Headlined by Aaron Judge and Jacob deGrom, the 2022-2023 free agent class is full of top-tier talent. There is plenty of starting and relief pitching talent, which teams can never have enough of. There is also a set of highly touted middle infielders. This offseason will not include a hectic signing period leading up to a lockout as the last offseason had, but it could very well contain some record-setting deals.
Top 35 Free Agents
Age: 30; 2022 fWAR: 11.4
After evidently adjusting his approach at the plate, Judge has made 2022 into the most productive season of his career, all while breaking the AL home run record. The Yankees have failed to meet the outfielder’s number in the form of an extension, so his new contract, and whether or not he remains in the Big Apple, will be hashed out in free agency.
Update 12/7: After a bevy of speculation to the contrary, the New York Yankees have finally re-signed Judge, as first reported by Jon Morosi. The deal is worth $360 million and will span the next nine years. Judge was reportedly offered a slightly larger deal by the Padres but opted to stay in New York once he was given an offer with which he was comfortable.
Age: 34; 2022 fWAR: 2.2
Despite understandable injury concerns, Jacob deGrom will be the most highly sought-after pitcher of the 2023 free-agent class. After coming off the injured list in 2022, deGrom showed no signs of slowing down throwing his fastball at an average velocity of 98.9 MPH. Over his 64.1 innings of limited work, he had a 14.27 K/9, a 3.08 ERA, and a 0.746 WHIP.
Update 12/4: The Texas Rangers have signed deGrom to a five-year deal, worth $185 million, per Jeff Passan. The deal includes a full no-trade clause and a conditional sixth-year option. The contract’s average annual value of $37 million sits only behind Max Scherzer and Corey Seager’s contracts as the third highest ever in MLB history.
You asked, we delivered. pic.twitter.com/Q2L1yesz8B
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) December 3, 2022
Age: 39; 2022 fWAR: 6.1
Verlander blew away expectations in 2022 by carrying a 1.75 ERA through 175 innings and winning the AL Cy Young award. After this majestic performance from Verlander, there will be several teams willing to ink a multi-year deal with the ace. Verlander could understandably seek a contract similar to Max Scherzer’s record-breaking contract with the Mets.
Update 12/5: The New York Mets have signed Verlander to a two-year deal with a vesting option for a third year, Andy Martino of SNY was first to report. Per Jon Heyman, the deal guarantees Verlander $86 million, which resembles Scherzer’s average annual value of $43.3 million. The Mets evidently view having two aces in their rotation as a must, and when they lost deGrom to Texas, they made Verlander their top priority.
Age: 29; 2022 fWAR: 6.3
Since 2018, Turner has proved himself to be one of the most reliable and consistent middle infielders in the game. Furthermore, Turner has put up some of his strongest numbers over the last couple of years and is not showing any signs of regression as he approaches his 30s. In 2022, the shortstop led the National League in plate appearances while slashing .298/.343/.466. Turner also reached double digits in both home runs and stolen bases.
Update 12/6: The Philadelphia Phillies have signed Turner to an 11-year, $300 million deal, according to Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel of ESPN. Turner is the first of the big-name shortstops to be taken off the board and his contract sets the tone for the shortstop market. His hit tool will significantly improve the Phillies’ lineup, but more importantly, he will offer a steady and reliable presence at shortstop for a defense that has had its fair share of struggles.
Trea Turner took a pitch off the helmet, stayed in the game and stole second on the very next pitch pic.twitter.com/QXSJY0FL04
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 28, 2022
Age: 27; 2022 fWAR: 4.4
After reaching the first of his two opt-outs, Correa opted to test free agency once again. The shortstop started out slow in 2022 but quickly made up for that by posting one of his most productive seasons at the plate. By performing so well at the plate and on the field in 2022, Correa proved that he can still be the player he has always been even when not donning an Astros uniform.
Age: 29; 2022 fWAR: 6.2
The historically injury-prone starter did his best to quash that narrative and threw a career-high 178 innings in 2022. He did so all while holding a 2.88 ERA and a 1.028 WHIP. The southpaw adjusted his pitch arsenal a few years ago and, when healthy, has pitched at ace level ever since. There will likely still be some hesitancy surrounding Rodón, but 2022 sure helped his case.
Age: 30; 2022 fWAR: 6.1
The de-facto captain of the Boston Red Sox signed a team-friendly extension back in 2019, but after several consecutive stellar seasons, the Boras Corp. client will look for a big pay-day. Since being signed out of Aruba in his teens, Bogaerts has only known Red Sox, but if Boston does not meet his number, plenty of other teams would gladly give the shortstop what he wants.
Age: 28; 2022 fWAR: 6.4
Swanson put up one of, if not, the best season of his career in 2022, both offensively and defensively. The shortstop has slashed .277/.329/.447 with 25 home runs and an OPS+ of 115. He has also improved defensively, having nine defensive runs saved and being 20 outs above average.
