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FOX43's 2022-23 MLB Free Agent Predictions

Here is our FOX43 Sports entry to the MLBTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agent Prediction List contest.

The hot stove is heating up as MLB's Free Agency market takes shape.

Each year, five days after the completion of the World Series, qualifying players enter MLB's free agent market and have the ability to sign with any of the clubs that offer them a deal.

The concept of free agency was meant as a means of competitive balance for the sport, but for the fans, it has become a rite of passage and something that baseball diehards look forward to each winter, when there are no games to pass the time.

Every year after free agency opens, MLBTradeRumors, a website that covers and compiles coverage of Major League Baseball's teams and their transactions, releases its annual Top 50 Free Agent Prediction List.

In recent years, with the list's growth in popularity, the baseball website turned predicting the top free agents' destinations into a contest, with winners able to take home bragging rights.

As such, here is our FOX43 Sports entry to the MLBTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agent Prediction List contest:

1. Aaron Judge Seven years, $315M - New York Yankees

The Yankees need Judge more than Judge needs the Yankees. No matter what, Judge will get paid. However, the Yankees team and lineup looks vastly different without Judge, and even plugging another top free agent bat into the lineup will still leave a Judge-sized crater in production.

Ultimately, I think the Yankees ante up and make Judge a career Yankee.

Alex's Pick: New York Yankees

2. Carlos Correa Ten years, $325M - San Francisco Giants

After Judge falls, then Correa will sign.

Ultimately, if Judge leaves the Yankees, I believe they could become a top suitor for Correa. However, assuming that Judge returns to New York, the Giants will be looking to make a splash. As the best remaining bat in the lineup, Correa could give San Francisco the centerpiece of the team's next core that they hope will contend for championships.

San Francisco will have position versatility with Correa, having the ability to play him at either second base, third base or his usual shortstop in the future.

Alex's Pick: Chicago Cubs

3. Trea Turner Seven years, $250M - Boston Red Sox

One All-Star shortstop (Xander Bogaerts) will depart, and another will enter.

Simply put, I think that Boston will value Turner higher than their own player in Bogaerts, and ante up to bring Turner to town and lock him up.

Boston would have a solid middle infield duo of Turner and second baseman Trevor Story for the next few years.

Alex's Pick: Philadelphia Phillies

4. Xander Bogaerts Seven years, $175M - Philadelphia Phillies

Bogaerts' connection to the Phillies is strong.

Philadelphia's President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, once signed Bogaerts to his last contract extension when both were members of the Boston Red Sox.

Why wouldn't Dombrowski do it again?

The Phillies are widely expected to walk away with one of the top middle infield bats, and Bogaerts would easily slide into the top of the team's lineup.

Alex's Pick: Boston Red Sox

5. Dansby Swanson Seven years, $150M - Chicago Cubs

While the career-long Atlanta Brave could surely reup with his hometown club, my gut feeling is that Swanson will get a high money offer from another squad.

Enter the Chicago Cubs, a team who looks like they may be ready to start spending money again.

A modest investment in a veteran like Swanson in the middle infield is a solid core piece for the Cubs moving forward.

Alex's Pick: San Francisco Giants

6. Carlos Rodon Six years, $160M - New York Yankees 

The Yankees are in dire need of adding to the team's rotation, which leads me to believe they will go out and overpay for Rodon.

While the lefthander has been solid throughout his career, Rodon has struggled to stay healthy, pitching over 165 innings in a season only twice.

While the lefty may provide the arm the team needs, it will be interesting to see if he is able to live up to the large contract he's likely to garner in free agency.

Alex's Pick: New York Mets

7. Jacob deGrom Three years, $135M - New York Mets

Can you really imagine deGrom pitching for another team?

Ultimately, I think the fit, money and chance to win will outweigh anything that a competitor could offer deGrom, resulting in his return to New York.

Alex's Pick: Texas Rangers

8. Justin Verlander Three years, $130M - Houston Astros

Similarly to deGrom, I think the fit, money and chance to win will outweigh anything that a competitor could offer Verlander, resulting in his return to Houston.

Alex's Pick: Houston Astros

9. Brandon Nimmo Five years, $105M - Texas Rangers

After spending big money last offseason, I expect the Rangers to continue to add, but more on the edges rather than core pieces.

The Rangers' lineup could use Nimmo's lefthanded bat at the top of the order and his defensive versatility in the outfield, making this a fit.

Alex's Pick: New York Mets

10. Willson Contreras Five years, $95M - St. Louis Cardinals

A lot of people are drawing the connection between Contreras and St. Louis after future Hall-of-Fame catcher Yadier Molina retired.

