Free Agent Notes: Judge, White Sox, Strahm

There is growing belief that the Dodgers will make a run for AL MVP winner Aaron Judgereports Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Heyman notes that the Dodgers cleared $100 million with Cody Bellinger, Craig Kimbrell, Tyler Andersen, Andrew Heaney, David Price, Trea Turnerand Justin Turner no longer on the roster, and that the Dodgers need to fill a hole in the outfield. The New York Post’s Justin Terranova adds that the Dodgers have previously been seen as on the fringes of the Aaron Judge sweepstakes, with the Giants being the biggest threat in his return to the Bronx. The Yankees have already sent the superstar camp another offer, but Terranova notes that the Giants “indicated they were willing to break the bank for Judge’s services.”

It has been speculated that Judge, who grew up outside of San Francisco, might have been inclined to play closer to home, with’s Randy Miller noting that the star “parts of his offseasons in Lindenbut lives in Tampa. Judge, for his part, played coy when asked about his free agency, telling reporters after winning the AL MVP that he “looking forward to kickstarting the free-agent process,” but noting that “many things don’t begin until the winter gatherings in DecemberTerranova said.

Elsewhere in the league:

  • White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz has indicated that his team “need[s] another entree” of Johnny Cueto according to Tim Stebbins of NBA Sports Chicago. Katz adds that Chicago has talked about bringing Cueto back, and it was previously reported that Cueto is open to returning to the team. Cueto was signed to a minor league contract in early April and came to Chicago in late May and posted one of his strongest seasons in the past five years. The 36-year-old worked to a 3.35 ERA in 158 1/3 innings pitched, albeit with a career-low 15.7% batting percentage and a strong 5.1% running percentage. As noted in MLBTR’s 2022-23 Free Agent Starters article, Cueto’s age, lack of missed bats and 91 MPH fastball probably won’t get him a big deal, but he will almost certainly earn a guaranteed rotation spot going into the 2023 season.
  • After a successful season in Boston, Matt Strahm is looking for an opportunity to enter the free agent market, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. However, Speier notes that the seven-year veteran has only discussed bullpen opportunities so far this offseason. Strahm last started during the 2019 season, before transitioning to a bullpen role with the Padres in July of that season. After a slow recovery from patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2020, he was DFA following the 2021 season and then picked up by the Red Sox on a one-year, $3 million deal. Despite being limited to just 27 1/3 innings in the 2020–21 seasons, Strahm played an integral role in Boston’s pen in 2022, pitching to a 3.83 ERA in 44 2/3 innings and earning four saves. Importantly, after two years of batting percentages below 20%, Strahm struck out an above-average 26.9% of opposing batters while walking a solid 8.8%.

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