Age: 28; 2022 fWAR: 3.0
Díaz made himself the best closer in baseball in 2022. Since his 57-save season in 2018 in Seattle, Diaz had slightly regressed to a more inconsistent product, but this past season saw him morph back into what was arguably an even better version of himself. The closer allowed just nine runs over 62 innings while carrying a .839 WHIP.
Update 11/07: The Mets have re-signed their all-star closer, Edwin Díaz, to a five-year deal worth $102M, as first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today. As Nightengale reported, and as expounded upon by ESPN’s Jeff Passan and the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the deal includes a $12M signing bonus, a full no-trade clause, an opt-out, and a club option for a sixth year. After failing to advance past the NL Wild Card round, it was clear the Mets would have another highly aggressive offseason. They began the spending party before Díaz could even hear any offers from other clubs.
Edwin Diaz is now the highest paid RP in baseball 💰
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 6, 2022
Age: 30; 2022 fWAR: 3.3
Contreras is the best catcher in this free-agent class. However, as pointed out by various sources around the trade deadline, Contreras’ offensive advantages come with defensive drawbacks; many teams worry about how well Contreras will work with their pitching staff. Teams may look to sign the three-time all-star with the intention of having him split time between catching and being the designated hitter.
Update 12/7: The St. Louis Cardinals have signed Contreras to a five-year contract, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi. Jeff Passan reported that the deal is worth $87.5 million. While no one will ever be able to fill the vacancy that Yadier Molina has left, Contreras was the best choice to bring in a multi-faceted veteran catcher
Age: 34; 2022 fWAR 3.8
When healthy, Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in baseball. However, the southpaw once again found himself on the IL for various stretches in 2022. This offseason may play out for Kershaw in a very similar manner to this past offseason. Kershaw may be handed an additional 1-year deal by the Dodgers worth around $16 million.
Update 11/13: As expected, Kershaw has signed a 1-year deal to return to the Dodgers for the 2023 season. Ken Rosenthal was the first to break the news, and Jon Heyman reported that the deal is worth around $20 million. The lefty completed the 2022 season after compiling 126.1 innings of work while holding a 2.28 ERA.
Staying in LA!
— MLB (@MLB) November 11, 2022
12. José Abreu (1B)
Age: 35: 2022 fWAR: 3.9
During his near-decade of big league service, Abreu has proven to be one of the most stable presences at first base. He plays almost every day and has been an above-average hitter throughout his career. His 2022 performance saw a regression in power with solid numbers elsewhere. The first baseman’s isolated power before 2022 averaged .225, but he posted .141 in that category in 2022. He finished the year with a slash line of .304/.378/.446.
Update 11/29: The Houston Astors have signed Abreu to a three-year deal worth $60 million, Bob Nightengale reports. This move signals a pivot away from Yuli Gurriel, who is now a free agent, as the team’s starting first baseman. Abreu who, like Yordan Alvarez, is from Cuba, should be key in mentoring the team’s younger players.
Age: 33; 2022 fWAR: 2.7
Bassitt established himself as a reliable mid-rotation arm for the Mets after being sent to New York last offseason. The former 16th-rounder racked up 167 strikeouts through over 180 innings while holding a formidable 3.42 ERA. Finally hitting free agency prior to his age-34 season, the righty should draw significant interest across the market.
Age: 29; 2022 fWAR: 5.4
Throughout his time with the Mets, the outfielder was productive when he could stay on the field, but he has spent significant time on the injured list since 2019. In 2022 he played a career-high 151 games while slashing .274/.367/.433 with 16 home runs.
Age: 33; 2022 fWAR: 2.4
Rizzo hit around 30% better than the average MLB hitter in 2022 while compiling 32 home runs. He also remained a steady force on the defensive end of first base. The lefty seems to have revived his power that had faded over recent years while surely benefiting from Yankee Stadium’s short right field.
Update 11/15: Rizzo has signed a multi-year deal to return to the Yankees, according to Ken Rosenthal. The first baseman is guaranteed at least $40 million over the next three years. The contract is a two-year deal with an option for the third year. He will make $17 million each of the next two years, and if the Yankees decline his option, they will trigger a $6 million buyout.
SPOKEN RIZZ 🤧
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) August 30, 2022
Age: 28; 2022 fWAR: 1.4
Before heading to the 60-day IL for much of the second half of 2022, Severino was having a solid bounce-back after undergoing Tommy John surgery in February 2020. In his limited time after returning from that injury, the righty showed little regression. He ended up tossing a total of 102 innings while carrying a 3.18 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP.