While I expect there to be a number of suitors on the market, I think a fifth year on a deal will be the clincher for the two sides.

Alex's Pick: St. Louis Cardinals

11. Kodai Senga Five years, $75M - Texas Rangers

Once upon a time, the Rangers were the first MLB home for another Japanese standout, pitcher Yu Darvish.

I think that history of success plus the obvious need for frontline pitching in Texas creates a match for player and team, and the Rangers have shown a willingness to throw the money around.

Alex's Pick: New York Yankees

12. Josh Bell Four years, $65M - Houston Astros

The trade for Trey Mancini didn't work out and Yuli Gurriel suffered a knee injury in the World Series that could hamper the 38-year-old in the future.

By adding Bell, the Astros would be gaining a competent defender and switch-hitting bat with some pop to the middle of an already potent order.

Alex's Pick: Tampa Bay Rays

13. Chris Bassitt Three years, $60M - St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals' biggest downfall the past few seasons has been the team's pitching, in both performance and unlucky health for their hurlers.

That is why I believe the team will look to invest in one of the top starters on the market, nabbing Bassitt.

Alex's Pick: Chicago Cubs

14. Jameson Taillon Four years, $50M - Toronto Blue Jays

You can never have enough pitching, and the Blue Jays have also been unlucky in the performance and health department in the past few seasons.

While Taillon hasn't been the picture of perfect health throughout his career, he is coming off just his second season where he made 32 starts and pitched over 177 innings. With enough need, I could see the Blue Jays making a jump for an arm that has already been pitching in the American League East Division.

Alex's Pick: New York Yankees

15. Andrew Benintendi Four years, $50M - New York Mets

The Mets could be staring an offseason in the face where they lose two lefthanded outfield bats in Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo.

In fact, I believe New York will see both of their homegrown players walk, and look to replace them with Benintendi, who was among the league leaders in batting average before a midseason trade from the Kansas City Royals to the New York Yankees.

Benintendi is still only 28, and is a career .279 hitter that would surely be attractive to the Mets.

Alex's Pick: Seattle Mariners

16. Taijuan Walker Two years, $25M - Minnesota Twins

Last offseason, the Twins made a few "patchwork" pitching additions by signing Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy, neither of which worked out for the American League Central basement dweller.

This year, I think the team will look to make a similar move with Walker, and hope for a different outcome.

Alex's Pick: San Diego Padres

17. Sean Manaea Four years, $50M - Chicago Cubs

Manaea is coming off arguably the worst season of his career after being traded from the Oakland Athletics to the San Diego Padres during Spring Training.

However, he has a career 4.06 ERA and made 32 starts in 2021 before shuffling roles in 2022.

I think the Indiana native will look to head close to home, and the Cubs may be looking to add a strong lefthanded arm to pair with starter Marcus Stroman, who the team signed a year ago.

Alex's Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates

18. Andrew Heaney Three years, $39M - St. Louis Cardinals

I certainly don't think it will be out of the question for the Cardinals to double down on starting pitching.

Heaney, a lefthanded arm, is coming off arguably his best season since 2018 and will be looking to secure a longer-term deal. The Cardinals certainly have a need, and despite some injury history, they could utilize Heaney out of the bullpen, as he has done at points in his career.

Alex's Pick: Toronto Blue Jays

19. Jose Abreu Two years, $36M - Chicago White Sox

The career long White Sox star certainly won't leave the South Side, right?

I could see a fit with the Miami Marlins—but when do the Marlins pay anyone? I think the White Sox and Abreu have a comfort level and will want to give it another go with new leadership at the helm.

Alex's Pick: Chicago White Sox

20. Mitch Haniger Three years, $39M - Boston Red Sox

Haniger is a righthanded power bat that has struggled with health throughout his career.

Over the past few seasons, the Red Sox have struggled to get much production from their outfield corners, and it's likely that DH J.D. Martinez departs in free agency.

Haniger fits as a replacement for some power in Boston.

Alex's Pick: San Francisco Giants

21. Noah Syndergaard Three years, $36M - Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles are ready to spend some money as the team is finally headed back towards relevancy.

Adding starting pitching is one of the toughest things to do, especially in free agency, so I think the Orioles probably have to overpay and take a gamble by adding Syndergaard.

Surely, Baltimore or any suitor will hope that a second year removed from elbow surgery will help Syndergaard return to previous form.

