 115 RBIs in his MVP campaign.

The Blue Jays are one of the teams that have shown interest in Bellinger, reports Jon Morosi of The Cubs are another team connected to Bellinger, via The Athletic.

Three teams interested in Haniger

Free agent outfielder Mitch Haniger has spent the vast majority of his major league career with the Mariners and a return there remains a possibility. There are also other suitors. The Dodgers, Angels and Rangers are in talks with Haniger, according to Morosi.

Haniger turns 32 next season and he has shown a major attacking advantage when he has been able to stay on the pitch. He had 39 homers and 100 RBIs in 2021 and he has 126 OPS+ in 530 games for Seattle. Of course, he only played 63 games in 2019, missed 2020 and managed just 57 games last season. Interested teams will need to balance his offensive capabilities with his durability issues.

D-Backs could face strength

As noted in Rosenthal’s column on The Athletic, the Diamondbacks have four left-handed center backs in Corbin Carroll, Daulton Varsho, Alek Thomas and Jake McCarthy. As such, they are open for business to swap any of them.

First off, don’t worry, D-Backs fans: Carroll is banned. The 22-year-old former first-rounder is someone they are looking to build around.

Varsho is also unlikely to be moved on, especially since he can also play catcher.

This leaves Thomas and McCarthy as trade tokens.

Thomas, 22, hit .231/.275/.344 as a rookie last season, but there’s more upside there and he’s a great defenseman. McCarthy hit .283 / .342 / .427 (1,118 OPS+) with 23 stolen bases and 2.4 WAR in 99 games last season, finishing fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

If the D-Backs deal with Thomas and/or McCarthy, they would be looking for right-handed power and big league-ready pitching.

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