MLB Rumors: Aaron Judge To Meet Giants This Week; The Yankees control Jacob deGrom

While there may be a small flurry of moves here in Major League Baseball’s offseason, Thanksgiving looms in just a few days and that means it’s likely going to be a slow week. However, very few free agents have signed on and most of the big names rumored to be on the trading bloc have so far gone undealt. That means we’re going to see a bevy of rumors this week.

Let’s take stock of the latest rumors.

Judge to meet the giants

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

Here is the most menacing judge this side of Cormac McCarthy’s work. It may not make any difference what men think of WAR, but Judge has racked up more during the pandemic era than any player except Shohei Ohtani, according to Baseball-Reference calculations. How could he not have it? Striking 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 outside arms in the majors. The Yankees even used him in center most of the season, a nod to his athleticism. The blows against Judge remain the same as in the spring, when he turned down 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. The most important number on Judge’s stats sheet, therefore, may not be 62 but rather 152, which is his average number of games played over the past two years.

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

Yankees control deGrom?

The Yankees have requested medical information about Jacob deGrom, according to SNY, though the report comes with the caveat that this doesn’t necessarily mean the Yankees will prosecute deGrom in free agency. It appears that this is simply a due diligence request.

The Yankees’ top priority this offseason remains to bring back Aaron Judge. Until then, they’ll probably keep making backups, contingency plans that they hope aren’t needed.

DeGrom, 34, has been one of baseball’s top pitchers since making his debut in 2014 and has been outrageously good since early 2018 (2.05 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 876 K, 645 1/3 IP), but arm injuries they have held him to 26 appearances in the last two seasons combined.

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

Bellinger wants a one-year contract

Given that he’s a former MVP and only 27 years old, it might come as a surprise to some to learn that Cody Bellinger is seeking a one-year free agency deal. That’s exactly right, reports The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, quoting Bellinger’s agent Scott Boras.

“I’ve already been offered many years,” Boras said. “Most likely, due to his age, we don’t want a pluriannual”.

The rationale here is that Bellinger and Boras believe his 2020 shoulder injury lasted through 2021 and impacted his performance into 2022 as well. They would like a one-year contract to rebuild value before hitting free agency for a big payday with a long-term deal, then.

It’s been a good ride for Bellinger. He won MVP in 2019 with the Dodgers and then played with a separated shoulder for part of 2020. He had surgery to fix 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 did not bid him on Friday, sending him into free agency.

There has already been a lot of interest in Bellinger. While the Dodgers didn’t want to hold him—which seems like it should be a red flag, on the surface—he’s an extra fielder in center field who can also handle first base. He also handles the bases well, so even if he doesn’t hit, he could be useful for many teams. He’s not that far from hitting .305 / .406 / .629 with 47 homers and 115 RBI in his MVP campaign.

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

Three teams showing interest in Haniger

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

Haniger will turn 32 next season and showed great offensive edge when he was able to stay on the field. He had 39 homers and 100 RBI in 2021 and has 126 OPS+ in 530 games for Seattle. Of course, he only played 63 games in 2019, sat out 2020 and managed just 57 games last season. Interested teams will need to balance his offensive capabilities with his durability questions.

The D-Backs could face forcefully

As noted in Rosenthal’s column at 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 trade one.

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

Varsho is also unlikely to be moved, especially given that he is also capable of playing catcher.

That leaves Thomas and McCarthy as a trading chip.

Thomas, 22, hit .231/.275/.344 as a rookie last season, but there’s more edge to that and he’s a great defender. McCarthy hit .283/.342/.427 (1118 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 face Thomas and/or McCarthy, they are reportedly looking for right hand power and big league ready pitching.

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