Grades for the biggest free agent deals in the 2022-23 offseason

Grades for the biggest free agent deals in the 2022-23 offseason

Xander Bogaerts
Oct 5, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) waves to the crowd while leaving the game during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

With yet another week of spending frenzy, our MLB free agency grades 2022 have arrived.

All teams are throwing money left and right, but just a handful of them have managed to get significantly better. So here, we’ll detail the most important deals taken place thus far.

MLB free agency grades 2022

Those who don’t know about qualifying offers in baseball or need to have free agency explained may not agree with some of these grades.

However, it’s worth noting that MLB free agent signing grades often have to do more than fit and whether a team overpaid or not rather than the player’s quality. So, without any further notice, let’s break it down.

Xander Bogaerts – Padres, 11 Years, $280M

Xander Bogaerts finally left the Boston Red Sox after years of giving them hometown discounts. However, the fact that he joined the San Diego Padres, a team that’s already stacked at the shortstop position, is a major head-scratcher.

So, as much as we love Bogaerts’ defense and consistency, this is a questionable deal until they move some of their players.

Grade: C

Jacob deGrom – Rangers, 5 Years, $185M

The Texas Rangers are again looking to prove that they want to compete at the highest level, and just like last season, it may not be enough to turn the franchise around. However, signing the best pitcher on the planet is a no-brainer when you have the money, so props to them for landing Jacob deGrom.

Once again, the only question is whether he’ll stay healthy enough to live up to this massive deal.

Grade: A-

Justin Verlander – Mets, 2 Years, $86.6M

Justin Verlander is fresh off a Cy Young season. He turned back the clock and proved that he was still one of the best hurlers on Earth.

That being said, he’s not getting any younger, and he does have a long history of postseason shortcomings. The Mets needed to replace deGrom, and they found the second-best guy out there, so that’s good. But the price is a bit of a question mark.

Grade: A

Aaron Judge – Yankees, 9 Years, $360M

And, of course, the biggest move on our MLB free agency grades 2022 is Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees. Judge’s sweepstakes were the story of the offseason, but there was always confidence that he’ll end up in Pinstripes for the better part of his career.

The Yankees may have overpaid, and he won’t hit 60+ homers again every year, but Brian Cashman couldn’t afford to lose the team’s franchise cornerstone, no matter the price.

Grade: A-

Masataka Yoshida – Red Sox, 5 Years, $90M

The Boston Red Sox are trying to salvage a disastrous offseason with the addition of Masataka Yoshida. And this is a prime example of when MLB free agency grades 2022 don’t have anything to do with a player’s talent.

Yoshida is an elite player overseas coming off an outstanding campaign, but he’s not much of an athlete and is a sub-par defender.

Grade: C

Cody Bellinger – Cubs, 1 Year, $17.5M

MLB free agent grades are funny. Cody Bellinger‘s agent should get an A++, but we cannot say the same about the Chicago Cubs… for now.

Cody Bellinger is a former MVP, he’s still young, and it’s evident that the physical traits and upside are still there. However, he was nothing short of a disaster over the past couple of years, hitting rock bottom last season and looking nothing like an everyday player. This could wind up being the ultimate bargain if he gets back on track. If not, it’ll go down as one of the biggest heists in baseball history.

Grade: C

Willson Contreras – Cardinals, 5 Years, $87M

Willson Contreras is one of the most underrated and potentially-impactful MLB offseason acquisitions. The St. Louis Cardinals needed an elite player to replace a legend like Yadier Molina, and they pulled it off by landing the best-hitting catcher in the game, an elite defender, and a guy who knows the division quite well.

Also, they managed to keep him away from the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees.

Grade: A+

Trea Turner – Phillies, 11 Years, $300M

The Philadelphia Phillies sure got a lot better. Thus, they’re one of the biggest winners in our MLB offseason grades.

They landed one of the best leadoff hitters in the world in Trea Turner, a plus-defender at multiple positions that could finally help them turn around that chaotic defense once and for all. Also, we cannot stress enough how much of a blow this is for the Dodgers, even despite their incredible offense.

Grade: A

Mike Clevinger – White Sox, 1 Year, $8.5M

Not so long ago, Mike Clevinger was considered one of the most promising pitching prospects in the game, but injuries have derailed his progress. Now, he’ll be touted with a big responsibility as the Chicago White Sox look to bounce back from a fairly disappointing season.

Clevinger used to dominate them during his days with the Cleveland Guardians, and he has the potential to improve an already-impressive rotation featuring Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Michael Kopech.

Grade: B

Jose Quintana – Mets, 2 Years, $26M

The New York Mets often get mixed results when it comes to baseball free agency grades. But this time, we have to give credit where it’s due, as they landed one of the most underrated hurlers in the game at a reasonable price and a short-term deal.

They needed a southpaw in their rotation, and Jose Quintana was most definitely one of the few bright spots for the ever-struggling Pittsburgh Pirates last season. The Mets also have an elite pitching staff, so he might well be a legit Cy Young candidate next season.

Grade: B+

Josh Bell – Guardians, 2 Years, $33M

The Cleveland Guardians were one of the biggest surprises in baseball last season. However, they did struggle offensively, especially at the DH spot. So, signing Josh Bell will most likely solve those woes ahead of the next campaign.

Moreover, the fact that they got him on a short-term deal proves that there’s some concern about his drop-off after joining the San Diego Padres, but he has an opt-out clause at the end of this year, so he won’t hurt their payroll for long if things go south.

Grade: B+

Anthony Rizzo – Yankees, 3 Years, $51M

The Yankees’ free agency outlook didn’t look good at all, especially if they lost Aaron Judge. Fortunately, they were able to get things started on the right foot by re-signing Anthony Rizzo on a three-year deal.

He’s become an integral part and a leader of the locker room, and they didn’t have to give up that much to get him, as the third year of his deal will be a team option with a buyout clause.

Grade: A

Jameson Taillon – Cubs, 4 Years, $68M

Jameson Taillon is coming off the best season of his career, so it was obvious that he was due for a big payday. He throws hard, can handle a big workload, and is efficient enough to crack any rotation.

However, whether he can be the ace some believe he can, remains to be seen, and it seems like, once again, the Cubs jumped the gun and overpaid.

Grade: B-

Taijuan Walker – Phillies, 4 Years, $72M

Taijuan Walker will get to stay in the division while playing for a legit contender fresh off a trip to the World Series. Pitching really hurt the Phillies down the stretch, and they’ll now add a workhorse at a reasonable price.

Having him as a no. 3 or no. 4 starter is surely a luxury. This team was way better after firing Joe Girardi, and they don’t want last year’s trip to the World Series to be just a fluke.

Grade: B

Jose Abreu – Astros, 3 Years, $58.5M

With the White Sox ready to move on to Andrew Vaughn and the Astros looking for an upgrade over Yuli Gurriel, Jose Abreu arriving in Houston seemed like a match made in heaven.

He’s still a dominant slugger, but the price was driven down, given his history of injuries. The champs just got better, even if he’s only healthy enough to play as their DH.

Grade: B+

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