Update 11/07: With Severino’s prolonged stint on the IL in the late months of the 2022 season, it was somewhat unclear if the Yankees would pick up his club option for 2023. The team announced on Monday morning that they were indeed exercising that option. This comes after Severino had an impressive bounce-back campaign leading up to the injury and appeared to be healthy in his short stint after returning from the IL. The option is for just one season and is worth $15M.
Age: 28; 2022 fWAR: 2.8
Since being shipped off to Kansas City prior to 2021, Benintendi morphed himself into a contact hitter. This adjustment has paid off by earning the outfielder a batting average around the .300 mark. Aside from his on-base abilities, Benintendi also offers an average glove in a corner outfield. After being traded to the Yankees, the lefty struggled at the plate before heading to the IL for the remainder of the season. Despite those struggles, Benintendi still completed 2022 with an OBP of .373 and an OPS+ of 120.
Age 29; 2022 fWAR: 2.2
Unlike Severino, Syndergaard’s fastball has not recovered to its pre-Tommy John velocity. Nevertheless, the righty still managed to produce satisfactory numbers over the course of the regular season and was effective during limited action in the NLDS and NLCS. Over 134.2 innings, he carried a 3.94 ERA and 1.255 WHIP while striking out batters at a career-low rate of 6.3 per nine innings.
Age: 40; 2022 fWAR: 2.8
Even entering his forties, Waino can still be relied upon to throw close to 200 innings, if he avoids the injured list. He should return as a Cardinal in 2022, but free agency can sometimes bring surprises.
Update 10/27: The Cardinals announced on October 26 that they were in agreement with Wainwright on a one-year deal. The righty, who struggled down the stretch and finished the season with a 3.71 ERA, confirmed in a press conference that the upcoming season would be his last. The value of the contract is not completely clear, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported it “will be around the $17.5 million [Wainwright] made in 2022.”
Age: 30; 2022 fWAR: 0.9
All was well for Mancini in 2022 before being traded to the Houston Astros for whom he was a below-average hitter. Due to the regression, teams will be cautious when considering the first baseman and outfielder. Nevertheless, Mancini has consistently been an above-average hitter for most of his career and had slashed .271/.333/.472 until 2022. Baltimore may ultimately be the best fit for the righty, and a slow market for him may end up making that a reality.
Age: 31; 2022 fWAR: 0.8
Haniger went off in 2021 to nearly slug 40 home runs. Due to injury, the outfielder did not have the opportunity to replicate such numbers. In his limited 57 games in 2022, Haniger still hit 11 home runs, knocking in 34 runs.
Update 12/7: The San Francisco Giants have signed Haniger to a three-year, $43.5 million deal, according to Jeff Passan. The deal also includes an opt-out after 2024. If the former Mariner can stay healthy, he will be huge in helping the Giants emerge from the shadow that the Dodgers have cast over the NL West.
— MLB (@MLB) August 27, 2022
Age: 35; 2022 fWAR: 1.0
Martinez began the season looking like himself, but as summer hit, his season took a hit. He completed the season with 16 home runs, his fewest in a full season since 2013, and slashed .274/.341/.448. The designated hitter did, however, hit a career-high 43 doubles.
Age: 34; 2022 fWAR: 0.9
Kimbrel has had his fair share of trouble on the mound since being traded to the White Sox at last year’s trade deadline. As a Dodger in 2022, he allowed 25 earned runs over 60 innings with a 1.317 WHIP and was eventually booted from the closer role.
Age: 34; 2022 fWAR: -0.2
Since the new foreign substance rules came into effect last season, Chapman has not looked like himself. His velocity has not taken much of a hit, but his control has been a major issue. Teams will hesitate to offer Chapman any large commitments, especially after he skipped a team workout and was left off New York’s postseason roster.
Age: 32; 2022 fWAR: 1.0
Eovaldi burst onto the scene in the 2018 postseason earning himself a four-year deal from the Red Sox. Over those years, the starter has been somewhat inconsistent amidst his struggles to remain healthy. Teams will strongly consider Eovaldi’s struggles with health, but they still know how impactful he can be when fully healthy and in the postseason.
Nathan Eovaldi's 100 MPH strike is the fastest strikeout thrown by a @RedSox pitcher in the #postseason since Eovaldi threw 101.1 MPH in the 12th inning of the 2018 World Series (Game 3). pic.twitter.com/IcfZ1j2XHT
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 16, 2021
Age: 34; 2022 fWAR: 1.1
After completing his 12th season in a Dodger uniform, Los Angeles decided against re-signing the veteran closer. Atlanta instead decided to bring him in on a one-year deal. Although Jansen’s 2022 ERA was the second-highest of his career, he still led the National League in saves. There is no doubt that Jansen is aging, but he still has plenty of gas left in his tank and will be highly sought after by teams seeking a closer.