Alex's Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks

22. Anthony Rizzo Two years, $40M - New York Yankees

This is the first deal on the list that's already closed. I thought there was a chance that Rizzo could leave the Yankees—maybe a fit in Houston or a return to Chicago where he had played previously—but the Yankees chose to lock up their first baseman of the past few seasons.

23. Nathan Eovaldi Two years, $30M - Boston Red Sox

Eovaldi has excelled in his last three seasons in Boston, and I think this is an easy one for both team and player to come to an agreement on.

Alex's Pick: Baltimore Orioles

24. Taylor Rogers Three years, $33M - St. Louis Cardinals 

The Cardinals, again?

Yes—I think they will really go to the well to add arms at every part of their team, including the bullpen.

Rogers is a lefthanded arm with closing experience and would add to the late game options St. Louis already has—and fortify their bullpen.

Alex's Pick: Minnesota Twins

25. J.D. Martinez Two years, $35M - Minnesota Twins 

The Twins will be looking to replace some power with the likely departures of both SS Carlos Correa and DH Miguel Sano.

However, the team won't want to break the bank, so adding a veteran like Martinez—who is on the back end of his career but can still contribute—fits for a team like Minnesota.

Alex's Pick: Boston Red Sox

26. Christian Vazquez Three years, $25M - Boston Red Sox

Boston traded Vazquez to the Houston Astros at the trade deadline, and at the time, Vazquez expressed how much the Red Sox organization meant to him. 

In need of a catcher, if they can come together on a price, I could see a reunion in Boston for Vazquez.

Alex's Pick: Chicago Cubs

27. Kenley Jansen Two years, $20M - San Diego Padres 

Jansen has entered a weird spot of his career where he could become a journeyman, possibly jumping to his third team in three years.

His 3.38 ERA in 2022 was the highest of his career, and it is likely he will need to take a shorter term deal.

I think he finds a fit with an old rival in the Padres, with a deal that gives him guaranteed money, stability, and a late game role.

Alex's Pick: San Francisco Giants

28. Clayton Kershaw One year, $20M - Los Angeles Dodgers

Another deal that is already done—and no surprise here.

Can't imagine Kershaw pitching in another uniform.

Alex's Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers

29. Rafael Montero Three years, $34.5M - Houston Astros

Third done deal of this list.

After being acquired in a trade and reworking his pitch arsenal, Montero was able to parlay that into a strong season into a three-year commitment and a back-of-the-bullpen role.

30. Jose Quintana Two years, $20M - Detroit Tigers

Quintana, 33, is coming off a career renaissance type of season, posting a 2.93 ERA over 165.2 innings.

In the previous three seasons, Quintana struggled to find his footing with three different teams.

Now, I believe he parlays his performance into a higher paying but shorter term deal.

After spending money in last year's free agency and seeing their entire starting rotation go down with injury, the Tigers will surely be looking to add a veteran arm to supplement their staff.

Alex's Pick: Atlanta Braves

31. Zach Eflin Two years, $18MM - San Diego Padres

Eflin has suffered chronic knee problems throughout his career and at this point, it's not totally clear what his role on a pitching staff is anymore.

The Padres, who have had success with starters-turned-relievers, like Nick Martinez, could be a good fit for Eflin.

Alex's Pick: Philadelphia Phillies

32. Carlos Estevez Three years, $18M - Detroit Tigers 

The Tigers' bullpen was not much better than its rotation last season, and adding Estevez would give the team an experienced righthanded arm to pair with lefthander Gregory Soto for the end of games.

Alex's Pick: Colorado Rockies

33. Jurickson Profar Two years, $18M - San Diego Padres

Profar's career really took off once he got to San Diego, and I think both the team and player value the fit with each other, if they can come to an agreement on money.

Alex's Pick: Houston Astros

34. Joc Pederson One year, $19.65M - San Francisco Giants

Done deal, as Pederson accepted the qualifying offer.

He's a platoon lefthanded bat that fit what the Giants do.

35. Martin Perez One year, $19.65M - Texas Rangers

Another qualifying offer accepted.

Perez had the best season of his career in a return to the Rangers last season, and was able to parlay that into the highest salary of his career.

36. Tyler Anderson Three years, $39M - Los Angeles Angels

Third done deal in a row.

Anderson posted an under-the-radar 2.57 ERA over 178.2 innings for the injury-ravaged Dodgers last season and was able to secure a three-year deal with the other team in the greater Los Angeles area.

37. Brandon Drury Two years, $22M - Seattle Mariners

Okay, back to predictions.

The Mariners are looking to add pop to their lineup this offseason, as evidenced by a trade for OF Teoscar Hernandez.

Drury has some pop, and provides positional versatility, which the Mariners value as well.

