Free Agency Frenzy

Tyler Evans, Chief Sports Editor

The 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) free agency season is winding down and it has been perhaps the most exciting offseason in history. Teams have committed over 3.5 million dollars to free agents this winter, breaking the record for most money spent collectively in one offseason. With this, we saw many players jump ship and sign with new teams. However, we also saw some big-name free agents re-sign with teams solidifying their legacies with the clubs.

Maybe the biggest name in the free agent poll was the 2022 American League MVP Aaron Judge. Coming into the offseason there was lots of speculation that the superstar could chase the money and take his talents elsewhere to the likes of his hometown in San Francisco. Or that he could even sign with the powerhouse Los Angeles Dodgers. In the end, Judge chose to remain a Yankee, signing a nine-year, $360 million contract. With this, he was given the “Captain” title for the Yankees which is an honor only 15 other players in history have held.

Pitching was a matter many teams sought to improve upon this offseason and the contracts given out sure do reflect this. The Yankees were not only able to sign Judge but were also able to bolster their starting rotation by signing left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon to a multi-year contract assuring that they will be World Series contenders for many years to come. 2022 American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander left Houston to go to the Big Apple. Verlander signed a two-year contract worth $87.6 million pairing him with former Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, forming an incredible rotation. Jacob deGrom, another highly sought-after pitching free agent, left for The Lone Star State signing a five-year, $185 million contract. Lastly, rounding out the star-studded pitching free agency class was Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw was able to re-sign with his long-time club, the Dodgers, for one-year worth $20 million.

The offseason sure did not come without its fair share of controversy, mainly headlined by shortstop Carlos Correa. Heading into the offseason, Correa was at the top of many teams’ lists that were looking for infield help. With this, he garnered lots of interest from many different teams. In mid-December, Correa and the San Francisco Giants agreed to a 13-year deal worth $350 million, pending his physical with team doctors. The only problem with this was that the team doctors found something wrong with his ankle during the physical which raised concerns about his longevity. Shortly after these findings, it was reported that the agreement was voided and he was once again on the open market. About a week went by and it appeared that Correa had found a new home with the New York Mets by agreeing to a 12-year contract worth $315 million. The only problem was that once again, it was contingent on him passing his physical. The time came and once again there was a problem found with his ankle raising uncertainty if he would ever play a game in a Mets uniform. A short time later it was once again revealed that Correa’s agreement had been voided and he was a free agent again for the third time in one offseason. After this, Correa was finally able to find a long-term home and returned to the team he played for the prior season, the Minnesota Twins. The Twins were able to get a massive discount due to his injury concerns, signing him to a six-year deal worth $200 million which was $115 million cheaper that the one he signed with the Mets just a short time before.

Correa wasn’t the only shortstop signing a big contract this offseason. Both Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts were able to ink huge deals with new teams. Turner signed a 11-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies worth $300 million. Bogaerts then followed that up and signed a contract with the Padres for $280 million that will also stretch for 11 years.

This offseason has definitely been one for the record books. From all the money that has been spent and lots of star players changing teams. And even to the drama surrounding one player in particular, baseball fans should be in store for an even more exciting season as a whole if the offseason has been any indication as to what is to come.

Carlos Correa had a team-high 47 extra-base hits for the Twins in 2022. (TNS/used with permission)