Update 12/7: The Boston Red Sox have signed Jansen to a two-year, $32 million deal, as reported by Jeff Passan. After it was one of the worst in 2022, Boston’s bullpen is looking like it could potentially be one of the best in 2023. Jansen is the first closer with a long track record of closing to join the Red Sox since Kimbrel.
Age: 30; 2022 fWAR: 2.1
Aside from his ice-cold July, Pederson appears to have found his stroke again. The outfielder had been on an extended skid since the 2020 season but proved himself on his $6 million deal with San Francisco. He slashed .274/.353/.521 in 2022 with 23 home runs over 134 games throughout 2022.
Update 11/15: Prior to Tuesday’s deadline, Pederson opted to accept the qualifying offer, per Jon Heyman. The outfielder is one of the two players who opted to accept the one-year, $19.65 million deal.
28. Sean Manaea (SP)
Age: 30; 2022 fWAR: 1.1
Manaea began the 2022 season as his usual self; he did not put up ace-like numbers, but he could be relied on to offer up a quality start every fifth day. Around the all-star break, however, his season took a turn for the worse. The southpaw held a 6.44 ERA in the second half and allowed opposing batters to get on base at a .294 rate. Manaea will still attract much attention from teams looking to boost their rotations, but that interest will be balanced out with concerns about Manaea’s arm down the stretch of a 162-game season.
29. Joey Gallo (OF)
Age: 28; 2022 fWAR: 0.6
Gallo experienced serious troubles at the plate since being traded to the Yankees in 2022 and did not show significant signs of improvement after being sent to the Dodgers. It was not that long ago when Gallo posed a perennial threat to hit 40 home runs, but his recent production, or lack thereof, will heavily weigh upon his value in free agency.
30. Josh Bell (1B)
Age: 30; 2022 fWAR: 2.0
Looked at as one of the best first basemen on the trading block this past deadline, Bell did not meet those expectations after being sent to San Diego. Nevertheless, the former second-rounder has been consistently an above-average bat throughout his career and was slashing .301/.384/.493 before being moved to San Diego.
Update 12/7: After missing on Abreu, the Guardians pivoted to Bell and got it done. Bell is guaranteed $33 million over the next two years, after which he can opt out of the deal. Once added, the 30-year-old will be the oldest member of Cleveland’s 40-man roster. While splitting time between first base and designated hitter, the hope is that Bell will be a valuable veteran presence in the ultra-young Guardians clubhouse.
Josh Bell takes advantage of the Giants throwing error that put Manny on 2nd base by driving him in with an RBI single! pic.twitter.com/wL22PAJVmi
— Talking Friars (@TalkingFriars) August 31, 2022
Age: 29; 2021 fWAR: 1.3
Conforto underwent shoulder surgery in April and has remained a free agent through the 2022 season. Presumably fully healthy, Conforto will once again be part of this offseason’s free-agent market.
Age: 30; 2022 fWAR: 2.3
Taillon has run into some issues in the second half but still held a 3.91 ERA through 177.1 innings in 2022. When healthy, the former second-overall pick has been a reliable mid-rotation arm.
Update 12/7: In their first of likely many big free-agent moves this offseason, the Chicago Cubs have signed Taillon to a four-year, $68 million deal. He joins Marcus Stroman in the upper-middle part of the Cubs’ rotation and will be an integral part of the team’s future success.
Age: 31; 2022 fWAR: 1.5
Over 2022 and the end of 2021, Wacha has been reinvented into being one of the most effective pitchers in baseball. His changeup is one of the best in the game when paired with his fastball. Despite still struggling with injuries, Wacha maintained a 3.32 ERA and a 1.115 WHIP through 127.1 innings in 2022.
Age: 37; 2022 fWAR: 0.7
For the first time since the mid-2010s, Robertson is a reliable closer. Signed by the Cubs to a one-year, $3.5 million deal and then traded to the Phillies, the righty grossly outperformed expectations; enough to potentially earn a two-to-three-year contract with a modest average annual value. The righty struck out 81 batters over 63.2 innings.
Age: 32; 2022 fWAR: 4.0
Anderson suddenly became an integral part of the Dodgers’ stellar starting rotation in 2022. The southpaw carried a 2.57 ERA and 1.00 WHIP through nearly 180 innings. Being that Anderson’s stellar 2022 campaign is the exception to the rest of his career, for which he holds a 4.16 ERA, there may be some hesitancy in signing him.
Update 11/15: Prior to the qualifying offer decision deadline, Jeff Passan broke the news that Anderson was in agreement with the Angels on a three-year deal worth around $39M. By accepting this offer, the lefty is guaranteed around double what he would have been guaranteed by accepting the Dodgers’ qualifying offer.
Tyler Anderson, 90mph Fastball and 79mph Changeup, Overlay pic.twitter.com/kfmURgFtNg
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 26, 2022
Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by Mark LoMoglio, Quinn Harris & Dustin Bradford / Icon Sportswire