Players like Drury will have competitive markets.

Alex's Pick: San Diego Padres

38. Ross Stripling Two years, $18M - San Francisco Giants

After predicting the Giants to spend big in other areas, the team will still need to add starting pitching to help next year's club.

Enter Stripling who has experience in the National League West, and shouldn't break the bank for San Francisco. Stripling could provide the Giants' with another swingman option as someone who could start or pitch out of the bullpen.

Alex's Pick: Los Angeles Angels

39. Andrew Chafin Two years, $22M - Boston Red Sox

It's expected the Red Sox will spend this offseason in an attempt to get back to contention.

Last year, the Red Sox bullpen struggled, and Chafin has been one of the top relievers for the last few seasons.

Chafin will be a coveted lefthanded relief option.

Alex's Pick: San Diego Padres

40. Jean Segura Two years, $18M - Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are looking for a consistent double play partner for SS Tim Anderson, and Segura is a solid all-around player.

He'd fit well in a Chicago lineup needing to cut down on strikeouts.

Alex's Pick: Baltimore Orioles

41. Michael Wacha Two years, $18M - Kansas City Royals

Wacha rebounded last season to have his best year since 2018, showing that he may have some gas left in the tank.

I believe he parlays that into a deal with the Royals, who will be looking to add a veteran starter this offseason.

Alex's Pick: Seattle Mariners

42. David Robertson Two years, $16M - Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies have previously signed Robertson in free agency, and traded for the reliever at last year's Trade Deadline. There is obviously a fit here.

Whether or not there is a fit financially remains to be seen, but Robertson likely won't be breaking the bank this offseason.

Alex's Pick: Phillies

43. Michael Brantley One year, $12M - Texas Rangers

After his second injury-riddled campaign in three years, Brantley will surely be looking to make the best of his market this offseason.

The Rangers, who spent considerably last offseason, could be attracted to the veteran bat as a good addition to their lineup and clubhouse. They may have to overpay a bit, but Brantley is well respected across the league as a professional hitter, and will likely have a market despite his injuries.

Alex's Pick: Atlanta Braves

44. Michael Conforto One year, $15M - Colorado Rockies

Conforto's 2022 season left something to be desired entering free agency, so I think he will aim to take a one-year deal to reenter the market next offseason.

One year hitting at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado wouldn't be bad for the statistics, right?

Plus, after adding OF Kris Bryant last offseason and franchise stalwart Charlie Blackmon likely entering his last season with the club, there is room for an addition in the team's outfield.

Alex's Pick: New York Mets

45. Adam Ottavino Two years, $18M - Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are not expected to enter full rebuild mode, so adding a reliever like Ottavino makes sense for a "Win Now" team.

Sporting one of the craziest breaking balls you'll ever see, Ottavino is coming off a year where he posted a 2.06 ERA in 66 games, so he will be coveted.

Alex's Pick: New York mets

46. Chris Martin Two years, $14M - Texas Rangers

Martin has turned himself into a solid reliever over the past few seasons, and has even previously pitched for the Rangers.

I have Texas spending again this offseason, and adding Martin to solidify the team's bullpen makes sense for a club attempting to turn the corner.

Alex's Pick: Atlanta Braves

47. Justin Turner One year, $12M - Los Angeles Dodgers

After a career breakout in LA, can anyone really picture Turner leaving the Dodgers?

At this point, I feel like it's a return to the Dodgers or retirement for Turner.

Alex's Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers

48. Corey Kluber One year, $10M - Cleveland Guardians

Kluber has bounced around from team-to-team the last few years, trying to rehabilitate himself from injury and catch on with winning clubs.

His results have been mixed since leaving Cleveland, so why not return to a team that made the playoffs last season and could use veteran leadership?

I'd expect Kluber to try and latch on with a contender.

Alex's Pick: San Francisco Giants

49. Mike Clevinger One year, $8M - Los Angeles Dodgers

Clevinger had a mixed season in 2022 coming off of an elbow injury, and will likely be looking to take a one year deal to reestablish his value before reentering the market next offseason.

However, he's a California guy who won't cost a ton, and the Dodgers may be looking for insurance options for a rotation that is full of guys with injury histories.

Alex's Pick: Detroit Tigers

50. Drew Rucinski Two years, $10M - New York Mets 

Not every addition is a significant needle mover, but every piece helps.

Relievers are valuable and the Mets can't always break the bank, right?

Rucinski had an OK season last year with Miami and could likely be had for a modest investment to shore up a team's middle relief corps.

Alex's Pick: Chicago Cubs

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