One noticeable trend in the 2023 Major League Baseball signing season is that the majority of the big-name free agents have been leaving American League clubs for National League teams. AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander left the Houston Astros for a two-year deal with the New York Mets, shortstop Xander Bogaerts fled Boston in favor of the San Diego Padres, and shortstop Carlos Correa left Minnesota for the San Francisco Giants.
The New York Yankees are one of the few teams who have been able to keep their franchise cornerstone by signing outfielder Aaron Judge to a nine-year, $360 million deal and reverse the AL-to-NL migration by signing former San Francisco Giants starter Carlos Rodon to a six-year, $162 million deal on Thursday.
The Bronx Bombers had been in on Verlander but reportedly were more enthused about the big lefty as a top-of-the-rotation add to complement righty Gerrit Cole.
The 30-year-old pitched seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox before signing a two-year deal with the Giants last March. Rodón was 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA, in 178 innings and chose to opt-out of the second year of his deal. With the signing, the Yankees look to have the best rotation in the Junior Circuit with Cole, Luis Severino, Nester Cortes, and Frankie Montas.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman is likely not done making moves, as the club is looking to add a left fielder and shed some salary in other areas. Reports indicate that the club would like to bring back Andrew Benintendi, who New York acquired from Kansas City before last year’s trade deadline, but the former Red Sox outfielder is looking for a five-year deal.
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Trade options include Minnesota’s Max Kepler and Bryan Reynolds of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and former Met Michael Conforto is a possibility as a free agent. New York may be looking to move out outfielder Aaron Hicks and with middle infield prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza pushing for playing time, there has been chatter that Cashman is shopping second baseman Gleyber Torres.
The Yankees competitors in the AL East have had underwhelming offseasons so far. The Toronto Blue Jays lost free agent starter Ross Stripling to the Giants and replaced him with former Oakland and Mets hurler Chris Bassitt. After chatter of them being in on center fielder Brandon Nimmo, the Jays opted for light-hitting defensive specialist Kevin Kiermaier on a one-year deal.
The Red Sox to this point have been stuck in the mud, losing Bogaerts and signing Japanese import Masataka Yoshida to a five-year deal, but NY Post’s Jon Heyman reports on Thursday that Boston is considering getting into the bidding for Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.